There are so many products out there in the market that brand themselves as pH balanced. Ever wondered what it means? It’s important to understand what pH means and how does it affect our skin.

The pH level of the skin refers to how acidic or alkaline it is. The pH scale starts from 1 which is the most acidic and up to 14 which is the most alkaline and 7 being a neutral reading for your skin pH level. If this neutral pH level is not maintained your skin is prone to become too alkaline or acidic which can cause skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, and rosacea, however, the human body has a natural defense. The acid mantle.

The acid mantle is a thin protective layer on the surface of the skin and is made up of sebum which is excreted from the sebaceous glands. This acid mantle can be easily disrupted by various factors such as changing lifestyles, age, diet, air pollution, and even the sun. Over time, excess exposure to these external and internal factors may result in the breaking down of the acid mantle and reducing its ability to protect the skin.

How to maintain the acid mantle?

1. Syndet over soap: Most of the cleansers and soaps in the market are too alkaline and strip away the natural oils of your skin leaving your skin dry and prone to itchiness. Skin that is too alkaline can easily be susceptible to acne and other skin conditions. Use a syndet or a mild cleanser with a neutral pH which benefits all skin types and helps to maintain your acid mantle.

2. Moisturizers: Moisturizers are extremely important in retaining your skins natural look and sheen. As we age the amount of oil or sebum production starts to reduce drastically, breaking down the acid mantle. Regular use of moisturizer helps to rebuild and maintain this barrier.

3. Sunscreen and Antioxidants: Sunscreen defends the acid mantle from harmful UV rays of the sun and increases the skins ability to protect itself. Water-based sunscreens work much more effectively and hydrate the skin from within. Topical Antioxidants such as vitamin A, C, and E help in maintaining the acid mantle that help fortify the cells and also protect the cells from environmental stresses.

You would have noticed that there are hundreds of anti-aging products flooding the market and various offers and promises of completely eliminating wrinkles, fine lines, and dark spots and so on. The simple fact is that if you want to retain your youthful self you need to take control of things that are in your hand. What you eat, the level of exercise and lifestyle changes are all things that you can easily do to slow down the skin’s aging process. This beginner’s guide will help you get started on how you can age gracefully.

1. Don’t skip the sunscreen: Anti-aging skin care routines should be started at a young age itself, you spend all your time outside and being at a lot of different places, your skin is exposed to the sun and pollution, as you age you will notice the impact of overexposure to the sun. Applying sunscreen frequently will help to decrease early signs of skin aging such as dark spots and lines. Use a sunscreen that has broad-spectrum protection, i.e., which can protect you from all the harmful UVA and UVB rays.

2. Your lifelong friend, The Moisturizer: A moisturizer is a must with any other anti-aging creams that you use. You will definitely notice a difference in your skin’s appearance as you keep using a moisturizer. A good moisturizer helps to distribute and lock in water to all parts of the body where applied and helps to promote a radiant, hydrated and glowing skin.

3. Throw away all your bad habits: Your habits and daily lifestyle will determine how your skin will look. Junk food, smoking, exposure to the sun, a lack of sleep are all major causes of unhealthy skin. Make these changes at a young age itself, and your future self will give you a big hug!

Acne is one of the most widespread skin condition that one can come across. It primarily occurs during adolescence and when young adults hit puberty. Acne lesions are most commonly found on the face but can appear in other place like the back, chest or shoulders.

Choosing the right type of acne treatment is crucial. Depending on your type of skin you need to make sure what you use is not causing further damage to your skin. A mild cleansing agent is the safest and recommended method of keeping a clear skin. A product should ideally remove oils and other impurities from the pores.

Cleansing agents that contain salicylic acid, lactic acid and glycolic acid are mild and are not harsh on the skin.

Different type of skins need different type of treatment. If you have sensitive skin that is prone to sunlight and turn red immediately, it would be advisable to talk to your dermatologist about specific acne treatments.

Figuring the right treatment that works for your skin and making certain changes to your daily skin routine will definitely help you achieve clear, oil free skin.

November 22, 2018

Dry Skin and Acne

It is a common belief that people with oily skin are more prone to acne breakouts than those with dry skin. But in reality, acne has no considerations as such for the skin types.

Dry skin:
Dry skin results in tightness and flaking thus making it look dull specifically on the cheeks and around the eyes. It may even lead to itching and redness of the skin. In some cases, the skin may even crack and bleed. Overexposure to the sun or cold dry air also results in dehydration of the skin.

The following tips can help you stay hydrated and avoid acne:

  • Prefer moisturizer that suits your skin type helping you to seal your skin’s moisture.
  • Drink plenty of water even in winter. Keeping the skin hydrated is essential irrespective of seasons. Foods such as Salmon, Walnuts, Flaxseed, Soybeans and Broccoli help in keeping your skin supple.
  • Avoid over washing your face as it makes the skin even drier thus resulting in excess acne proliferation.
  • Have your dermatologist prescribe you a soap/body wash that especially suits your skin type. It helps you keep your skin clean and clear.
  • Sometimes acne breakouts can be a result of irritants. Thus keep a distance from substances that provoke acne on your skin.

Skin, the largest organ in the human body, can tell more about a person’s health. The changes, ranging from discoloration to new growth, give you a clue that some transformation is taking place inside your body. Some such changes which demand your immediate attention are:

Rashes and Patches:
Rash along with fever, joint pain and muscle aches can indicate an internal problem or infection. A velvety rash on the back of the neck or around the arms, with a colour slightly darker than the person’s normal skin tone, is an indication that the patient might have an increased risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

In some cases, the velvety rash, also called acanthosisnigricans, could be a warning sign of cancer in an internal organ, such as the stomach or liver. A purple rash on the lower legs that does not react to topical medication can be a sign of hepatitis C infection.

Bronzing of the skin and other discolorations:
In people with diabetes, bronzing of the skin can indicate an issue with iron metabolism. A yellowing of the skin along with the yellowing of the whites of the eyes may signal liver failure. A darkening of the skin in scars and skin folds, as well as on joints, such as elbows and knees can be a sign of hormonal diseases, such as Addison’s disease, which affects the adrenal glands.

New growths:
New growths on the skin can be a symptom of skin cancer and may sometimes indicate internal disease or a genetic syndrome. For instance, yellow bumps on the arms, legs or rear, can be a result of high triglyceride levels, indicating uncontrolled diabetes and can result in a condition called eruptive exanthemas.
In women, acne that appears along the lower face or jaw line can indicate polycystic ovarian syndrome. This condition may lead to other symptoms like weight gain, thinning of hair and increased hair growth on the face.

Changes in the Nail:
Changes in nail colour or shape can be an indication of deficiency or organ system issues. Nails looking like they are fungally infected can be a result of psoriasis which typically affects the skin. Also, there are chances for people with joint pain to develop a form of a arthritis called psoriatic arthritis. Sometimes liver and kidney problems can also cause changes in the nail colour.

Hardness and dryness:
The thickening of the skin on the shin can be a sign of high blood pressure and kidney problems. Very dry, itchy skin can indicate hormonal problems, such as an underactive thyroid. An autoimmune disease called systemic sclerosis causes the swelling and hardening of the skin. In severe cases, this might even lead to hardening of internal organs, such as the lungs or heart.

On the contrary, very loose and silky skin is a symptom of a rare connective tissue disease, called acquired cutis laxa, which might indicate blood cancers such as lymphoma or multiple myeloma, and could even affect internal organs.

So, never miss any signal your skin sends you. It might want to convey something about your health. Visit your dermatologist and make sure you understand your issue.