Living in a temperate, desert climate like the middle east can cause many adults to have skin care problems. Some of the more common skincare problems at adults in the UAE face are Acne, Hyperpigmentation, and Eczema. In this blog article, I answer some commonly asked questions about the aforementioned skincare disorders.
What are the top causes of adult acne?
Adult acne can be caused due to various reasons including excess sun damage, pollution, stress, unhealthy diet, hormonal changes, menopause and poor lifestyle practices like smoking. Some medications can also react with the skin and result in acne.
It is a common belief that the growing years is when all such skin problems occur and once you cross 20’s managing the skin is rather easy. However, this isn’t the case, acne is not caused only in teens. A lot of people develop acne during the adulthood.
The major causes of adult acne are:
- Hormonal imbalance – Women experience hormonal changes when they are about to get their period, after pregnancy or after discontinuing or beginning to take birth control pills. Hormonal imbalance leads to increased oil production in the skin which causes the pores to be clogged and bacteria build up, hence leading to pimples. Some health conditions relating to hormonal imbalance like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) can cause acne.
- Stress – Stress is directly linked to acne. When the body is stressed, the body produces excess testosterone which drives the oil glands to produce more oil, hence causing acne.
- Unhealthy diet – Putting the wrong food into your body can cause reactions that show on the skin. Excess consumption of chocolates, nuts, fried and oily food is unhealthy for the skin. Another potential risk factor is sweets, excess consumption of which can increase the insulin levels which boosts the oil triggering glands.
- Wrong skincare products – Some skincare products can worsen acne. A dermatologist will be able to recommend suitable skin care products.
What are some treatment options and easy remedies for Adult Acne?
The first and the most important step towards treating acne is consulting with a dermatologist in order to understand the causes of acne and work towards correcting the condition. A dermatologist will be able to suggest products to use on a daily basis to cleanse your skin. Do not ever pop the pimples by hand as they leave a scar on the skin.
Some easy remedies to follow in order to prevent and treat acne are;
- Healthy skincare practices – it is very important to wash your face twice daily and no more. Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face and always remember to pat dry and never rub.
- Reduce salt intake – sodium found in food products tend to impact the skin and result in acne. Try to stick to a low-sodium diet to reduce the chances.
- Tea tree oil products – Tea tree oil has anti-bacterial properties and is known to reduce skin irritation. Various products infused with tea tree oil are available in the market.
- Good skin care products – Water-based skin care products and cosmetics with the right ingredients will be helpful in treating acne.
- Probiotics – Fighting acne requires internal and external treatment. Consume probiotic drinks that will help keep the digestive system healthy and the immune system functioning.
What is hyperpigmentation? What its causes?
Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition caused by excess production of melanin, the pigment responsible for skin coloring. In this condition, melanin is produced in excess in certain specific areas of the skin
Causes of hyperpigmentation include:
- Overexposure to the sun
- Genetic factors
- Hormonal Imbalance
- Vitamin deficiency
- After effects of hormonal treatments
What are the treatment options for hyperpigmentation? Suggest some easy remedies (home/ OTC options) to get rid of hyperpigmentation?
There are some dermatological procedures that can help treat hyperpigmentation, namely;
- Chemical peels: in which an acidic solution is applied to the skin to remove the surface layer of the skin. This solution enables peeling off the top layer of the skin and reveals the new skin from beneath
- Laser skin therapies: involving using high-frequency light energy on the affected areas to remove the skins surface layer. This procedure treats the affected area and leaves the remaining area undamaged.
- Wearing sunscreen to avoid sunburn caused by overexposure to sunlight.
- Maintaining good personal hygiene by taking a shower daily. Use cold water instead of hot.
- Including lots of green leafy vegetables in your diet.
UAE residents often complain of eczema due to hair color and henna tattoo. What is the connection between henna/ hair color and eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition which occurs due to a combination of hereditary and genetic factors. Certain allergens, nuts, hormones, weather etc. can all cause eczema. This condition causes the skin to become red, inflamed and itchy.
Henna tattoo and some hair colors contain a chemical called para-phenylenediamine (PPD). This chemical is largely found in hair dyes of colors black and dark brown.
What is the common line of treatment for eczema? Are there any home/ OTC treatment options for eczema?
Eczema is treated to reduce inflammation and itching of the skin. A dermatologist will be able to help diagnose the condition and prescribe the necessary medication. Since eczema causes the skin to become dry and itchy, the first line of treatment would be moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated and soft. A dermatologist may prescribe anti-biotic creams to reduce the bacterial infection. In severe cases, oral doses of medication may be given, although these medications are not given for longer periods given their side effects.
Procedures like wet dressings and light therapy are also performed to treat the condition. Wet dressings involve wrapping the infected area with wet bandages to hydrate the infected area of the skin. This technique can also be performed at home on learning its technique.
Light therapy is only used in people who do not show improvement with other techniques of treatment. The skin is exposed to controlled amounts of light including natural sunlight, UV rays etc in order to reduce itchiness and increase vitamin D production. This technique also has its disadvantages and hence is not used commonly in young children.
Over the counter medications such as gentle, water-based cleansers, moisturizers, petroleum jelly etc. can be bought from stores and used to moisturize the skin. Use a mild soap that will not dry out your skin any further.
Aster Clinic, Abu Shagara