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The skin is the largest organ in the body and is one of the five sense organs, helping us with ‘touch.’ The first outer layer is called the epidermis and the underlying layer is called the dermis. The skin has a protein known as keratin, which protects it from various external toxins and infections.
In some people, due to unknown reasons, there could be pile up of this protein in the deeper layers, producing small bumps, which feel like sandpaper. Literally, the term keratosis pilaris (KP) refers to piling up of keratin pigment. It can block the hair follicle that would normally open into the skin. When there are multiple blocks in the same area, there could be a sandpaper-like rough feeling to the touch. This gives this condition other names including goosebumps, chicken skin or chicken bumps. Though it is a cosmetic issue, it is medically a benign and very common condition.
KP, as it is popularly known as, is believed to be a genetic disorder with faulty genes leading to excessive accumulation of keratin. These appear as red, small bumps that are usually seen on the hands, arms, thighs, buttocks, and rarely on the face. The surrounding skin may be inflamed if there is a buildup of skin under the pile of keratin.
The onset of KP is usually in the first decade of life, worsens during puberty, and reduces during adulthood. There are, however, instances where the onset happens during adulthood. Twins and people with atopic dermatitis are more likely to have KP.
KP is more common in people with dry skin as oily skin seems to offer some protection.
There are also studies that give it a correlation with weather, with winter seeing more of this condition than summer. This is because our skin tends to dry more in winter than in summer. There could be some people who are completely normal during the summer months but will develop these bumps during the winter, which again subsides with the season.
Signs and Symptoms
As noted above, KP is a medically benign condition. There is a cosmetic concern if it is in the visible areas like arms and hands. Also, the area could feel rough and dry, but the affected person may not experience any itching or other harm. People with atopic dermatitis and eczema are more likely to develop KP; hence these other skin conditions require proper management.
Patient education is the most important. This disease does not require any treatment and is usually self-limiting. It is very rare for KP to affect the whole body. Creams containing alpha hydroxy acid, salicylic acid, lactic acid, or vitamin A may be required to remove dead skin cells and to prevent clogged follicles from the bodies of the affected people.
Acne is a skin condition that happens when pores get clogged with dead skin cells and oil, giving rise to pimples. It can be caused by numerous reasons like hormonal changes, improper diet, stress, consumption of specific drugs, excessive use of cosmetic products etc. In addition to these factors, acne can be caused by dandruff too, which may not be known to most of you. It has been observed that people who suffer from dandruff problems are more prone to getting pimples.
How does dandruff cause acne?
Dandruff has been associated with presence of yeast or fungi, it is also associated with abnormal skin ultrastructure. Dandruff makes the skin on your scalp flaky. These dry flakes of skin are often responsible for clogging the pores on your face, mostly affecting your forehead. In this way, dandruff triggers appearance of acne and can worsen the condition of your skin if you already have pimples. Though acne is more common among teenagers, acne due to dandruff is mostly experienced by people above the age of 20.
How can you prevent acne due to dandruff?
Eradicating dandruff from your scalp is the best way to prevent acne breakouts on your skin due to dandruff. Here are some simple ways to keep acne due to dandruff away from your skin.
1. Ensure that your hair stays off your face: Keeping hair off your face will ensure that dandruff doesn't come in contact with your skin and clog pores, preventing pimples. For this, you can use hair bands or tie your hair in a ponytail or braid.
2. Brush your hair at least twice a day: Brushing your hair at least two times a day will ensure that the dead cells on your scalp are removed and don't get a chance to clog pores. This option is highly beneficial in getting rid of acne caused by dandruff.
3. Use medicated anti-dandruff shampoo: Topical medicated solutions like a medicated shampoo should be used as a treatment. Short contact period of shampoo with scalp is important for more benefit. Good conditioner should also be used after head wash with shampoo. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist.
Skin is the body's most extensive organ, but a few people know how to take care of their skin properly. Between media hype and amateur beauty tips, it is hard to differentiate between myths and reality. For example, should you splurge on an expensive moisturizer or not? Here's the truth behind three common beauty myths.
- You need sunscreen only when you're outdoors on a sunny day: Sunscreen should be applied everyday whether you're indoors or outdoors. It is a misconception that we are safe from the sun's UV rays when we're indoors. However, UV rays are of two types. While the UVB rays that causes sunburn are blocked by walls, we are still vulnerable to the UVA rays indoors. UVA rays are responsible for skin ageing and skin cancer. Similarly, on cloudy days, we are safe from UVB rays but still need protection from UVA rays. Ideally, your sunscreen should have a minimum SPF of 20-30. If you don't like applying makeup over sunscreen, pick makeup products that are enriched with SPF. You need to moisturize and tone your skin everyday.
- No two people have the same skin requirements: While it may work for a person with dry skin to moisturize their skin every day, this may be detrimental for someone with oily skin. If you have oily skin, look for a lotion instead of creams, but if your skin is dry, you definitely need a cream based moisturizer. Similarly, a toner is great for oily skin but can disturb the PH balance of dry skin. Also take a look at the climate before you moisturize your skin. Moisturizing your face regularly in a humid area can lead to breakouts, while using a toner in dry weather can make the skin rough.
- Makeup causes acne: Makeup aficionados can breathe a sigh of relief; wearing makeup for extended durations does not lead to acne. The way you use your makeup and the type of product you use are the villains here. Contrary to popular belief, foundation is designed not to be absorbed into skin pores but to form a layer over the skin. Using expired products is also one of the main causes of acne. The other reason makeup is thought to trigger acne is because, if you go to sleep with makeup on, you may wake up with a breakout. This is because not washing your face, clogs your skin pores with the day's grime and dirt. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a dermatologist and ask a free question.
As winter approaches, most people notice their skin turning dry and scaly. This can make fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable and can cause itchiness that may even be accompanied by bleeding. Dry skin is caused by a loss of moisture. Here are a few tips to help deal with dry skin.
Moisturize- To make up for the lack of moisture in the air, religiously apply moisturiser over your skin after having a shower. This helps hydrate the skin and keeps the moisture in your skin from escaping.
Right Moisturiser- In most cases, creams work better than lotions when dealing with dry skin. Creams that contain natural oils such as olive oil or jojoba oil work well to deep moisturise dry skin. Other ingredients your skin cream should contain are lactic acid, urea, lanolin, petrolatum, hyaluronic acid etc.
Shower Wisely- Limit your showers to a maximum of 10 minutes and try to use warm water instead of hot water. Though standing under a hot shower may feel good at the moment, it rids the skin of its natural oils and hence dries the skin.
Use Gentle Soaps- A cream-based soap that is fragrance-free is great for dry skin. This soothes the skin and moisturises as it cleanses.
Protect Your Skin- Limit your skin’s exposure to natural elements in the winter. If you must step out, clad yourself well and be sure to put on a pair of gloves and socks. Limit tasks that need you to wet your hands.
Shave Smartly- Shaving not only removes unwanted hair but can also irritate the skin. The ideal time to shave is after a shower as this is when your hair is most pliable. Also, always use a sharp, clean blade and shaving cream or gel to protect your skin.
Get a Humidifier- A humidifier can help regulate humidity levels within your house. However, excessive humidity is not good either as it can also adversely affect your skin.
Apply Coconut Oil- Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that make up for the loss of moisture in the skin. The ideal time to apply coconut oil on the dry skin is before going to bed or after having a bath.
Be careful about laundry detergents- The soap being used to wash your clothes may not always be completely washed off. This can irritate sensitive skin and cause itchiness and flaking. When choosing laundry detergents pick one that is hypoallergenic.
- Wear fabrics that love your skin- Avoid synthetic fabrics that stick to the skin and instead, pick gentle fabrics like cotton or silk that allow the skin to breathe.