When writing these posts, I refer to the expertise of Dr. David Cunningham from Santa Barbara. Our conversations and fact-finding missions are thoroughly enjoyable and educational. Here is the latest collection of questions from my skin care clients.
What are the most common habits people shouldn’t do to their skin?
Let your skin heal: Picking and pressing on skin blemishes and acne pustules is a habit everyone should avoid. Often, this practice further damages skin by introducing physical trauma and external bacteria. Your fingernails are dirty; they are a hotbed for bacterial and fungal growth. Transferring these organisms into open acne wounds further exacerbates the condition.
What is one simple addition or change to our daily routine to get healthier skin?
Stop over-washing: Scrubbing your skin aggressively or using abrasive tools can cause more harm than good. Your skin contains many protective layers. Scrubbing to remove these skin layers does not make your skin cleaner, rather, it can generate irritation and promote acne.
Keep skin hydrated with moisturizer: Your skin is alive. It contains pores, glands, and capillaries that function poorly when overly dry. Furthermore, dry skin often comes with flaking, itching, and irritation. Skin that is well-hydrated can resist transepidermal water loss and fine lines, making the skin appear smooth and soft.
Use stand alone sunscreen: The daily use of SPF 30+ sunscreen is essential to healthier skin. Stand alone sunscreens are ideal because they allow you to have more control over the quantity applied and degree of protection. However, mixed moisturizer-sunscreen is better than none at all.
Is there really a relationship between food and pimples?
For the most part, there is little evidence linking diet to the causation acne. Certain foods can, however, affect the risk and severity of acne. This means that foods can increase the likelihood of having a breakout or increase the intensity of a breakout in some people. A diet that is high in sugar, dairy products, and saturated fats can promote acne by affecting your hormonal levels and inflammatory response. Some individuals are more sensitive to these foods than others.
In general, poor eating habits can make your body less healthy; it is harder to fight off infections, regenerate skin, and control inflammation when you are missing key nutrients. Furthermore, the body’s reaction to certain food (milk, sugars, fats) can be seen in your skin. For more information take a look at this article.
What is seborrheic keratosis and how can I prevent it?
Seborrheic keratosis is a benign (non-carcinogenic) skin growth, that appears as a tan to black waxy bump, similar to a wart. It differs from other growth in that it only involves the top layer of skin (epidermis), giving it a “pasted-on” appearance. This condition is highly prevalent; it typically begins in middle-age and is found on most people over age 50. While the specific cause is unknown, these growths can be removed by freezing with liquid nitrogen, laser therapy, or scraping. Because they are associated with age and genetics, it is not possible to completely prevent seborrheic keratosis growths. However, regular exfoliation and the use of lotions containing glycolic acid, beta hydroxy, or lactic acid can help to thin their appearance by preventing the buildup of dead skin cells.
What is the easiest, non-laser scar removal treatment?
The first step is prevention; keeping wounds clean helps to speed up the healing process and prevent scar formation. Keloid scars occur when excess fibrous tissue accumulates over a wound site, while pitted scars are caused by deep cystic acne.
Medical non-laser options include dermabrasion, steroid injections, collagen injections, punch grafts, surgical scar revisions, and fat transfer procedures. The type of treatment your dermatologist will recommend depends on the type of scar. When used correctly, tretinoin can help reduce the appearance of acne scars by promoting collagen growth and skin-cell turnover.
An alternative approach to medical options would be lactic acid, which is derived from milk and is also naturally occurring in your body. It causes gentle exfoliation of the top layer of the skin. You may seek a professional peel or find serums and masks containing lactic acid. Another option includes a shea butter-based soothing balm that creates an occlusive seal to keep the area moist, prevent accumulation of dead skin.
Big thanks to Dr. Cunningham for taking the time to answer these questions!