The Impact of Acne on Your Child’s Self-Esteem

From hormones causing overwhelming emotions to major changes in the physical body, adolescents face a unique range of personal daily challenges that can feel pretty tough to overcome. Among the most common and difficult of those challenges is the acne many kids have to deal with during this time.

Acne is difficult for anyone to deal with, but the emotional toll it takes on kids is especially tough.

Adolescents have a tendency to pick apart both their own appearance and the appearances of their peers. And with social media being the massive influence that it is, teens and pre-teens are constantly facing airbrushed, filtered, and otherwise heavily-edited photos of people they believe they should look like. These impossible beauty ideals can make looking in the mirror with a face full of acne that much more difficult.

Unfortunately, the struggle with adolescent acne is a lot more than simply difficult; acne can cause significant damage to your child’s mental health and well-being.

A research review of 16 studies examining the relationship between acne and psychological states found that, overall, adolescent acne significantly increases your child’s risk of developing low self-esteem and psychological disorders. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology indicated that depression is two to three times more common in people who have acne versus those with clear skin.

Why Acne is So Difficult for Adolescents

There are a number of reasons that acne can take such a significant toll on a child’s mental health and self-esteem. One likely reason is that children at this age don’t yet have the reins on their emotions; the combination of hormonal changes and a lack of extensive life experience can make many adolescents feel like they’re somehow to blame for their acne, leading to deep shame and embarrassment.

Additionally, there’s no time in life that we’re more closely scrutinized and criticized for our appearance than during our teens. Children at this age can be incredibly cruel to one another and quick to point out what they see as flaws in another child’s appearance.

Moreover, as mentioned, social media can exacerbate this problem by not only presenting impossible standards for what society considers attractive but also providing a platform for teens to pick each other apart.

All of that being said, adolescent acne is no small problem. But the good news is that there’s a lot you can do as a parent to treat and prevent acne for your child.

How to Combat Your Child’s Acne

Use a Proper Cleansing Solution

Using the right cleansing solution is far and away your best line of defense against your child’s acne. Unfortunately, there are a lot of products marketed for acne that are either ineffective or will severely dry out or damage the skin. What you want is a gentle cleanser that’s anti-microbial (AKA combats acne-causing bacteria), anti-inflammatory, and won’t disrupt the delicate barrier of the skin.

Apply a Soothing Moisturizer

After cleansing, it’s a good idea to apply a lightweight moisturizer that will soothe and calm your child’s skin without clogging his/her pores. Look for ingredients such as niacinamide and ceramide, which provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and avoid anything that contains sensitizing ingredients like fragrance and parabens (AKA preservatives).

Make Sure Your Child Cleanses at the Right Time

In addition to using a proper cleanser and moisturizer, it’s also important to teach your child to cleanse at the right time. If your child engages in any sports or activities that make them sweat, be sure that he or she washes their face within one hour after playing. This timeframe is important because any longer than that and it becomes much more difficult to slough off acne-causing bacteria. Otherwise, advise your child to cleanse twice daily, morning and night.

Start Treatment at the First Signs of Acne

Don’t wait until your child’s acne gets out of control to begin treating it. It’s best to start a regular cleansing routine at the very first signs as this will go a long way to keeping it under control and preventing mental, emotional, and social problems.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this website are not intended to substitute diagnosis and/or treatment by a medical professional. These products have been clinically tested and proven to be safe for intended use. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a specific medical condition.

The Culprit Behind Most Skin Infections and What to Do About It

From eczema to acne to folliculitis (aka razor bumps) your skin is susceptible to a wide range of problems related to bacteria; leading to less serious medical problems like acne or serious infections requiring medical intervention.

If you think you’re not at risk for any of these skin problems, think again. Millions in the United States alone have suffered a type of skin infection, and when you learn the culprit behind most of them, you’ll understand why infections are so common.

The truth is, skin infections can happen pretty easily and rapidly. Your skin contains a community of different types of bacteria called microbes. Some of these microbes keep your body healthy (by producing healthy vitamins or repelling dangerous microbes) while others can cause serious problems. Generally, your skin does a good job of protecting you from the harmful ones, but if your skin is “compromised” or impaired in any way with some type of abrasion, tear or medical issue like eczema, then these microbes can cause a nasty infection.

Common Activities That Can Cause Infection

Skin abrasions don’t need to be deep or severe to cause infections; just the friction from tight clothes can compromise the skin enough for those pesky microbes to come in and cause problems.

People who workout regularly are particularly susceptible to infection for a few reasons. Those whose skin is under more duress (like wrestlers, martial arts, football, hockey etc.) are the most susceptible. For one, a hot and sweaty body provides a moist environment for these microbes to thrive and transfer to additional people. Moreover, the warm and humid environment of a gym or locker room allows these microbes to survive and are easily transmitted from person to person. Additionally, the tight-fitting clothes commonly worn for workout activities can create friction that compromises the skin in ways you might not even notice but are just enough to let in harmful bacteria.

People who engage in contact sports are at a particularly high risk of acquiring skin infections because abrasions happen more easily and infections can spread from skin-to-skin contact. In fact, according to a study at Vanderbilt University, 62% of athletes were found to be colonized with the Staph aureus bacteria, while 29% of those in contact sports (such as wrestling and football) were colonized with MRSA (methicillin resistant staph aureus) bacteria, a virulent and often antibiotic-resistant bacteria.  Non-contact sport athletes were not immune; 23% of them became MRSA colonized during the study.  To put this perspective, only 5% of the general population, carry, or are colonized by MRSA. So, athletes are more prone to carry the nasty MRSA bacteria, especially in the summer months and therefore are highly susceptible to serious infections if their skin breaks down. The take home message is that athletes need to practice excellent hygiene and seek prompt medical attention for minor cuts and scrapes to avoid a serious infection. These cuts and scrapes need to be handled with good aseptic technique (proper cleansing, caregivers wearing gloves and covering the scrapes with sterile dressing and bandages).

How to Protect Yourself

It can be unsettling to learn just how easy it is to contract these infections, but the good news is, protecting yourself from them is fairly easy as well.

Use a Good Cleanser

There’s no better way to protect yourself from these infections than with an effective cleansing solution. When it comes to cleaning off infection-causing bacteria, though, not all cleansers are created equal. For best results, you need a cleanser that is tough on microbes but easy on the skin as well as free of irritants, fragrances and parabens.

Shower Within One Hour of Exercise

To really minimize your risk of infection, you should try to cleanse before and after any activity that’s likely to make you sweat, but if you only have time for one, be sure you never miss your post-activity shower. Showering reduces risk of infection by 70% and is much better than relying on wipes and sprays. It’s important that this shower happens within one hour of the activity because if you wait any longer, it becomes much harder to slough off harmful bacteria. The longer bacteria are allowed to linger on the skin, the more adherent (they feel right at home) they become. They even form something called biofilm, essentially a layer of slime, that allows the bacteria to grow, multiply and spread. You can read more about biofilm here .

Wear Loose Clothes and/or Breathable Fabrics

The best way to protect yourself from compromised skin due to tight clothing is, of course, to not wear it. But if tight clothes are unavoidable, then you want to be sure you’re wearing breathable fabrics that easily wick away moisture and sweat, and are less likely to cling to your skin.

Tie Your Hair Back

Not only does wet, sweaty hair provide a nice environment for bacteria to thrive and spread, but it can also cling to your skin and cause small abrasions that allow the bacteria in. Therefore, take care to tie your hair back during rigorous activity and try not to touch it so that you don’t further spread the bacteria that might be in there.

Other tips

Avoid sharing towels or shaving blades

Get out of wet clothes and allow your skin to dry

Carry your own body cleanser bottle

Turn a fan on in your shower so it dries completely after showering – microbes do not like dry environments

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this website are not intended to substitute diagnosis and/or treatment by a medical professional. These products have been clinically tested and proven to be safe for intended use. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a specific medical condition.

How to Protect Your Skin After a Workout

It’s no secret that regular workouts are critical to good mental and physical health, but if you’re not taking proper measures to protect your skin post-workout, then your workouts could actually be compromising your health.

Common Exercise-Induced Skin Infections

Many of you are probably already aware that breaking a sweat can exacerbate acne, and that’s often enough for folks to step up their skincare game. But beyond acne, regular exercise can also cause a wide range of skin infections that significantly impact your health and comfort.

Included among those infections are:

MRSA Skin Infections

MRSA, which stands for Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is a type of staph that can cause a serious skin infection. MRSA skin infections are notoriously difficult to treat because this bacteria can be resistant to a number of common antibiotics. Symptoms of MRSA skin infections include redness, irritation and painful skin ulceration, and skin that’s warm to the touch. Fever and spread of the infection are signs that the infection is worsening and immediate medical attention is needed. Furthermore, the infection can lead to abscess formation  that requires surgical draining.

Because MRSA is easily spread via abrasions and skin-to-skin contact, athletes are at a particularly high risk of contracting the infection. In fact, according to research at Vanderbilt University, 29% of contact sport athletes carry MRSA and 23% of non-contact sport athletes carry it.

Folliculitis

Have you ever had razor bumps? Then you’re already familiar with folliculitis. Put simply, folliculitis is an infection of your hair follicles that commonly results from bacteria entering the skin via any number of skin abrasions. That said, any activity that increases friction on your skin, such as a workout, makes you much more susceptible to this infection.

Eczema

Eczema is a type of skin inflammation that can occur on any part of the body and typically results in red, dry, and highly uncomfortable and itchy skin. While this is a chronic condition for some, various lifestyle measures can be taken to minimize its symptoms, such as reducing daily stress levels and proper skin hygiene.  Eczema sufferers are particularly prone to Staph skin infections and actually eczema symptoms are worsened by Staph bacteria.  Therefore, proper cleansing and precautions are a must during daily life and after a workout.

Acne, MRSA, folliculitis, and eczema aren’t the only skin infections that can arise from exercise but they’re among the most prevalent.

Of course, this begs the question: What do you do about it?

How to Protect Your Skin After a Workout

The good news is, you don’t have to stop working out to combat these exercise-induced infections; you just have to take a few simple measures that’ll significantly reduce your risks.

Cleanse Within One Hour

The number one way to protect your skin after a workout is through proper cleansing. That means cleansing with a high-quality skin cleanser within one hour after your workout. This hour timeframe is important because it’s within this window that bacteria is easily sloughed off; wait any longer and the bacteria bind too strongly to your skin to be easily removed.

Wear Proper Attire

If you can, avoid tight-fitting clothes during your workout as they increase the amount of friction on your skin, thereby increasing your risk of acquiring small abrasions that let in bacteria. If your workout requires tight clothes, then be sure to opt for breathable fabrics that wick away sweat to ensure your skin stays as comfortable and dry as possible.

Tie Your Hair Back

Wet, sweaty hair can rub against your skin while exercising, making it more prone to infections. To avoid this issue, simply tie it back. Additionally, you should also avoid touching your hair when you’re working out because you might transfer bacteria from your sweaty hair to your skin.

More Good Habits

Since microbes are all around us and more so during exercise, we need to be diligent and follow some basic practices:

Allow skin to dry after exercise

Remove wet clothing

Allow feet to dry; wear flip flops to allow feet to dry

Do not share towels or razors

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this website are not intended to substitute diagnosis and/or treatment by a medical professional. These products have been clinically tested and proven to be safe for intended use. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a specific medical condition.

How to Prevent Back and Body Acne this Summer

Summer back and Body Acne

The days are longer, the weather’s warmer, and summer vacations are upon us, which means swimsuit season has officially arrived. And while there’s a lot to love about this season, there are also back and body acne problems that arise for many during this time, which happen to be on full display in your bathing suit.

The good news is, there are a number of simple things you can do to get a handle on this unsightly problem so that you can strut in your suit with total confidence.

What Causes Back and Body Acne?

Different people get body acne for different reasons, so it’s helpful to understand the likely culprits behind it so you can hone in on the best prevention techniques for you. Generally speaking, acne results from a combination of clogged pores, excess oil, and bacteria, but there are a few lifestyle factors that can exacerbate it.

Sweat does not cause Acne directly

One of the reasons that back and body acne tends to get worse in the summer is due to an increase in sweating. To be clear, though, sweating doesn’t cause acne directly; it just makes it easier for acne to pop up. The beads of sweat on your skin provide the perfect environment for acne-causing bacteria, dirt, and oil to stick to it and ultimately lead to breakouts.

Clothing

What you wear is another factor that can have a significant impact on body acne. Friction from tight clothing can cause often-imperceptible breaks in your skin that bacteria can then enter and lead to a breakout. Furthermore, the type of fabric can also contribute to breakouts, with less breathable fabrics making it easier to trap acne-causing bacteria on the skin.

Sweat + Clothing

Not only do sweat and clothing contribute to acne separately, but the combination of the two can lead to a specific kind of acne called acne mechanica. Friction from clothing paired with moisture from sweat causes this type of acne to arise. This is why a lot of athletes find they have breakouts where their clothes rub most against the skin, such as on the forehead from wearing a baseball cap.

How to Prevent Back and Body Acne

Now that you know the primary factors that lead to body acne, the following acne prevention techniques will probably make a lot of sense.

Use a Proper Cleansing Solution

In the world of acne prevention, not all cleansers are created equally. In fact, some can even make the problem worse. A proper body acne solution should be non-drying, free of irritating fragrance, be antimicrobial (AKA anti-acne-causing bacteria) and contain an acne-fighting ingredient such as salicylic acid.

Cleanse at the Right Time

The longer bacteria sits on your skin, the more closely it bonds with it, making it increasingly difficult to remove. That said, you should always cleanse within one hour of doing anything that makes you sweat. Wait any longer and it becomes harder to slough off that bacteria.

Exfoliate Regularly

Dead skin cells love to trap acne-causing bacteria on your skin, so exfoliating them off regularly is a great prevention technique for acne prone skin. However, rather than reach for your loofah and scrub away, which can irritate your skin, use a cleanser with a mild chemical exfoliant instead. Ideally, that exfoliant is salicylic acid as it will gently exfoliate at the same time it actively fights bacteria.

Avoid Tight Clothing

As mentioned, the friction from tight clothing often leads to acne so your best bet is to avoid it. But if tight clothing is unavoidable, take care to wear breathable fabrics, like cotton, that wick away sweat and bacteria rather than trap it on the skin.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this website are not intended to substitute diagnosis and/or treatment by a medical professional. These products have been clinically tested and proven to be safe for intended use. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a specific medical condition.

3 Steps to Prevent Razor Bumps and Folliculitis on Your Bikini Line

If you’ve ever worn a bikini, then chances are you’re familiar with the common annoyance of razor bumps (also known as ingrown hairs or folliculitis). Unfortunately, those pesky bumps are more than just unsightly; they can also increase your risk of harmful infections and lingering red skin bumps. That said, when preparing for bikini season, it’s in your best interests to know how to prevent and manage razor bumps to ensure you have a happy swim season.

What Exactly Are Razor Bumps (Folliculitis and Ingrown Hairs)?

Before we dive into how to prevent razor bumps, it helps to know a bit about what they are and where they come from.

The clinical name for razor bumps is folliculitis. In a nutshell, folliculitis is an inflammation and infection of your hair follicles. This condition can sprout up on any part of your body that has hair, but it’s most common to those areas that experience a lot of friction from rubbing, clothing, or your razor, so you’ll often see it on the face and scalp, as well as the thigh and groin area AKA your bikini line.

Folliculitis begins when your hair follicles are blocked or irritated by sweat, oils, and makeup, and, in the case of your bikini line, the combination of shaving and wearing tight bathing suits. Basically, if your hair follicles are compromised in any way, then bacteria, yeast, and fungus can make its way in and result in folliculitis.

1. Exfoliate Regularly

Regular exfoliation is a killer defense against razor bumps and ingrown hairs because it sloughs off dead skin cells and all of the infection-causing gunk that comes with them. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that using a loofah or dry brush isn’t your best exfoliation technique; in fact, doing so can even damage or irritate skin, especially sensitive skin types.

Rather than scrub away at your body, use a gentle chemical exfoliant instead (which is not nearly as scary as it sounds). A quality cleanser that contains salicylic acid (a common acne treatment) is a great exfoliant as it will slough off those dead skin cells without irritating the skin while also preventing future infections.

2. Cleanse Often

Speaking of cleansers, make sure you have a quality one as it’s one of your best lines of defense against folliculitis. Ideally, your cleanser should be gentle on skin and tough on microbes.  Take care to cleanse before and after shaving as well as within an hour of any rigorous physical activity.

3. Use Proper Shaving Techniques

The method and tools you use to shave can also play a big part in preventing folliculitis. For starters, start out with clean skin and a clean tools.  Also, do not dry shave; always use a non-drying, effective skin cleanser beforehand to prevent irritation. Moreover, shaving with a dull blade can irritate the skin further, so be sure to use a sharp one and never share razors with someone else.

Additionally, make sure to shave in the same direction that your hair grows, rather than against it.  Finally, applying a cool washcloth post-shave can help to sooth the skin and reduce irritation.

Disclaimer: The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The information, graphics, and images on this website are not intended to substitute diagnosis and/or treatment by a medical professional. These products have been clinically tested and proven to be safe for intended use. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a specific medical condition.