Posts Tagged ‘acne’

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!

What Is A BB Cream?

If you haven’t noticed, there has been a recent increase in a new skin care “must have” called the BB cream. Although new to us here in the US, BB creams have existed for decades in Europe and Asia. So what exactly what is a BB cream? BB cream stands for a variety of things.

Blemish Balm, Beauty Balm, and Blemish Base are some of the more common terms. The BB cream was actually developed over 50 years ago by German dermatologist, Dr. Christine Schrammek. The cream was used to protect the skin after procedures while at the same time providing light makeup coverage. So basically a BB cream is an all in one type cosmetic-with moisturizer, primer, foundation, and sun block all in one cream.

In the 1980’s BB creams gained popularity in Asia for their multitasking properties. In South Korea, many BB creams were endorsed by celebrities as the “secret of Korean actresses”. The term BB cream came out of Asia likely due to a copyright on the word “blemish” in Korea. In Asia, skin whitening and lightening properties are a common selling point of BB creams. However, in the US, BB creams are known for their nourishing and soothing properties.

BB creams in Asia usually come in just two shades which make them limited for the wide range of hues we have in the United States, but manufacturers in the US have taken that into account and have added more shades to cover darker skin types. I do think that BB creams are here to stay. As our days get busier and busier, it is not surprising that this all in one product has gained popularity. Just be careful with sunscreen because the pea sized amount recommended to cover the entire face will not provide any significant sun protection. So definitely add a sunscreen to your BB cream to make sure you are getting the protection you need.

Licorice and Green Tea: Unique and Effective Ingredients in Skincare

Natural ingredients continue to grow in skincare and for good reason. At every meeting I attend, I am always excited to hear about the great new research on these new natural ingredients. To treat treat hyperpigmentation, my favorite ingredient is licorice. Licorice extract works not only on pigmentation but also on inflammation so products that contain licorice extract are great for many types of discoloration.

For example dark spots from acne, melasma, and sun damage are some of the most common pigmentary conditions that licorice works on. Products that contain high concentrations of licorice tend to be yellow-brown in color because the extract from the licorice plant is yellow-brown. For example, Specific Beauty Skin Brightening Serum is yellow because it has very high concentrations of licorice, making it extremely effective. The research on licorice in pigmentation is extensive. In combination with other natural ingredients, the effectiveness of licorice has even been proven to be equal to prescription treatments such as hydroquinone.

Green tea is another one of my favorites. It is an excellent antioxidant and can help prevent free radical damage from the sun. Like licorice, skincare creams with very high concentrations of green tea should be light brown in color because green tea extract is brown. Antioxidants like green tea should be applied in the morning to improve sun protection from sunscreen. Ideally, your daily sunscreen should contain antioxidants but if it doesn’t consider adding a topical antioxidant to your morning routine for better sun protection. When seeking natural ingredients in your skincare regimen, look out for licorice and green tea. These “brown beauties” are great additions to any skincare routine.

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.

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