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9 Common Skin Problems and What They May Mean



9 Common Skin Problems and What They May Mean

Sometimes it can feel like your skin isn’t on your team. It erupts in a rash, your puffy eyes reveal how little you slept last night, and one day you look in the mirror and see sagging or wrinkles that you swore weren’t there yesterday.

Go to the store or online and you will be inundated with a huge range of beauty products, all promising. To get the “Where do I start?

1. Acne can mean your hormones are out of control

What caused your teenage acne may not be what’s behind your pimples now, and it’s important to know when choosing a treatment. In your teens, acne can be caused by excessive oil production, but as you age, it’s often hormonal, says Marisa K. Grassick, MD, a dermatologist in New York City and assistant professor of dermatology at Cornell New York. – Presbyterian Medical Center.

Hormonal acne in women often worsens with the menstrual cycle. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), acne breakouts seem to appear closer to the jaw and chin, unlike the acne that plagued you as a teen, which is often localized to the face and forehead. (1)

Hormonal acne often appears to be more inflammatory in nature (think deep and red), so treatment involves softening the skin, she says. Look for topical benzoyl peroxide that targets Cutibacterium acnes, the bacteria that causes acne, according to an article in the Dermatology Times. (2)


If you have sensitive skin, products containing sulfur or willow bark can also help cleanse the skin. Ultimately, your gynecologist and dermatologist can work closely together to regulate disruptive hormone cycles for clearer skin.

2. First signs of aging? Skin cell renewal can be slowed down

You need something that stimulates collagen and speeds up cell turnover, says Neil Sadick, MD, a dermatologist in New York and clinical professor of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College. “Retinoids are still the #1 collagen stimulator,” he says. (Most retinoids are prescription drugs, but weaker forms, called retinols, are available over the counter; ask your dermatologist what they recommend for you.)

You may also want to consider an alpha hydroxyl acid serum (AHA) for cell renewal (some people may not tolerate AHAs). Ideally, start with a product containing 5% AHA and work up to higher concentrations as long as it is tolerable. Alternate between a retinoid and an AHA in your nighttime routine, says Dr. sadick.

It also goes without saying that you need to be diligent with a good sunscreen to slow down premature aging. This includes daily use of broad spectrum SPF 30 (increase to SPF 45 or 50 for prolonged or heavy exposure and reapply every 2-4 hours), wearing a wide-brimmed hat in the sun, wearing a wraparound sunglasses and seek shade when possible, recommends AAD. (3)

3. Redness can be the result of damaged skin protection

“Rebuilding that foundation is the most important thing,” says Dr. Grassick. Use a mild, non-irritating facial cleanser and moisturizer to moisturize.


Also, look for products that contain niacin amide, an anti-inflammatory ingredient that can irritate sensitive skin, previous research suggests. (4)

To combat redness, you can also use cosmetics with a green tint, a color that neutralizes redness and can help even out skin, notes L’Oréal on its website. (5)

4.Bags under the eyes can be a sign of a diet or lifestyle problem

Go to the source of the problem. According to the Mayo Clinic, allergies, smoking and even eating too much salt can contribute to the formation of bags under the eyes. (6)

But sleep deprivation is a big culprit behind that aspect, and if it happens frequently, you may need to work on your sleep hygiene habits or close your eyes. The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. (7)

Apart from that, there are a number of remedies that can clear up these pockets. The Mayo Clinic notes that medications and surgical options are available to you, so check with your skin to see if these methods are right for you. (6) For a faster fix, take eye creams with a metal-tipped applicator, suggests Dr.


5. Dry or cracked skin means your skin is probably thirsty

According to a review published in Mechanisms of Aging and Development, the skin begins to lose some of its moisture with age. (8) To make matters worse, dry skin is more likely to show signs of aging, such as lines and wrinkles.

However, think about your habit of reaching for the thickest moisturizer that can clog pores and cause acne. So while it may seem counterintuitive, you should opt for a light moisturizer that’s more liquid, says Dr. Sad.

6. Redness, flushing, and visible blood vessels are all signs of rosacea

Check out this common skin condition. According to the National Rosacea Society, chronic rosacea affects 16 million Americans, and treatment involves more than just slapping creams on your face. The sooner you can treat rosacea, the better. (9)

If you suspect you have it – your cheeks, nose, chin or forehead are constantly red or you see small blood vessels – see a dermatologist. Treatment includes lifestyle changes to avoid triggers, such as reducing stress and limiting sun exposure, choosing fragrance-free skin products, and generally minimizing your skin care routine. Research treatments such as IPL (intense pulsed light therapy) may also be helpful, according to the National Rosacea Society. (10.11)

7.Dark circles under the eyes may not have anything to do with lack of sleep

This isn’t a popular answer, but genetics plays a big part in dark circles, Garshick says, and it’s something you can’t control. However, you can help reduce discoloration with eye creams that contain brightening antioxidants like vitamin C and vitamin E, she says.


If dark circles appear bluish-gray, blood vessels may be visible through the thin skin under the eyes. If so, a caffeinated product may “help blood vessels collapse to reduce darkness,” says Dr. Garshick.

8. Dark spots indicate skin damage from previous sun damage

First, keep up with your sunscreen routine, as sun damage is the main culprit in age-related discoloration, notes the AAD. (12) After that, hydroquinone (HQ) remains the gold standard for hyperpigmentation problems, says Dr. Asdic, because it inhibits tyrosinase, the enzyme that produces pigments called melanin. He recommends using a product that contains both HQ and AHA.

Just know that HQ is a controversial ingredient and some people choose to avoid it for safety reasons or potential irritation. (Researchers say there isn’t enough evidence for this, but the choice is yours.) (13) Alternatively, look for ingredients that include licorice extract, azelaic acid, niacinamide, or arbutin, which are known for their lightening properties.

9.Hanging skin? You guessed it: your face needs a collagen boost

If you’re not ready for a facelift (and you may never be), topical creams can only do so much. But you may benefit more from your dermatologist’s noninvasive treatment options, such as ultrasound skin-tightening devices approved by the US Food and Drug Administration, notes the Cleveland Clinic. (14)

“These stimulate the formation of new collagen to reduce breakdown,” says Dr. Garshick. The result: an elevated appearance, less pain and no post-operative recovery time.

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