Acne and dark spots may not always be an issue for everyone. We all have different skin types and our skin reacts differently to certain ingredients in our skin care products or to every day routines in general. Overall, many people face skin discolorations on their face and body. Healthline states, “Discolored skin patches are […]
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Acne and Acne Scars
Acne and dark spots may not always be an issue for everyone. We all have different skin types and our skin reacts differently to certain ingredients in our skin care products or to every day routines in general. Overall, many people face skin discolorations on their face and body. Healthline states, “Discolored skin patches are irregular areas where there are changes in skin color. They are a common problem with a wide array of potential causes.” So whenever you see an area that may be lighter than your natural skin tone, this could be a sign of discoloration. Though discolorations may be harmless, like dark spots and hyperpigmentation, discolorations is a sign of excess melanin levels, which helps even out skin tone. So if the skin has unbalanced and excess melanin levels, it creates an uneven skin tone. Not all discolorations will come out with an “even” amount of skin discolorations, meaning that one area may be more complicated to even out skin tone, because of the imbalanced melanin levels. Not all skin discolorations will be the same also because they can be birthmarks that are either in sensitive areas or are simply incapable of going away without laser treatments. There are however ways to preventing future discolorations and treating them in order to achieve an even skin tone.
When we get sick, we always try to trace back what we did wrong in order to find the reason why our body is not in a healthy state. Our bodies react to certain bacteria and infections differently, so when we have a cold, we have a runny nose. But when our skin encounters with bacteria, it reacts differently by producing oils or producing excess melanin levels. According to Dermalogica, there are three major causes for skin discolorations. Of the three, one can be prevented by every single person, because it affects us all—sun exposure:
- Sun Exposure/Dryness
Being exposed to the sun on a daily basis, such as working in the sun, or kids playing out in the sun, may lead to skin damage because of the UVA and UVB rays. When we are overly exposed to the sun, melanin begins to produce excessively in order to protect our skin, so not only do we get a tan, but our melanin becomes imbalanced, thus causing discolorations in certain areas. When sunburns heal, our skin not only cracks, and dries up, but it leaves new skin tissue exposed to the sun, which may be harmful if sunscreen is not properly applied. Furthermore applying sunscreen incompletely may lead to tanned patches which may lead to uneven skin tone. Lastly, even using certain products may make your skin more sensitive to the sun which again leads to sunburns. Even dehydrated skin such as dry knees or elbows, may cause skin discolorations because of over exposed sunlight which again leads to dehydration.
Women are more likely than men to experience melasma which is a skin disorder that cause uneven skin discolorations. Melasma may also be due to sun exposure but also in birth control or pregnancy. This can also be referred to as the “mask of pregnancy” because of the hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, creates changes in the body such as skin color.
- Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation (PIH)
PIH is caused by discoloration on a person’s face or body. The condition is also caused by the excess melanin level which kicks into overdrive in cases such as injury or an inflammatory reaction to the skin. Although it may happen to anyone, PIH occurs more often on darker skin tones, because darker skin tones have higher melanin levels, so by increasing melanin levels higher, discolorations occur more often on darker skin tones.
When it comes to darker skin, skin is more likely to receive “trauma” because of acne. This “trauma” occurs by creating dark spots or hyperpigmentation in the acne area. So whenever you get a pimple, it is likely for hyperpigmentation to occur if you pop the pimple because of the fact that popping pimples means breaking the skin, which means damage, and that damage leads to uneven skin tone.
Our skin is our largest part of the body, and we use it to keep infections and bacteria from ever getting inside our body. By preventing discolorations, not only are you working towards an even skin tone, but you could potentially lower your risks of skin cancer, melasma, or even acne. Here are just a few things that you can do in order to start protecting your skin even more:
Drink eight glasses of water everyday will not only keep you energized, but it helps your skin stay hydrated, after all, our skin is made up about 64% of water, according to Teen Vogue.
- Apply Sunscreen Daily
Here at Clear Essence we highly stress the importance of applying sunscreen, not only after using our products, but every time you know that you will be out in the sun for a long period of time. Although it may be a hassle, sunscreen needs to be used in order to prevent future skin damage as well as prevent current skin discolorations from getting worse. It’s also recommended to apply sunscreen even if you’re driving or are in the office because of the fluorescent lights.
- Don’t Touch Your Face!
Touching your acne, or popping a pimple prematurely can lead to dark spots which also affect skin tones. The more you pop, the more dark spots, and the more dark spots, the more likely it is for skin discolorations to occur because the skin is essentially injured from popping the pimple. So don’t touch your face! Remember, your hands touch a lot of things throughout the day which is filled with bacteria, so you may also injury your face with infections that damage your skin, so don’t touch!
Therefore, keep cool during the heat and drink plenty of water, and stand in the shade. The sun may bring beautiful weather in the summer, but remember that the sun also brings UVA/UVB rays that create skin damage. Skin care should be apart of your daily routine, and if you’re using treatments for discoloration, then remember—sunscreen is a part of your beauty routine. Unless you want more dark spots, then remember to keep sunblock in your bag and apply some before you head out the door. Drinking water is also going to keep you hydrated and keep your skin naturally glowing. Apart from the fact that you need water in order to keep cool in the summer, your skin is also made up of water, so less water, means dryer skin. Also, stop touching your face! Your hand comes in contact with millions of germs! According to Huffington Post, touching your face with your hands, may “trigger” acne-prone skin to develop more acne! If you do touch your face, remember about all the things you’ve touched today, and then go wash your hands!
Skin discolorations are harmless, however depending on the cause, they can be cured. Achieving even skin tone is easy when using our Clear Essence products. Like dark spots, skin discolorations can be treated with products such as:
This moisturizing lotion not only helps dry spots, but it also helps even out skin tone by preventing dry spots by creating an even toned glow. This best seller focuses on locking in moisture so that not only can dark spots be prevented, but it helps out with dryness and discoloration using hydroquinone and botanical extracts. Use this product after cleansing and applying your treatment.
This is a medicated treatment which helps hyperpigmentation, skin discoloration and acne scars for normal to dry skin. The crème helps even out skin tone and fade dark spots with the formula that contains hydroquinone. Plus it contains UVA/UVB SPF 15, so not only will you be fighting against your dark spots, but the formula also helps prevent future discolorations! Use this product after cleansing your face and then use a moisturizer.
Clear Essence Skin Lightening Serum treats hyper-pigmentation, fades skin discolorations, and lightens dark spots on all skin types and skin tones. This skin lightening serum contains Hydroquinone and botanical extracts which go to work to fade problem areas. This product is especially popular for being safe and delicate enough for sensitive areas such as around the eyes and on oily, acne prone skin. Use as an all over toner or spot treatment.
Hydroquinone and Skin Discoloration
Though there are myths and questions in regards to hydroquinone, the FDA states, “Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching ingredient used to lighten areas of darkened skin. In 1982, we published a rule to propose that OTC skin bleaching drug products containing 1.5 to 2 percent hydroquinone be generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE).” Clear Essence does carry products that contain 2% hydroquinone. The reason hydroquinone is used not only in our products but in other company products is, by lightening problematic areas, such as discoloration, dark spots, or sunspots, it helps even out skin tone. The ingredient is meant to even out skin tone and therefore, when achieving results, continue to use sunscreen in order to prevent future discolorations. According to The New York Times, a strength of 4 percent or higher, it is prescribed for short-term use to lighten skin blemishes like sun spots. Over-the-counter versions like Fair & White contain 1.9 percent hydroquinone, but bootleg versions are being sold with 4 percent to 5 percent, said Dominique Tinkler, the manager of product development for Fair & White’s American distributor, the Mitchell Group.” Therefore, misusing hydroquinone may lead to worse skin conditions than uneven skin tone. Clear Essence strives in helping achieve results, but doing so the right way—products that help clear skin. Misusing these products may lead to sensitive skin, which may cause dark spots or acne. Not only should you use products with hydroquinone properly, but look out for counterfeits! As mentioned above, counterfeits may carry higher percentages of hydroquinone which again may damage your skin if you’re not using it properly. Always look for our authentic labels that are located on the Clear Essence packaging!
Dark spots, Hyperpigmentation, Skin discoloration, and other conditions should not keep you from flaunting your skin! It’s important to be informed however of what’s happening to your skin and how you can prevent your skin from being damaged even further. We may not be able to stop every pimple, but we can try! Most importantly, don’t forget that letting the real you shine through is what matters! If you feel that discoloration is blocking you from shining through, then take these tips into your hands and get ready to glow! You have the power to control how your skin works, and you have the power to achieve radiant and beautiful skin!
When it comes to acne, we tend to focus on getting the blemish to disappear and how it only happens in adolescents. Some of us are guilty of popping their own pimples, or get pimples still in their late 20s-30s. After popping the pimple, then you realize that it’s taking even longer, and now, you’ll have a darkspot there for a long time to remind you of the consequences for being impatient over a pimple. Dark spots occur when the area that they appear has been damaged, which causes those areas to create melanin. According to News Medical, “Melanin is responsible for determining skin and hair color and is present in the skin to varying degrees, depending on how much a population has been exposed to the sun historically.” So the more melanin you have, the darker your skin tone, which means that if your skin already has high melanin levels, dark spots on dark skin tones create even more excessive melanin levels, which may cause hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation however is different, in which rather than spots, the excess melanin levels create patches of darker skin, which again is caused by skin damage. There are three basic types of hyperpigmentation, which is essential in knowing so that not only can you treat them properly, but you can learn what causes them, and how to prevent it. According to wikiHow these are the three most common forms of hyperpigmentation:
These are dark spots caused by exposure to UV rays from the sun. 90 percent of people over the age of 60 have them, but many much younger men and women have sun-related dark spots as well. The spots appear scattered in no particular pattern.
This type of dark spots are caused by hormonal fluctuations. Women might see darker splotches appear on their cheeks during times when their hormones are in flux, like during pregnancy or menopause. It’s also a side effect of birth control pills and hormone therapy treatments. Melasma can also occur as a result of thyroid dysfunction .
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).
These are dark spots that occur as a result of trauma to the skin, which can be caused by psoriasis, burns, acne, and certain skin care treatments that are hard on the skin.
There are many known causes of dark spots, such as picking at your face, or the ones slightly mentioned above by wikiHow such as sun exposure, hormones, skin trauma. Knowing what causes dark spots is important in order to not only help you stop them, but it also helps prevent them by making changes to your lifestyle. Some of the causes provided by Cosmopolitan may shock you because they involve our daily routines:
- Your Computer
That’s right, your computer, laptop, TV screen, or even your cellphone can cause dark spots to occur. Sitting in front of these types of screens for a long amount of time may cause dark spots because of the uncovered fluorescent lights.
- Birth Control
Hormone changes can cause issues such as acne and melanin levels to up and down. The higher the hormone levels in your birth control, the higher the chance of dark spots to occur.
- Not Wearing Enough Sunscreen—Even in the Winter
Even if it’s 60 degrees outside, we should all be wearing sunscreen. Sunscreen is required even on cloudy days because UVA/UVB rays continue to shine down on us. So if you don’t wear sunscreen, sunburns and sun damage ultimately affects our skin which again may lead to skin damage, such as hyperpigmentation, or worse, skin cancer.
- Your Diet
Your diet should include a dose of folic acid, which are supplements which not only help our skin out, but according to the University of Maryland Medical System “folic acid is crucial for proper brain function and plays an important role in mental and emotional health.” So not only can lack of folic acid in our diet can cause hyperpigmentation and dark spots, but it can also affect the body’s functions.
- Facial Hair Removal
Certain hair removal creams or waxing can cause skin discoloration and dark spots because of the chemicals included in the process.
- Citrus Products
When using facial washes or products such as our Clear Essence Lemon Plus Vitamin C Perfecting Fade Serum it’s very important to not only apply sunscreen after use, but to wait at least 15 minutes after applying sunscreen to go outside. The reason being is that citrus fruits have high toxic levels, so if you go outside while the sun is out, there is a possibility of your skin having a toxic reaction which may lead to severe hyperpigmentation.
Now before you close your computer screen shut, know that there are ways to prevent dark spots and hyperpigmentation. And yes limiting computer screen time is one of them, though we all know that’s a tough one. Preventing dark spots is not only necessary, but it also helps keep melanin levels balanced so that there is less possibilities of your skin having dark spots. Another way to prevent dark spots is to help lower possibilities of break outs and acne in the first place. Here are a good couple of tips:
- Eat Healthy
Cosmopolitan mentioned earlier that in order to have clear skin, you have to eat properly. That being said, Clear Essence’s article on Summer Skin Care: Dos and Don’ts includes a list of some key ingredients that not only would go great with any salad but with most dishes as well such as broccoli, asparagus, avocado, strawberries, and many more. BBCgoodfood also includes of some of the main vitamins your skin needs and more specifically what foods to avoid that can cause acne. Eating healthy is not only said to help the body internally, but externally as well. Eating the right amount of vitamins can help benefit your skin from dark spots occurring, but it also helps strengthen your skin from sun damage and any other possible dangers such as infections.
- Choose the Right Routine for Your Skin
We all have different skin types and skin tones, so knowing what your skin type falls under, may help you find the right the product for breakouts and overall help your skin stay fresh and clean. Not sure what your skin type is? Check out Renee Rouleau’s skin type quiz which gives you details of not only what your main skin care is, but details on what occurs to your skin and ways to prevent it. It’s important to adopt a skin routine because our face can be at risk of bacteria and infections, so having a daily beauty routine both day and night not only achieves fresh and clean skin, but it helps prevent bacteria from building up and leading to acne or infections.
- Sunscreen, Sunblock, Sun Protection
Sunscreen should be included in everyone’s beauty regime—period. Although darker skin tones have SPF built in their skin, it’s not enough to protect your skin from the sun. Look at it this way—our body is protected by our skin which is like a “body guard” but sunscreen guards our skin from damage. So, protected skin means stronger skin cells, and stronger skin cells means stronger protection for our body. So if you know you’re going to be out and it’s partly cloudy or a nice sunny day, wear sunscreen and if possible a hat, or an umbrella. You can never have too much protection for your skin! Hawaiian Tropic helps explain what is the minimal SPF someone should use based off their skin type, and the effects of too much sun exposure, and how often you should reapply sunscreen. If you’re worried about sunscreen making your skin oily or dry, The Times of India has some helpful tips on what kind of product to look for based off your skin type. It’s important to use sunscreen, not only because of potential dark spots, but sun damage can lead to skin cancer, so use sunscreen daily!
Confidence should be a part of anyone’s beauty regime, so whether you’re comfortable with your dark spots or not, strive for comfort. If you’re not comfortable with your dark spots, know that there are affordable products that help fade away dark spots. Clear Essence strives to let the real you shine through, which means having confidence by achieving radiant and beautiful skin. Clear Essence offers products that not only help fade away dark spots, but also help protect skin from the sun, and help with acne.
This cleansing bar is used for not only for the face but areas of the body that are affected by acne and blemishes. The soap cleanses out bacteria, dirt, and oils and is good for all skin types and skin tones. The bar has natural ingredients such as sulfur and wheat germ that works to clean out dead skin cells and help create radiant skin. Use this to cleansing bar to cleanse and clean the face, and then apply treatment, and of course don’t forget to moisturize! Prevent dark spots from ever happening by keeping your face clean!
This is a medicated treatment which helps hyperpigmentation, skin discoloration and acne scars for normal to dry skin. The crème helps even out skin tone and fade dark spots with the formula that contains hydroquinone. Oh yeah, did we mention that it contains UVA/UVB SPF 15? So not only will you be fighting against your dark spots, but the formula also helps prevent future dark spots! Use this product after cleansing your face and then use a moisturizer.
This moisturizing lotion not only helps dry spots, but it also helps even out skin tone by preventing dry spots by creating an even toned glow. This best seller focuses on locking in moisture so that not only can dark spots be prevented, but it helps out with dryness and discoloration using hydroquinone and botanical extracts. Use this product after cleansing and applying your treatment.
It is important to love the skin you’re in, and have your confidence show every time you walk into a room. Not only should we be concerned about our skin, but most importantly, how our skin reacts helps identify how our health overall is. As mentioned earlier, having a good diet not only helps skin, but it helps our bodies prevent from eating foods that affect us not only physically but mentally as well. You don’t want to worry about a dark spot happening right? So limit computer time, eat your fruits and veggies, wear sunscreen, and find the right beauty regime for your skin type and skin tone. Most importantly, don’t let a pimple or dark spot stress you out and affect your vibes. Stay positive, and you too can achieve confidence and glow like a firework.
When it comes to acne, we tend to focus on getting the blemish to disappear and how it only happens in adolescents. Some of us are guilty of popping their own pimples, or get pimples still in their late 20s-30s. After popping the pimple, then you realize that it’s taking even longer, and now, you’ll […]
The 2016 Summer Olympics are quickly approaching and while athletes prepare to compete against other athletes from across the world, now is the time where the athlete must not only be physically prepared, but mentally as well. The athlete should have a focused mind, prepping for their matches. The athlete may train more so than usual, which means that certain changes to the body not only affect bones and muscle, but the skin as well. When it comes to skin care, athletes not only have to look out for their body more so than an average person, but the athlete also experiences, more so often than others, sweating almost every day, infections, blisters, and chafing. This does not necessarily have to happen to an athlete but for those who like to participate in outdoor events, the sun still continues to shine, and the longer out there, the more damage athlete’s skin is at risk, if not properly protected.
The athlete literally sweats for a living, as in, these people are professionally trained in a sport where it is required to work hard and therefore sweat. But why do our bodies sweat? It is more likely for people to sweat in the summer because of the heat, but why does our body do that? Our doctors always tell us that our body temperature must stay at or around 98.6. So when we get hot from working out or we have a cold, the body is trying to control its temperature at a healthy state—hence sweat occurs. Not every person sweats the same amount, in fact, there is multiple factors to consider such as gender, emotions, substances, and genetics. According to POPSUGAR, “You’re born with between two and four million sweat glands. Women have more sweat glands than men, but men’s glands are more active. How much you sweat depends on your gender, the number of sweat glands you have (more glands equal more sweat), how hot it is, how intensely you’re exercising, or how anxious you feel.” So not only does everyone have roughly about the same amount of sweat glands, but it is more likely for a man to sweat because men’s glands are more “active” even if a women’s body is fit, strong, and beautiful like tennis player Serena Williams. It is just scientifically not proven why it is that men’s sweat glands are more likely to release sweat.
Not only does gender determine how much a body sweats, but genetics based off of heredity may affect the amount of sweat exposed to the body. There are conditions of excessive sweating such as hyperhidrosis where whether cold or hot out, the body is more prone to sweat. There are treatments that are available for hyperhidrosis. Lastly, just like how our skin is more prone to acne with sweets, substances such as cigarettes, coffee, and alcohol may cause the body to sweat profusely. POPSUGAR explains, “If you’re a coffee drinker, caffeine can increase perspiration. Drinking alcohol can have the same effect, so limit the cocktails. Smokers may also sweat more since nicotine can affect your hormones, skin, and brain.” All these substances are controllable however, so if perspiration is a concern, than cut the cord on these substances. If you are all about the “gym life” however, Huffington Post has shared skin secrets from sweaty professionals:
- DIY Cleansing Wipes
Before and after a workout, try cleansing the face with a cleansing wipe in order to prevent any bacteria or sweat to clog pores up. You can make your own using ingredients such as witch hazel, or aloe vera!
- Freshen Up with Facial Mist
Use teas such as Chamomile, Green, or Peppermint as a refreshing toner for your face as boost after a long workout!
- Boost the Power of Your SPF
If you’re an outdoors lover, than boost your SPF with carrot juice or coconut oil!
- Don’t Forget to Exfoliate
The athlete is more likely to create dead skin cells, so it’s important to cleanse and exfoliate more often than others, which means to look for products that have mild exfoliants.
- Keep Hair Off Your Face
Let’s not forget that hair contains oils, and oils mixed with sweat creates more clogged pores on the face!
- Change your Clothes ASAP
As soon as you finish working out, try to change into a different outfit. Leaving sweaty clothes on can cause bacteria to keep close to your skin, leading to break outs!
- Make Up Free During Workouts
More and more often, some gym-goers prefer to go work out with makeup—big mistake! Wearing makeup while working out can not only cause sweaty and runny make up, but mixing sweat with those products may lead to break outs and clogged pores!
- Don’t Touch
Do not touch your face after working out! After working out, your pores are open from the heat on your face, so they are more exposed to bacteria, such as the ones on your hands after using the dumbbells or other equipment other people touch. So avoid touching your face!
Lastly, don’t forget to moisturize! The more you work out, the more you shower, and the more you shower, the higher possibility of your skin drying out so moisturize, moisturize, moisturize!
INFECTIONS AND BLISTERS
When it comes to sports or working out, athletes are more likely to have skin infections caused by the environment itself, such as sharing equipment, certain competitions that require direct contact, and much more. Such infections can fall into three basic categories:
- Fungal infections
Caused by fungal organisms living in soil, animals, or on people. A common sport fungal infection, located in the groin area, is commonly known as “jock itch”
- Viral infections
Viral infections in sports can be caused by the herpes simplex virus, which causes rashes or red sores
- Bacterial infections
Athletes are more probable of bacterial infections, not because of poor hygiene, but as an athlete, your skin requires higher maintenance, because of the higher production of sweat, and higher chances of bacteria getting clogged in the skin.
These infections may be prevented, according to New York State Department of Health, “Hand washing (hand hygiene) is the most important way to prevent the spread of skin infections in any setting.” They also have tips for athletes on preventing skin infections such as:
- “Wash your hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (if approved by your school or club) in the absence of soap and clean water.
- Wash your hands after using shared equipment (such as barbells and free weights).
- Use a clean towel as a barrier between your bare skin and shared surfaces (for example, exercise equipment, sauna benches, or physical therapy tables and equipment).
- Avoid contact with others’ lesions and possibly contaminated items (for example, bandages, towels, or gear).
- Wash your hands after contact with others’ potentially infectious wounds, skin, or soiled bandages.
- Use your own container of liquid soap (do not share!) and shower before and as soon as possible after EVERY practice, game, or tournament.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with your hands to help prevent the spread of infections.
- Do not pick or squeeze skin sores, which can worsen an infection and possibly spread it to others.
- Completely and securely cover skin infections that are not contagious (such as eczema) before practice, meets, or games.”
Blisters are hardly ever trouble as long as you don’t pick at them. Health Central states that “you have to make sure to keep the area from continually rubbing against whatever caused the blister. If you need to cover it, use a loose bandage or a donut-shaped pad to help protect it. If you must drain the blister because of its location, use a sterilized needle and poke a small hole at one edge, then push the liquid toward the hole to drain it. Clean the area and cover with gauze to help prevent infection.” Blisters may look nasty to some people, but like a pimple, it’s better to leave it alone than to create an infection.
Chafing is a rash caused by skin to skin friction, and can occur most commonly in areas such as inner thighs or underarm from running, bicycling, or even walking for a long amount of time. Chafing can be painful because of the fact that your skin is rubbing against each other which leads to painful irritation. Chafing can be preventable, however if left untreated and continue to work out then the area may get crusted or even bleed. WebMD has a couple of tips for preventing chafing such as:
- Stay Dry
Use powders such as talcum powder on areas that are likely to sweat in order to prevent chafing from happening, there are also body deodorants that may be used specifically to absorb any moisture from the skin.
Try using jelly lubricants that help avoid friction in the chafing area. These can easily be purchased over-the-counter.
- Dress Right
When working out, the athlete must feel comfortable in order to not only prevent muscle strains, but infections as well. Try using clothes that absorb moisture so that the chafing area will be properly dry and prevented from chafing.
Whatever you do, do not leave the area alone. Chafing can be treated, so if you leave it alone, not only will it get worse, but working out while chafing will not only make you feel uncomfortable, but it’ll distract you from your workout. So, when chafing, try to limit exercises that may make the area more severe. Although chafing may be caused by working out, chafing can happen to anyone, so these tips can also work for you! By preventing chafing, not only will you be able to wear what you want, but you won’t have to worry about whether chafing will occur, as long as you at least follow one of these steps, and therefore looking confident and beautiful as you strut down the street!
Exercising is a daily routine for the athlete—it’s their job to sweat in order to achieve. Their mind has to be focused on finishing in first place, so the last thing they want to worry about is have skin problems. By taking care of your skin properly, not only are you ready for your daily work out, but you’ll be ready to power through with a set mind and achieve your goals for either the perfect body, trophy, or just have fun playing the sports you love doing. Don’t let your skin keep you from exercising, or from letting the real you shine through! Our skin requires higher maintenance when we work out, but that’s okay, because not only will you be achieving your goals while working out, but you’ll also have radiant skin while doing so.
The 2016 Summer Olympics are quickly approaching and while athletes prepare to compete against other athletes from across the world, now is the time where the athlete must not only be physically prepared, but mentally as well. The athlete should have a focused mind, prepping for their matches. The athlete may train more so than […]
When we identify ourselves through our body, we look at our skin type, skin tone, hair type etc. But we never really think about categorizing the spots we have on our bodies—moles, freckles, birthmarks, you name it. We always refer to those brown or black dots on our body as moles, but do we really know why we have them, or more importantly, how do we know that they’re not a sign of cancer? According to WebMD “Moles occur when cells in the skin grow in a cluster instead of being spread throughout the skin. These cells are called melanocytes, and they make the pigment that gives skin its natural color. Moles may darken after exposure to the sun, during the teen years, and during pregnancy.” Although moles may all appear to look the same, their individual makeup can be differentiated by how long the mole has been there, and the size of the mole. EverydayHealth explains the types of moles listed below:
- Congenital moles. When a mole is present at birth, it is called a congenital mole, or congenital nevus. About 1 percent of people have congenital moles, and these moles may be at increased risk of turning into skin cancer.
- Acquired moles. Acquired moles account for most moles and usually develop during childhood or early adulthood. These moles are usually smaller than a quarter inch, and are thought to be due to excessive sun exposure. Most acquired moles will not develop into skin cancer.
- Atypical moles. Atypical moles (also known as dysplastic nevi) are larger than a pencil eraser and shaped irregularly. These moles are usually uneven in color, with a dark brown center. The borders of atypical moles may be irregular, with a lighter or reddish color, and unevenness or black dots around the edge. Atypical moles tend to run in families and they may be at increased risk of developing into skin cancer.
The most common mole that we find on our bodies is the congenital mole, which are moles that we basically seen for most of our lives. We’re born with those moles and most of the time they stay with us as we age. The acquired moles however are moles that develop as we age due to exposure of sun or chemicals that may harm our skin. Both congenital and acquired moles are not considered harmful, however, depending on skin care or exposure to the sun, they can be at risk of skin cancer. Lastly, we have atypical moles, which are known as irregular moles because they are larger than a pencil eraser, with an irregular shape and uneven color. These moles are the moles that we have to keep an eye out for because they have a higher chance of developing into skin cancer.
Types of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancers that anyone is at risk of. According to www.cancer.gov there are 76,380 cases of Melanoma expected for this year. Our skin is comprised of three layers: epidermis, dermis, and fat. The epidermis layer contains melanocytes, which are cells that produce melanin. So, the more melanin produced, the darker the skin pigmentation. Melanin is used to protect our body from too much sun exposure, so you can imagine, the darker the skin tone, the stronger your skin is from being sun damaged or premature aging. Skin cancer occurs when melanin levels are low, so it’s more likely for people with white skin to develop skin cancer, however, dark skin tones are just as likely to get skin cancer because their high melanin levels are not enough to protect the skin from sun damage. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “in African American skin, melanin provides a sun protection factor (SPF) approximately equivalent to 13.4, compared to 3.4 in white skin.” So, even if dark skin has natural UV protection built into the skin, it’s still not enough to support skin from damage. There are four types of skin cancer that everyone is at risk of:
- Actinic Keratoses
- Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
Of these four types of skin cancer, BCC, SCC, and Melanoma are the most common. BCC can be found in any skin tone, especially skin tones that have been damaged from UV rays from tanning beds. It’s important to seek treatment for BCC because if left untreated, then the damage will deepen to each layer of the skin and even bones. SCC is similar however as we age, SCC develops in any part of the body, so it does not necessarily have to be the area where the skin has been exposed to UV ray damage. Lastly, the deadliest of all cancers, Melanoma can quickly spread all over the body. Again, skin cancer does not discriminate, anyone can get it, though lighter skin has a higher chance of having skin cancer, dark skin is still at risk if we don’t take the necessary precautions. Learn to identify signs of skin cancer, SELF has provided some signs of BCC and SCC:
Signs of Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC)
- A red scaly patch: A red, itchy spot of skin that doesn’t resolve in a few weeks with moisturization is most likely SCC. These might itch, but oftentimes do not, and can be easily confused for eczema.
- A bump that won’t stop bleeding: This can look like a little bump or pimple that begins to ulcerate. A sore that continually bleeds, heals, and splits open again, is a common sign of BCC but could also be SCC.
- A shiny bump: This nodule is usually pink, red, or white, but can also be tan, black, or brown and look like a regular mole.
- A pink growth: T he border will likely be slightly elevated and the center indented and maybe even crusty.
- A scar-like spot: This can be a sign of an aggressive form of BCC, so if you notice a white or yellow scar-like spot that appears shiny, see your derm ASAP.
You can also follow the ABCDE guide for Melanoma, which helps identify signs of Melanoma. You don’t necessarily have to have all of these signs, but if you do have one, then it’s recommended to consult with a doctor.
Causes of Skin Cancer
- Ultraviolet radiation found in sunlight and lights used in devices such as tanning beds
- Being exposed to toxic substances
- Conditions that weaken your immune system
We should all have a basic idea that skin cancer is caused because we hardly ever apply sunblock, but what about those who like to tan? Although some people like to have “bronzed” skin during summer, tanning can be dangerous, to the extent that too much tanning leads to skin cancer because of UV rays. Now one can argue that tanning in a bed is just as safe as tanning out in the daylight, but did you know that there is more than one type of UV ray that we’re exposed to?
What are UVA and UVB rays?
UVB rays: age skin cells and can damage their DNA. These rays are linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles, but they are also thought to play a role in some skin cancers. Most tanning beds give off large amounts of UVB, which has been found to increase skin cancer risk.
UVA rays: have slightly more energy than UVB rays. They can damage skin cells’ DNA directly, and are the main rays that cause sunburns. They are also thought to cause most skin cancers.
The strength of the UV rays reaching the ground depends on a number of factors, such as:
- Time of day: UV rays are strongest between 10 am and 4 pm.
- Season of the year: UV rays are stronger during spring and summer months. This is less of a factor near the equator.
- Distance from the equator (latitude): UV exposure goes down as you get further from the equator.
- Altitude: More UV rays reach the ground at higher elevations.
- Cloud cover: The effect of clouds can vary. Sometimes cloud coverage blocks some UV from the sun and lowers UV exposure, while some types of clouds can reflect UV and can increase UV exposure. What is important to know is that UV rays can get through, even on a cloudy day.
- Reflection off surfaces: UV rays can bounce off surfaces like water, sand, snow, pavement, or grass, leading to an increase in UV exposure.
Preventing Skin Cancer
Skin cancer can be easily prevented if we learn to take time to take care of our skin. Apart from wearing sunblock every day, if possible, try to cover up using a hat or an umbrella. Although covering up with long sleeves would be the best option, it’s not the best advice for 102 degree weather, so try to stay cool and fresh and drink lots and lots of water. You can also eat foods that can boost your immune system, so by eating the right nutrients, your skin is ready to defend your body from sun exposure and hyperpigmentation of the skin. Bustle recommends:
Orange, yellowish foods such as melon, mangos, carrots
Fruits high in vitamin c
Foods high omega
Just as smoking can lead to lung cancer, too much sun leads to skin cancer. With just one session in the tanning booth, you could potentially be harming your skin, so although you wish to go “bronze” for the summer, remember that your skin is your guard from letting bacteria into your body; without healthy skin what else is there to protect you? Whether you tan in a booth or out on the beach, tanning is dangerous—the reason your skin gets tanned is because it’s a form of protection from the overexposure of the sun, so next time you think about getting a tan ask yourself this: is a tan worth damaging my skin?
Moles have often been seen as an individual sign of beauty or originality. Just look at Marilyn Monroe’s famous mole that set her apart from others. Her look has even transformed and been imitated by others, such as Amy Winehouse, creating new looks such as the “modern mole” which replaces the iconic beauty mark with a piercing. POPSUGAR discusses more on the history of the mole and the unique look it brings out. You can also prevent sun damage and hyperpigmentation with some of our products, which you can check out here. Clear Essence SPF products reduce the possibility of developing new discolorations or moles caused by over exposure to the sun. Using these products daily also helps ensure an even skin tone and reduces the signs of
past damage. Apply sunscreen everyday, wear a hat, sunglasses, but what ever you do, help your skin fight against skin cancer. Your skin tone is beautiful just the way you are despite what may feel like an imperfection. As long as you keep your skin protected from developing skin cancer, you can let the real you shine through and be proud of any moles on your body!
When we identify ourselves through our body, we look at our skin type, skin tone, hair type etc. But we never really think about categorizing the spots we have on our bodies—moles, freckles, birthmarks, you name it. We always refer to those brown or black dots on our body as moles, but do we really […]