Archive of ‘Acne’ category

5 Surprising Benefits of Exercise for your Skin

Useful tips on caring for your dry winter skin

The health benefits of exercise are well known. It is not surprising that exercise improves your heart and lungs, but did you know that exercise could also help your skin. Here is a list covering the newest research on 5 surprising benefits of exercise for your skin

1) Exercise may improve acne

There is an often-shared myth that sweat from exercise causes acne. Multiple studies show that this is not the case. In one study they evaluated body acne in three groups. One group exercised 5 days per week and showered 1 hour after exercising, one group exercised 5 days per week and showered 4 hours after exercising, and one group did not exercise at all. At the end of two weeks they found no difference in body acne between the three groups. This study shatters the myth that sweat from exercise causes acne

In fact, exercise may in fact improve acne. In one study, women with abnormally high male hormones (also known as androgens) had lower androgen levels after regular exercise. Androgens are one of the many causes of hormonal acne in women.
These studies suggest that exercise certainly won’t hurt acne and may, in fact, make acne better.

2) Exercise decreases the risk of skin cancer

We are now learning that exercise reduces the risk of all types of cancer in fact, it may reduce your risk of skin cancer. In a recent animal study, mice that exercised had fewer skin cancers after 14 weeks when compared to controls that did not exercise. Researchers think that there is a link between excess fat and tumor growth, which could explain these interesting results. So please don’t use the sun as an excuse not to exercise. Instead exercise in the early morning or evening and, of course, wear sunscreen.

3) Exercise helps prevent psoriasis

In a recent study from Harvard School of Medicine, women who participated in vigorous exercise reduced their risk of developing psoriasis by 25-30 percent. This may be due to two well-known benefits of exercise, reduced inflammation and reduced stress. Inflammation is a major factor in psoriasis and, of course, stress makes all skin diseases, like psoriasis, worse. So if you have psoriasis or a family history of psoriasis, make sure you are exercising regularly.

4) Exercise helps prevent and treat varicose veins

Exercise is one of the most important and frequently overlooked treatments for people with varicose veins. This is because low impact exercise such as walking improves the muscle tone in the calves. Good muscle tone in this area helps to support the veins and improve blood flow back to the heart. Keep in mind, not all types of exercise are good for varicose veins. High impact exercises, such as running, may make them worse. However, low impact exercises along with compression stockings are simple interventions to improve circulation in people with varicose veins.

5) Exercise may help your skin look younger

There are many reasons why exercise can make you look younger. First, we all know topical antioxidants are important to prevent aging in our skin, but did you know that exercise increases antioxidant activity in our whole body! In one study, researchers found increased antioxidant activity in the blood of people immediately after exercising. Antioxidants prevent wrinkles and other signs of aging by combating damage to DNA and other vital structures in our skin cells.

Another often forgotten benefit of exercise is that it improves sleep. In one study, people who exercised over 20 minutes per day had 65% better sleep quality. We all know that a rested face is a youthful face, so exercise really helps our skin in that aspect.

Keep in mind that exercise also reduces stress and rapid weight fluctuations, which are other common causes of dull, tired, and sagging skin.

So there you have it, 5 absolutely indisputable reasons to start exercising. Your body AND SKIN will thank you for it!

Do the Acne iPhone Apps Really Work?

I am sure many of you have heard of the acne app to treat acne and must be thinking how on earth could a cellphone treat acne?!?! Well if you had your doubts, you were right. There is absolutely no evidence that using an acne app will improve acne.

These apps popped up around a year ago with claims that they could provide blue and red light treatments right from your phone.  Blue and red lights have been effective in treating acne but these treatments are done in the doctor’s office with special lights that emit much higher energies than could ever come from a little cellphone.

Light therapy, tends to work better in conjunction with 5-aminolevulinic acid (ALA). ALA is a topical treatment that is applied before the treatment.  ALA activates the blue light therapy to make it more effective and is done under the supervision of a physician. Blue light helps acne by shrinking the oil glands and also by killing the bacteria that is implicated in acne.

The Federal Trade Commission is actually stepping in to shut down these apps that claim to treat acne. The marketers of the apps have agreed to stop making these claims in order to settle the FTC complaint. So don’t waste your money on the acne app. Try over the counter treatments with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide or see a dermatologist for an effective treatment plan.


Spironolactone: A Good Option for Hormonal Acne

I treat many patients with acne. You may be surprised to know that most of these patients are adult women. There is misconception that acne is a skin condition seen only in teenagers. For this reason, acne in adulthood can be especially frustrating.  My patients often ask “I didn’t have acne as a teenager, why did I get this now?! ”. Well the answer is HORMONES! Unfortunately the hormonal fluctuations that occur monthly in women can wreak havoc on your skin. There are many options to treat acne but one that can be especially useful in adult women with hormonal acne is spironolactone. Spironolactone belongs to a class of medications known as anti-androgens. Androgens are sex hormones that cause the monthly breakouts that many women experience. Anti-androgens stop the effects of androgens by blocking the receptors in the skin. The result is less acne.

Spironolactone was not originally developed to treat acne. Its use in acne is “off-label”; however, spironolactone is being prescribed more frequently to treat hormonal acne with good results. In clinical studies over 80% of women treated had improvement in their acne. Rare side effects include dehydration, and elevated potassium levels. For this reason, your doctor may check potassium levels when you are on spironolactone. The other important thing to realize is that it can take up to 3 months to work, so if you and your doctor decide to try spironolactone remember to be patient with the results. I know hormonal acne can be frustrating. Ask your dermatologist about spironolactone as an option if conventional therapies don’t work.

Treatment and prevention of dark marks from acne

Dark marks or spots from acne are very common in tan, olive, and brown skin. They occur in these skin types specifically because any inflammation or irritation can cause the skin cells to make more pigment, resulting in hyperpigmentation, or a dark mark. The most important thing to do if you suffer from this problem is to wear sunscreen. Sunscreen really can make a huge impact on prevention of these dark marks and blemishes from acne. For many of my patients, daily sunscreen use can reduce hyperpigmentation by over 50%.  The next thing that you should do to treat this problem is to treat the acne. Obviously, if you don’t get acne, you won’t get the dark spots, so treatment is key. Benzoyl peroxide, topical and/or oral antibiotics and retinoids (like Retin A, Tazorac and Differin) can be used in combination to effectively treat acne. Finally, you need to use an agent to actually even out the skin tone. Hydroquinone is an effective option, but this treatment cannot be used long term. If you use hydroquinone you should discontinue use after one to two months and start on a maintenance therapy with another agent. Options include skin brighteners with ingredients like licorice, soy, and niacinamide, which have all been proven to even skin tone. For more resistant hyperpigmentation, procedures such as chemical peels and microdermabrasion are helpful to improve the effectiveness of the topical therapies. Often a combination of many of these options is required to achieve the best results. With a comprehensive approach, you should be able to erase those stubborn dark marks on your face. It just requires diligence and little bit of patience to get the results you desire.

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