By some estimates, somewhere around 60 million people suffer from active acne. Most of those are young adults and about 25% of those people will actually have long-term scars as a result of severe acne that goes untreated.
Needless to say, acne can be a real problem for some people and a constant source of anxiety for many others. Many people are not aware that the everyday habits they engage in can be causing or exacerbating their acne.
Your skin is the most important (and one of the most sensitive) organs in your body. Here are some little-known acne-fighting tips to keep your skin clear, beautiful, and healthy.
Clean Your Face Regularly
The most important thing you can do to prevent acne from taking hold on your skin is to wash your face. Every time you go out into the world, exercise, sweat in any way, swim in a pool or lake, or expose your skin at all to the elements; dirt and oil can become trapped in your pores.
Other than genetic factors, these are the primary vehicles for acne to form. Even sleeping on dirty sheets or other surfaces can make your facial skin dirty. It may not look dirty but trust us, it’s there.
Each morning when you wake up, wash your face with a gentle exfoliator. Then do the same each night when you go to bed. Develop a routine habit of this and you should start to see improvement of existing mild acne and prevent new acne from forming.
Clean Your Phone
This sounds silly but our phones are some of the dirtiest objects we use each day. Some people say they are even dirtier than our money because we use our phones in all situations. We use them when we are eating, when we are in the bathroom, after we’ve handled other dirty objects, etc.
With that said, no consider the fact that you put your phone to your face at least a couple times each day. If you have never cleaned your phone, all of the things you touched in the time before you put it to your face are on there.
A good tip is to keep some wipes that are labeled as antibiotics. Choose something that kills germs and keep it in your car, at home, and at your place of work. Make a habit of wiping your phone screen down at least once a day.
If cleaning your phone is not practical, try using devices that allow you to use a phone function without touching your face. For example speakerphone, Bluetooth headsets, or the headphones that came with your phone are all good options.
Washing your skin is great but keeping it moisturized is even better. Moisturizers keep pores in your skin open and make it less likely that dirt and oil will become trapped in your skin. Moisturizing after you’ve washed your face in the morning and at night is a good routine to follow.
It is a common myth that hot water or steam opens the pores in your skin and cold water makes them close. In reality, your pores are not activated by temperature. Hot water has a tendency of making the outer layers of your skin swell which can make them look open but that is not why they are opening.
Heat causes enlargement of the capillaries near the surface of your skin and makes the area swell. In other words, hot water does nothing for you and cooler water is easier on the skin.
Plan a Healthier Diet
What you eat has a lot to do with what your skin looks like. You can help prevent acne by simply avoiding certain foods. While every person’s body and metabolism are different, here are some basic things you should avoid eating too much of:
Sugar: This is probably the worst for your skin. Some studies have shown that sugar has some sort of link to breakouts and consuming a lot of it can throw your body off balance. Keep track of your sugar intake. If you notice a breakout hours or days after consuming a lot of sugar, it’s best to steer clear.
Fast food: This is probably not good for anyone anyway but for acne sufferers, fast food can be a big no-no. Much of this kind of food is high in fatty acids and oils which make their way through your body and into your skin.
Wash Your Pillowcase
You would be surprised at how much a person can sweat in their sleep and we all do it. Even if you wash your face, shower, and moisturize before bedtime, your pillowcase and sheets accumulate dirt and oil overnight. Sweat builds upon our bodies and then it has no other place to go than into our bed linens.
Make a point to wash your pillowcases as often as you wash your other clothes. Change your pillowcase at least every couple of days to a clean one. This is one of those strategies where if you’ve tried a lot of other things to prevent acne, this may be yet another opportunity to avoid getting your skin dirty.
If you’ve tried many of these and failed, do not beat yourself up. Sometimes acne requires professional care and there is no way around it. Some people are predisposed to developing severe acne and require medical intervention. If you have chronic mild or severe acne and you haven’t done anything about it yet, these tactics are great places to start.
We are all products of our environment and the same principle can be applied to our skin. Make changes in your daily habits as a first step in combating your acne before contacting a professional or using more aggressive treatments. You may be able to save yourself a lot of frustration and money by simply doing things a little different in your everyday life instead of adding treatments that may not be necessary.
*Photo courtesy of Karolina Misev with www.cushyspa.comLear More
There are many skin conditions that cause red spots on the skin. It can be easy to confuse conditions at first glance, so we would like to take a closer look. Here are 21 conditions that cause common red spots on the skin and how to treat them.
1. Acne Bumps
Causes: Characterized by pimples, oily skin, scarring and hyperpigmentation, whiteheads and blackheads. Acne (also known as acne vulgaris) occurs when oil, dead skin cells, and hair follicles are clogged within the skin.
Treatments: Acne treatments can vary from one person to the next depending on the severity of the condition. However, treatments are usually a combination of OTC and prescribed topical medication and possible dietary changes (such as avoiding sugary and oily foods and consuming more water, fruits, and vegetables).
Causes: Rosacea is a common condition that causes redness of the skin. It is similar in symptoms and signs to other conditions like acne and eczema. Doctors will perform tests to rule out those other conditions, and pay special attention to the patient’s historical skin patterns.
Treatments: The patient will need to use a combination of skincare and prescription medication to treat rosacea. One of our certified dermatologists will have to diagnose the condition and prescribe treatment.
3. Pityriasis Rosea
Causes: Pityriasis Rosea usually occurs in people between 10 and 35. Researchers suspect that is stems from a virus, and not by a bacteria, fungus, or allergic reaction.
Treatments: Treatments include using skin lotions and lubricants to soothe the itch. In severe cases, a dermatologist may prescribe corticosteroids.
4. Tinea Versicolor
Causes: Tinea Versicolor is a fungal infection caused by a type of yeast that lives in the skin. Oily skin, excessive sweating, having a weak immune system and living in hot climates can all result in this condition.
Treatments: Simply observing the rash or using an ultraviolet light test can diagnose the condition. A combination of topical lotions, creams, shampoos, as well as pilled-medication, can be used to treat this condition.
5. Hair follicle infections (Folliculitis)
Causes: Folliculitis can appear on any part of the skin having hair and occurs whenever hair follicles are inflamed because of yeast, other fungi or bacteria. Shaving, wearing clothing that irritates the skin, sweating, oils, and makeup can all result in these small red spots on the body. Commonly affected areas include legs, arms, buttocks, back and the beard area of the face.
Treatments: Mild forms of the condition can heal on its’ own over a two-week period during which it can be soothed with a warm compress. However, more severe forms of Folliculitis can be treated with medicated shampoos and/or prescribed antibiotics.
Causes: Petechiae can appear on account of brown, purple or red spots on the legs, arms, stomach, buttocks or on the inside of eyelids and the mouth. This happens when capillaries (tiny blood vessels) break and the blood leaks into the skin. Infections of various kinds and reactions to medication are two common causes of red Petechiae blood spots on the skin.
Treatments: Depending on the nature of the condition, antibiotics, corticosteroids, immune suppressants and even chemotherapy in the instance where cancers like Lymphoma are among the causes.
Causes: Immune system over-activity causes Psoriasis. This condition includes inflammation, flaking, and thick silvery/white or red patches of the skin.
Treatments: Treatment options include a combination of topical steroids (creams), light therapy, oral medication, occlusion, and biologics.
Causes: Arguably one of the most common group of skin conditions, the most common form of eczema is atopic eczema and atopic dermatitis. Eczema seems to be hereditary and linked to developing various allergies, although one cause has not been pinpointed for the condition.
Treatments: Treatment options include a combination of topical treatments (like creams and gels) and dietary or other lifestyle changes.
Causes: Also known as Urticaria, Hives appear as pale red bumps or plaques that are swollen and often appear suddenly as an allergic reaction to an irritant. Chronic cases can result from conditions like cancer or hepatitis infection, as well as from the use of certain medications.
Treatments: Hives will be diagnosed with an allergy test, and a doctor will usually prescribe Antihistamines to help treat the symptoms. Wearing loose-fitting clothing and applying cool compress can all help.
Causes: Skin rashes are one of the many symptoms of Lupus. Lupus itself is not a direct skin disorder but an auto-immune condition that can damage vital organs in severe cases.
Treatments: Due to the many symptoms of Lupus, doctors need to use a combination of treatments. As far as the skin rash goes, however, the patient can use anti-inflammatory medications and topical creams to treat it.
11. Poison Ivy
Causes: An allergic reaction to direct contact with the Poison Ivy plant causes a poison ivy rash.
Treatments: Most cases of Poison Ivy can be treated at home using an over-the-counter antihistamine, hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, a cool wet compress pack, or frequent warm oatmeal baths. If you have symptoms like shortness of breath – or the rash stays beyond a few days – we advise that you visit an emergency room.
Causes: Shingles is a viral infection that occurs when the chickenpox virus appears for the second time in the body. It can appear on any part of the body as a painful rash that oozes and eventually crusts.
Treatments: Treatments for shingles include topical creams that relieve inflammation, as well as using baking soda and cornstarch to dry the sores. Burow’s solution and tap water are great options for cleaning crusted sore and reducing oozing and inflammation.
Causes: Lymphoma is a lymphatic system cancer where white blood cells, known as lymphocytes, fight the disease in the body. Lymphoma can appear in different areas of the body, including the skin. In Lymphomas of the skin, a common symptom is a rash on the skin.
Treatments: Like most cancers, doctors can use chemotherapy and various oral medications to treat Lymphoma.
14. Cherry Angiomas
Causes: Cherry Angiomas are a skin growth resulting from red moles or spots that can appear in most areas of your body, usually in people aged 30 years and older. Small blood vessels contribute to the red coloration, but doctors do not know the exact cause. Doctors link this condition to chemical exposure, climate, certain kinds of medical conditions, and even pregnancy.
Treatments: Most cases of Cherry Angioma do not need to be treated (unless it is an indication of something more serious like cancer). However, it can be removed for cosmetic reasons through laser surgery, electrocauterization, and cryosurgery.
15. Basal-Cell Carcinoma
Causes: Basal-cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Causes include exposure to ultraviolet light, radiation therapy, long-term exposure to arsenic, and a weak immune system.
Treatments: If the cancer is small and localized, a doctor is able to remove it surgically with a simple excision or Mohs Surgery (a specialized microscopy procedure developed for skin cancer). In rarer cases, treatments may be cryotherapy (cold application), topical chemotherapy, laser surgery, or the prescription medication, Imiquimod.
16. Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Causes: Squamous cell carcinoma is the second-most common type of skin cancer. The cause is usually too much sun exposure. is usually the cause.
Treatments: Squamous cell carcinoma is also commonly removed with excision or Mohs surgery. Other treatments include topical medications and various radiotherapies.
Causes: Genetics and DNA damage from too much exposure to the sun often causes Melanoma.
Treatments: Your doctor will use a biopsy to properly diagnose melanoma. A doctor will usually use surgical removal for this type of skin cancer as well. However, treatment may be more extensive depending on the number of cancerous moles present. Other treatments may include chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation therapy.
18. Mosquito and Insect Bites
Causes: Some rashes result from insect bites including those from mosquitoes, spiders, ants, fleas, flies, and wasps. Following the insect bite is an allergic reaction in the form of a swollen, itchy bump.
Treatments: In most cases, rashes resulting from a mild allergic reaction to insect bites can go away on its’ own. However, you may need to take a trip to the emergency room or your general practitioner in the case of a more severe reaction. A doctor will prescribe a topical cream in these cases.
Causes: Cysts can occur in several parts of the body. Skin cysts (also known as sebaceous (epidermal) cysts) are sacs (bump or lump) under the skin which are full of sebum (a fluid that is a greasy and cheese-like material). One cause of cysts is a plugged hair follicle duct. These cysts can also result from an infected injury or hormone stimulation.
Treatments: Treatments for cysts include cleaning the affected area with antibacterial soap, applying a warm washcloth for 20 to 30 minutes several times a day (up to four) to increase blood circulation and speed healing. Be sure to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist if there is no change within a week, or if the cysts begin to pus.
20. Port Wine Stains/Birthmarks
Causes: Port Wine Stains or birthmarks are present at birth and are usually red or brown in their appearance.
Treatments: A specialist may use a variety of laser treatments to remove Port Wine Stains. The type of laser treatment used is dependent on the type of Port Wine Stain and the anatomical location. A doctor may suggest a series of treatments in order to obtain the best results. It is best to treat Port Wine Stains early in life. This is because they get thicker and darker over time and can lead to bleeding as a person ages.
Causes: Warts, wherever they appear, are an infection resulting from the Human Papillomavirus family.
Treatments: Removing warts is not always necessary. In the case of treating warts, chemical peels, some laser therapies, freezing or topical creams are great. Your doctor will discuss treatment options that will help remove warts without creating scar tissue. Salicylic acid can help with home treatments.
If you are experiencing any of these red spots on your skin or have other skin concerns, contact us to schedule an appointment.Lear More