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The 4 primary skin concerns


Acne

Acne is a common skin condition causing pimples on the face, forehead, upper back, chest and shoulders.

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Acne affects 70% of adolescents and up to 80% of individuals at some point in their life, so if it is affecting you don’t worry it’s common! The condition typically comprises of a combination of blackheads and whiteheads, pustules, papules, nodules and scarring.


Main causes of acne

Acne is generally caused by a rise in androgen hormones (contribute to growth and reproduction in both men and woman), which are often overactive during teenage and young adult years. The combination of sensitivity to these hormones and surface bacteria accumulating on the skin as well as the presence of fatty acids within oil glands, can all lead to acne. However, certain external factors can often cause acne and/or make it worse, such as:

  • Fluctuating hormones during menstrual cycle and puberty
  • Inconsistent or an inefficient skin care routine
  • Picking or scratching acne sores
  • Increased cortisol levels due to stress
  • Genetics

The signs and symptoms of acne

Even though acne usually occurs on the face, neck and shoulders, it can also occur on the arms, legs, trunk and buttocks. The signs and symptoms to look out for include:

  • Pustules – small red bumps containing pus
  • Papules – small red bumps with no pus
  • Cysts
  • Crusting of skin bumps
  • Scarring of the skin
  • Redness around skin eruptions
  • Blackheads and Whiteheads

For more in depth information visit NHS: nhs.uk/conditions/acne/


How to deal with acne and/or spots

Here are a few tips to help you deal with acne and prevent future breakouts:

  • Wash your face twice a day using warm water and a mild soap formulated for acne.
  • Never pop pimples even though it can be tempting.
  • Try not to touch your face with your bare fingers or resting your face against objects like phones.
  • If you have acne anywhere on the body, avoid wearing tight and roughly textured clothes.

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin is a common issue in today’s teens and adults, although it’s not technically a medical diagnosis.

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While sensitive skin can appear on any part of the body, it typically occurs on the face. The term refers to skin which is more likely to be affected by inflammation and/or adverse reactions. It can also typically be a symptom of an underlying health condition. These health conditions are usually nothing serious and generally not a cause for concern.


Common causes of sensitive skin

There are quite a few causes of sensitive skin, with the most common ones being:

  • A skin disorder or allergic reaction like rosacea, eczema or allergic contact dermatitis.
  • Excessive exposure to certain environmental factors such as sunrays, wind, or excessively hot/cold weather.
  • Hormonal changes due to menstrual cycle, puberty, pregnancy, etc. can affect the skin’s ability to resist irritants in the environment or the products you use, making it sensitive.
  • Type 1 hypersensitivity allergies can lead to skin sensitivity, as allergens like pollen can easily penetrate the skin. Find out more at British Society for Immunology.
  • Existing facial conditions like dehydrated and dry skin, acne or eczema can make the skin more sensitive to irritants.

The signs and symptoms of sensitive skin

Even though many experts say that a harsh reaction to certain kinds of skincare products, like stinging, redness, burning, itchiness or tightness, are symptoms of sensitive skin – here’s how dermatologists define the main symptoms/causes:

  • Extremely dry skin which does not have the ability to protect the skin’s nerve endings results in sensitive reactions.
  • Skin has a high likelihood towards skin flushing and blushing.
  • The skin reacts with bumps, erosion of the skin layer leading to skin craters/indents and pustules.
  • Redness, rashes, flaking, scaling, swelling and roughness on the face or anywhere else on the skin.
  • Sensations of burning and itching, as well as prickling and tightness.

While the above symptoms can appear on any part of the face, they can also be observed on other parts of the skin.


How to deal with sensitive skin

Here are a few ways through which you can manage sensitive skin:

  • Use skincare products and consume a diet which are both rich in antioxidants like Vitamin A, C and E.
  • Wear a minimum SPF30 sunscreen even during cloudy weather conditions and avoid sun exposure between 11am and 3pm.
  • Steer clear of skincare products that include irritants like strong perfumes, overly oily moisturizer or harsh cleansers.
  • Always use a gentle and soap-free cleanser which doesn’t strip the skin of its natural oils.

Oily Skin

Have you ever noticed how there’s an extra shine to your skin when you look in the mirror?

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All of us have oil under our skin which is where the sebaceous (oil) gland resides right under our skin pores to produce sebum or natural oils. This is necessary for keeping the skin hydrated, smooth and healthy.


Causes of oily skin

Some teens and adults have overactive sebaceous glands which causes the skin to produce too much oil, and therefore, lead to oily skin. Here are some of the factors that can lead to oily skin:

  • Oily skin can often surface as a result of using the wrong products for your specific skin type.
  • Your skin’s pores can stretch out and become enlarged which means larger pores tend to produce more oil than usual.
  • People living in hot and humid climates tend to have oilier skin, particularly during summer.
  • If either one of your parents have oily skin, for example, it’s quite likely that you’ll have it too.
  • A lack of hydration and moisturisation causes the skin to produce extra oil just to survive.

The signs and symptoms of oily skin

While it’s not too hard to know if you have oily skin, here are a few signs you want to look for apart from just admiring the shiny texture of your skin:

  • Very large and apparent pores on the skin
  • Occasional or persistent pimples
  • Skin that’s rough to the touch or looks thick
  • Clogged pores and blackheads
  • A shiny or greasy texture (the most obvious one)
  • Changing hormone levels
  • High levels of stress

People with oily skin generally find it trickier to know which makeup and skincare products to use. Furthermore, oily skin symptoms and severity may vary from person to person. And as mentioned before, genetics can also affect how apparent these symptoms are.


How to deal with oily skin

While there may not be a “get rid of oily skin forever” remedy, there are certainly things you can do to manage it effectively, irrespective of your age, genetics, the climate in your area, or stress and hormone levels. These include:

  • A gentle cleanser twice a day is all you need to reduce excessive sebum buildup, along with any dirt or pollutants which may be clogging the skin.
  • When choosing skincare products, always make sure you see the word “noncomedogenic” or “lightweight” on the label.
  • A very simple way to avoid overly oily skin and breakouts is to remove makeup before going to bed.
  • A lack of rest can lead to insulin resistance and in turn, this can cause the skin to produce more sebum so get lots of rest!
  • Sometimes oily skin can be caused by your skin not being moisturised enough, so make sure you moisturise after cleansing. Use products that mattify skin or are low in oils.

Dry skin

Dry skin is often an uncomfortable condition to deal with and is marked by itching, scaling and cracking.

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Dry skin is something that can affect anyone, irrespective of their age, genetics, lifestyle habits or diet. However, there are certain risk factors which may increase the likelihood of developing dry skin:


Causes of dry skin

  • Dry skin is quite common in the autumn and winter months, a time when humidity levels are noticeably low.
  • Frequent and long baths using very hot water increases the chances of having dry skin.
  • A history of allergic contact dermatitis, eczema or other allergic diseases in your family means you are more likely to experience dry skin.
  • Taking long hot baths or showers.
  • Using harsh cleaning products and deodorants.

The signs and symptoms of dry skin

There are a number of symptoms to look out for. These include:

  • Flaky skin that has a rough texture
  • Burning or stingy skin
  • Cracks in the skin
  • Peeling skin
  • Loose and wrinkled skin
  • Patches of scaly or itchy skin


How to deal with dry skin

Most causes of dry skin can be dealt with by using an appropriate moisturiser, staying hydrated, and not washing and bathing in hot water. Here are more tips to help manage dry skin:

  • Pat and dry the skin rather than rubbing it after washing/bathing.
  • Apply a hydrating moisturiser right after drying the face or skin.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Avoid sitting or standing too close to wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, heaters, etc.
  • Use gentle cleansing products that have no/little (or hypoallergenic) fragrances and limit other harsh chemicals.

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