Are Your Skinny Jeans Giving You a Rash?

If your legs are red, bumpy, and irritated, don’t blame your soap or body lotion. It may be your skinny jeans. Those popular body-huggers may look hot, but they could be causing some very uncool things on your skin.

When you move in your skinny jeans, the material causes friction on your skin, which over time, can lead to folliculitis, inflammation of the hair follicles. If you have red, itchy bumps or pimples, especially on your thighs where skinny jeans tend to be tightest, then stop wearing them for a few days to let your skin heal. To treat folliculitis, you can apply warm compresses to the affected area for a few minutes twice a day. Sometimes over-the-counter topical antibiotics such as bacitracin can help. If the condition worsens, spreads, or doesn’t resolve after a week, then contact your doctor.

Before wearing your skinny jeans again, be sure to moisturize your skin well which makes it less prone to irritation from fabrics.

If all else fails, go shopping. According to fashionistas, spring 2012 is all about wide-leg jeans.

Photo credit, FCC Oo_Dee_oO

Does Eating Pizza Cause Acne?

Does Pizza Cause Acne?

School is just around the corner and this has been a popular question in my office this week. My mother always said it did, but does eating pizza really cause acne?

Yes, it does.

Eating simple carbohydrates such as white bread, bagels, and pizza can worsen acne. Simple carbohydrates are high-glycemic foods — they cause spikes in your blood sugar because the food is quickly digested then dumped into your blood stream. The resulting high blood sugar causes hormonal changes and inflammation that then triggers acne.

To tame your acne this school-year, change to a low-glycemic diet. Eat complex carbohydrates that are digested slowly avoiding sugar spikes and hormone changes. Here are three tips for an acne-busting diet:

  • Cut out high-glycemic foods such as blended coffee drinks, soft drinks, energy drinks, pasta, pastries, baguettes, watermelon, mangoes and potatoes.
  • Choose high fiber veggies such as asparagus, artichokes, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, leafy greens, lettuce, spinach, tomatoes and legumes such as black beans, chick peas, pinto beans, lentils and soy beans.  Eat low-glycemic fruits such as apples, berries, grapefruit, pears, plums and oranges.
  • Avoid processed flours. Instead eat 100% whole grains such as oats, barley, brown rice, millet, quinoa, wild rice, whole wheat pasta and bulgur.
Follow these tips and you be looking (and feeling) much better for your first co-ed dance this year.
Photo: tomek.pl, flickr

Eczema and Asthma Link

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Eczema or atopic dermatitis is a common skin disorder seen mostly in children. It is characterized by a red, scaly, itchy rash that can occur on the face, neck, arms, legs, and sometimes the trunk.

We have known for some time now that eczema, also called atopic dermatitis, is also associated with asthma and allergic rhinitis (hay fever). At least 50% of children with severe eczema also develop asthma. Research from the Washington University School of Medicine might shed light on why these diseases go together.

The research, published in the journal PLoS, found that in mice, eczema-damaged skin produced a substance called thymic stromal lymphopoietin (TSLP). TSLP is a signal to the body that the skin has been damaged. When TSLP circulates through the blood, it elicits a powerful immune response. As such, TSLP is your skin’s way of warning you that its protective barrier has been breached and that backup defenses are needed to keep you protected.

Similar to your skin, your lungs are in direct contact with your environment as well, although we don’t often think of it that way. Like skin, lungs are exposed to the air with all its potential pathogens such as bacteria and viruses. It is not hard to see how an inflammatory disease that affects the skin might also affect the lungs. This is exactly what researchers found — when TSLP from the damaged skin traveled in the bloodstream to the mice’s lungs, it triggered inflammation in the lungs (similar to an asthma attack in humans). The researchers believe that TSLP is the link between eczema and asthma.

Ideally, if a drug was developed that blocked the production of TSLP, this might be a way to prevent people with eczema from developing asthma later in life. It also suggests that minimizing damage to the skin can help limit production of TSLP and improve both eczema and asthma.

Photo: Penreyes (flickr)

Five Things You Should Know About Facial Redness

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Despite its association with passion, love, and vibrancy the color red is not what most people want to see on their faces when they look in the mirror. Redness on your face develops from inflammation and from dilated tiny blood vessels right at the surface of your skin. Sometimes the redness can be sudden, whereas other times it can develop slowly over many years. Here are five things your should know about facial redness and what to do about it. Continue reading “Five Things You Should Know About Facial Redness”

Stress Can Give You A Rash

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Are you under a lot of stress lately? Do you have a rash? The two might be related. I commonly get asked by patients in my clinic “Is my rash because of stress?” The answer is, it might be. Continue reading “Stress Can Give You A Rash”