Nightmare: More than 18 million Britons and 60 million Americans suffer the debilitating skin condition at some stage in their lives. Dr Daniel Glass explains how to fight the common causes
1. IT’S IN THE GENES
Studies show a strong link between genetics and acne, with 4-5 times greater likelihood of developing acne as a teen or adult if a first degree relative suffers from the condition.
However, just genes alone does not guarantee onset acne and whilst you may be more likely to suffer from the condition, certain lifestyle choices may help you avoid acne or improve your skin.
Recently there has been new data regarding the cause of skin diseases as we slowly start to appreciate the complex relationship between, the skin, the immune system, and the environment.
2. LIFESTYLE & ENVIRONMENT
Over the past two hundred years, our lifestyles have changed drastically, adapting to new surroundings, changing diets and evolving environments.
With pollution, harmful chemicals in cleaning products, fragrances and foods, being aware of your surroundings and the chemicals you are subjected to can have a substantial impact in managing skin conditions.
When it comes to diet for instance, there is growing evidence supporting the link between dairy products and acne, your cafe latte or night-time ice cream treat may be increasing your chances of developing spots, so try to cut back on dairy products to see if your skin condition improves.
3. WATCH YOUR WEIGHT
Watching your weight isn’t just important for your inner health, but also your outer health.
Research shows that the risk of developing acne increases in particular in those adolescents with a higher BMI.
Linked closely to high fat and sugary foods, the stereotypical teenage diet of sugary drinks and junk food can create a surge in cell signalling, which stimulates grease production in the skin as well as inflammation ultimately leading to acne3
Ensuring you consume a healthy, balanced diet is essential in keeping your body in top shape from the inside out.
4. STOP SMOKING
It is widely known that smoking is linked to the development of many life threatening diseases.
In adult women especially, smoking can predispose you to developing blackheads and grey, dry and ageing skin.
It is interesting that being made aware of the implications that smoking has on your skin, is often more motivating than all the other consequences of cigarettes to quit smoking!
Different types of acne: Non-inflammatory acne consists of whiteheads and blackheads that often aren’t too painful, caused by dead skin cells or trapped sebum (oil). Inflammatory acne can also be caused by trapped sebum or bacterial overgrowth, causing painful postules
5. IT’S TO DO WITH YOUR HORMONES
Menstrual cycles can wreak havoc on your skin due to hormonal changes throughout the month, with many women reporting a flare up in their acne prior to and during their menstrual period.
We can use this knowledge in our treatment of acne.
Free circulating testosterone increases the sebum or grease levels in the skin which in turn causes acne.
Estrogens found in the contraceptive pill reduce circulating levels of testosterone and can help control acne.
Certain oral contraceptives are particularly effective in acne management, for further information discuss options with your dermatologist.
6. TIME TO DE-STRESS
Stress can cause various health issues, and is well recognized to exacerbate a number of skin conditions.
When modern day life can get on top of you, your body secretes stress hormones that travel through your blood stream, causing your blood pressure and blood vessels to rise, otherwise known as the ‘flight or fight’ response.
This ultimately affects your immune system and causes inflammation of the skin, resulting in stress acne and other stress-induced skin conditions such as hives and psoriasis.
To treat stress-related acne, ensure regular daily exercise, a healthy diet and some ‘down time’.
If the condition persists, visit a specialist dermatologist to prescribe a bespoke treatment plan.
7. BE CAREFUL WITH COSMETICS
Certain chemicals which are found in cosmetics such as lanolin and petrolatum, can cause acne.
So if you suffer from an irritating dermatologic condition and are not too sure how or why, try taking a look at your makeup bag, or daily cleansing routine.
Start looking for products labelled ‘non-comedogenic’ or ‘non-acnegenic’. If you’re not sure whether the products you are using are ‘acne friendly’, seek advice from your dermatologist on what to use or avoid.
WHEN TO SEE A SPECIALIST
If you have made changes to your diet and lifestyle and tried over the counter remedies and your acne still persists, visiting a qualified dermatologist should be your next port of call.
The Dermatology Clinic, in London’s Harley Street, boasts a team of consultant dermatologists who are accredited by the General Medical Council as specialists in skin disease.
These skin specialists can help to diagnose and treat your acne with a bespoke treatment plan which is tailored to your needs.
Don’t let acne bring you down. It’s time to take control of your skin condition so that it doesn’t control your life.
- For more information visit www.thedermatologyclinic.london
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4173520/What-s-causing-bad-skin.html#ixzz4XjkQWNH3
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