- Warts: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options
- Scalpel Acne: Everything You Need To Know
- Hair Thinning
- 7 Reasons Your Scalp Might Be Itchy So Itchy & Some Ways to Prevent
- Cracked Feet
- How Tear Gas Effects the Skin: Symptoms, and Treatments
- Combination Skin
- What to Know About Your Skin Barrier and How to Protect It
- Seborrheic Dermatitis
- Fungal Acne: Everything You Need To Know
- Cold Sores
- Oily Skin
- What Is Perioral Dermatitis? Causes & Treatments
- Back Acne
- Skin Boils: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
- Hives: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
- What Is PCOS & What Are Some Ways to Manage?
- Pseudofolliculitis Barbae: Everything You Need to Know
- Keratosis Pilaris: Everything You Need to Know
- What Is Ichthyosis? & and How Can I Treat My Skin?
- Hormonal Acne: What Is It, Treatment & Causes
- Eczema: What Is It? Symptoms and Different Types
- Acne Scars
- Dry Skin
- Read time 5 minutes
Warts: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment Options
Warts are very common, with over three million documented cases per year. However, regardless of how common they are, having a wart can leave you feeling self-conscious, especially when they’re difficult to cover up in areas like your hands.
But warts are easy to remove.
Interested in learning more? Read on to discover everything you need to know about warts.
What Exactly are Warts?
A wart, or verruca, is a small, fleshy bump on the skin or a mucous membrane caused by human papillomavirus (HPV). Many different types of warts can appear anywhere on the body — in particular, the genitals, feet, and hands.
With the exception of a type of wart that grows on the bottom of the feet, warts are pretty painless. They are contagious, however, and can spread pretty quickly from one area of the body to another, or from one person to another person through close contact, such as a hug, fist bump, or handshake.
So you’re saying anyone can get one?
Yup. Anyone can get warts, but some people are more prone to get them than others.
Also, warts are much more common in kids, in those who bite or pick at their nails or cuticles, and in individuals with a compromised immune system.
As we mentioned, warts are contagious because they are caused by a virus. You can get a wart by directly touching one or touching something that has come in contact with one. You're much more likely to get warts if you have a scrape or cut in your skin.
Excessive moisture can cause tiny breaks in your delicate skin barrier, so common areas to contract them occur in locker rooms, hot tubs, and pools.
Each person’s immune system responds a little differently to the virus—which explains why not everyone who contacts a wart actually develops one.
Symptoms of Warts
Common warts usually occur on the hands or feet and may be:
Small, fleshy, grainy bumps
Rough to the touch
Flesh-colored, pink, white, or tan
Sprinkled with black pinpoints -- which are just small, clotted blood vessels
Types of Warts
There are seven main types of warts:
Common warts are, well, common. Usually found on the knees, elbows, or hands, common wards are raised bumps with some appearing like a cauliflower.
These troublesome warts occur mostly on the soles of your feet.
They tend to grow deep, and they’re also often surrounded by a thick callus. Because they’re usually on the weight-bearing parts of the feet, plantar warts tend to be more painful than other types of warts.
The surface of these tiny growths -- also called plane warts -- is flat or rounded and smooth.
They appear in clusters of a few dozen to a hundred. They’re more common on light-exposed areas of the face and back of the hands.
Flat warts often appear in the beard area for some folks, while others tend to get them on their legs. These are both problematic areas if you shave, since it can inadvertently create an entire trail of warts, typically in the direction you shave.
Mosaic warts are a cluster of smaller warts that are grouped together and are often found on the soles and palms.
These warts grow super fast and look thread-like and spiky.
Filiform warts can be more problematic than others since they tend to grow on the face around your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Rough and irregularly-shaped, these tiny warts develop around toenails and fingernails. They may extend beneath the nail, which can cause pain and ultimately disrupt normal nail growth.
There are more than 150 strains of HPV. Two strains in particular -- types 6 and 11 -- cause around 90 percent of genital warts in the U.S.
You can find these benign warts in the cervix, around the vulva, in the vagina, and in the anus. They can also appear in the throat and mouth if they are spread through skin-to-skin contact.
Some strains of HPV can cause cancer, which is why getting any bumps down south checked out is of the utmost importance. Take care of yourself, always.
How to Treat Warts
While there is no current cure for HPV (and therefore no way to completely “cure” your wart), treating warts is relatively simple in most cases.
For common warts on the feet and hands, the typical treatment is liquid nitrogen cryotherapy. This is when a doctor sprays liquid nitrogen directly on the wart. The process freezes the wart to 192 degrees below zero, which stings as the top of the wart dies before crusting up and finally falling off.
It’s a two-pronged approach.
Not only is the doctor attacking the wart from the outside, but the freezing is designed to cause inflammation, triggering your body to attack the wart from the inside out.
Other methods your doc might use include: burning the wart off with an electrical current or laser therapy, which simply zaps the wart and surrounding cells.
Topical treatments are also useful wart wranglers. These are typically super-strength salicylic acid treatments, which you can get OTC or via prescription from your doc. These effective treatments take the same approach as freezing-- they both try to kill the wart and stir up local immunity.
For genital warts, it is best to make an appointment with your gynecologist. They can prescribe a treatment and make sure you’re taking the proper steps to screen for HPV-related cancer.
There is some debate among doctors about whether warts technically need to be treated at all. Why? Well, many HPV infections go away on their own over time, but since warts are super contagious, not treating them means you could easily spread the infection to other people or other areas of your own body.
How to Prevent Warts
Though warts can’t exactly be prevented, there are several measures you can take to minimize your risk of acquiring one.
One of the most important things you can do is to thoroughly wash your hands -- and often! Also, try to keep your skin healthy, hydrated, and free of cuts. If you bite your nails, do your best to stop. Biting nails creates tiny openings for bacteria and viruses to enter your skin, which can quickly result in warts. Use clean towels at the gym or in other public locations, and always wear rubber-soled sandals or flip-flops in public showers and locker rooms.
Here are a few more tips to reduce the risk of catching or spreading warts:
Don’t touch other people’s warts.
Don’t share socks and shoes with other people.
Don’t scratch warts, as this can cause them to spread.
Cover warts with a waterproof covering when swimming.
Don’t brush, shave, comb, or clip hair in areas that have warts.
Keep hands as dry as possible.
Wants can be a lot. If you are bothered by them, it may be comforting to know that you are not alone, and better yet, that there are simple and effective ways to deal with them.
Do keep in mind, however, that they are contagious, and in rare cases, a more serious problem, such as skin cancer, may resemble a wart.
So even if you aren’t bothered when a wart appears, it can’t hurt to have a dermatologist take a quick peek and direct you on how to best deal with it. Taking care of your skin is essential.
That’s why we love using the skincare products from Topicals, an honest and reputable company that is much more than beauty and skincare. We’re a new standard — medicated botanicals.
Here at Topicals, we only use science-backed ingredients and herbals that work with your skin—not against it—to help you feel comfortable and confident. Whether you’re looking to hydrate parched skin or smooth a spotty complexion, we’ve got your back!
- Read time 5 minutes
Scalpel Acne: Everything You Need To Know
We’ve all heard about acne on the face, chest, and back, but there’s another area frequently prone to breakouts: your scalp.
Scalp acne can pop up around your hairline or underneath your hair itself, which can make brushing, combing, or styling painful. And trying to hide it with a hat will probably just irritate your hair even more.
Below, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about scalp acne, including the possible causes and what you can do to calm it down. Plus, we’ll also share how to keep the pimples from coming back. Let’s get into it.
What Exactly is Scalp Acne?
We all know what pimples look like, but now imagine those inflamed bumps around the hairline or even underneath your hair. Yep, that’s scalp acne.
All pimples, including the ones on your scalp, pop up due to clogged pores. When dead skin cells, oil, or hair care products block a pore or follicle on your head, it can get irritated and turn into a pimple.
The good news is scalp acne is pretty easy to identify. Like pimples anywhere on your body, they appear as raised bumps that may be tender. However, scalp pimples can sometimes be much more than just pimples — they can be an infection of the hair follicles called folliculitis.
We know an infection sounds intense, but it’s actually pretty chill. These are very common infections and are something most of us may experience at some point in our lives.
Symptoms of Folliculitis
These common infections kind of look like acne, but can become little pustules — tiny bumps that contain pus or fluid.
If you feel a bump on your scalp, or have soreness or itchiness, part your hair away and try to get a good look at the area. If it’s on the back of your head, ask a friend to help you take a look. What you’re looking for are tiny, acne-like bumps with a small ring of swelling around the hair follicle. They can sometimes also look like a white-headed pimple on the head, around the hair follicle.
Well, What Causes It?
According to a recent study, the most common cause of folliculitis is staphylococcus aureus, a type of bacteria found on the scalp. Not only has this bacteria been proven to cause dandruff, but it can also lead to infections when combined with oil on the scalp.
A buildup of excess oil and dead skin cells can end up clogging the hair follicle, which happens to be what staphylococcus bacteria thrive on. The oilier your scalp is, the more bacteria there will be. We’re sure this is amazing news to folks who have naturally oily scalps, or those who oil their scalps regularly.
Other causes of folliculitis can include fungal, viral, or yeast infections.
How to Treat Scalp Acne
Scalp acne isn’t just frustrating. When it's left untreated, the bumps can get bigger and turn into cysts -- which may need to be drained and even lead to scarring.
So, it’s definitely worth getting those pimples under control ASAP and doing everything you can to keep them from coming back.
Never pick at or squeeze the bumps, even though it can be tough to resist. Similarly, avoid brushing or combing around the area and take care not to apply too much pressure when shampooing. In short, take good care of your scalp.
Popping the zit could spread bacteria to neighboring follicles or pores, ultimately leading to more acne. It could also increase the risk for scarring.
If you do get a little bit of noticeable scarring around your hairline, we recommend Faded from Topicals. This powerful gel serum gently fades the look of your most stubborn scars, marks, and spots so that you can kick back and let your worries fade away.
For folliculitis, you can ease the swelling and redness by applying a warm compress for 15- 20 minutes three to four times a day. If your bumps don’t go away or calm down after a few days of TLC, consult with your doctor.
They might recommend a prescription-strength acne cream or oral medication to clear up the breakouts or a special medicated shampoo to keep them from coming back. Your dermatologist can also safely pop and drain large bumps that aren’t going away on their own. Either way, you’ll be good.
How to Prevent Scalp Acne
Now that you’ve zapped those zits, you might feel the need to do what you can to keep new ones from forming. Here are a few great tips to keep scalp acne at bay:
Tip #1: Try An Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Using a good anti-dandruff shampoo can do wonders to prevent scalp acne. This type of popular shampoo is typically formulated with active ingredients like salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, or pyrithione zinc.
Try using it once every other day or even daily according to the product directions to help tackle excess oil on the scalp -- which could be the culprit behind your scalp acne.
Tip #2: Take A Break From Oils
We know you absolutely love how your favorite serum makes your hair look, but you have to take into account whether it may be doing your scalp a disservice.
As we mentioned a little earlier, hair products can lead to a buildup of oils on your scalp, which in turn, could contribute to scalp breakouts. Experts at the American Academy of Dermatology recommend stopping the use of all products with oil or pomades, which can quickly clog pores. If your scalp is begging you to chill, you gotta listen.
Tip #3: Don’t Let Post-Workout Sweat Sit On Your Scalp
By now, we’re sure you understand that buildup on your scalp can lead to pimples. If you have an intense sweat sesh at the gym, don’t let all that sweat sit on your scalp. Instead, either wash your hair to cleanse your scalp as soon as you possibly can or apply a dry shampoo that helps absorb oil.
Tip #4: Remove Excess Buildup
Over time, hair-care and styling products can build up on your scalp -- nobody’s perfect. The trick is to remove that buildup before it becomes an issue.
Try gently exfoliating your scalp with your fingertips when you shower. Don’t scrub so hard that you pull out any hair, but use just enough pressure that you can get rid of excess oil and product buildup.
Tip #5: Review Your Diet
One review of diet and acne suggests that what you eat can significantly affect oil production, inflammation, and -- you guessed it -- acne.
For an anti-acne diet, try limiting carbohydrate-rich foods as well as your sugar intake. Reach for foods with:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin D
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Dietary fiber
If you notice an acne flare-up after eating a particular food, you may want to consider eliminating it from your diet. Keep a food journal to keep track of what you’re eating and when flare-ups occur.
Tip #6: Skip The Hat
Anything that rubs or constricts your skin is a potential trigger for acne.
Think about hats that fit snugly on your head -- and rub against your skin. Add sweat and a little bit of dirt to the equation, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for an acne breakout.
If you’re prone to scalp acne, do your best to avoid wearing anything on your head for long periods of time. So let’s keep the tight bucket hats and beanies to a minimum, okay?
Always be aware of what touches your skin -- including dirt, grime, and sweat -- that can clog those pores and trigger acne breakouts. Look for beauty products that are non-comedogenic, eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and minerals, use a good shampoo with oil-fighting ingredients, and avoid wearing constricting hats that can only irritate your scalp further. Paying attention to what you put on and near your skin can help you maintain that gorgeous face of yours.
Here at Topicals, we’re not in the business of changing skin, but instead, changing the way the world feels about skin.
You see, skin is fluid — just like we are. It’s not about being perfect, but understanding that you’ll have this skin for the rest of your life, and you should embrace it in all stages.
Whether you’re dealing with scalp acne or combating a spotty complexion, we’re here to remind you to settle into comfort, be confident, and always know you’re beautiful.
- Read time 3 minutes
If you have thinning hair, you’re not alone.
In fact, it’s perfectly normal to lose around 50 to 100 hairs every day. The amount of hair you have—as well as your hair type—is predetermined by your genetic makeup. Basically, everyone experiences some hair loss here and there since the rate of hair growth also slows a bit as you get older. It’s life—and we’re all in it together.
But on top of the natural progression of hair loss, several other factors can exacerbate thinning strands. Interested in learning more? Read on to discover everything you need to know about hair thinning.
How Exactly does Hair Grow?
The first thing to know about hair thinning is that it’s actually pretty complex. You see, your hair grows in three stages.
These stages include a growth phase from a root in the hair follicle, a transitional phase when the growth comes to a halt, and a resting phase, after which the hair falls out, and the follicle takes a little break before sprouting out another hair.
Like we said, it’s perfectly normal to lose between 50 and 100 strands of hair a day, which you might notice on your pillow in the morning, in the shower, or on your hairbrush.
You are born with roughly 100,000 follicles on your scalp, and you will never gain or lose any.
However, as you age, some follicles may stop producing hair. You may experience hair loss, also called anagen effluvium. How and when this actually happens is influenced by a bunch of different factors, including our genetics, vitamin deficiency, and the natural hormone changes we experience as we get older.
But you might also experience some hair shedding at certain points in your life, which is a separate process from hair loss.
What is Hair Shedding?
Hair shedding is more often caused by temporary changes in hormones, like stopping hormonal birth control, giving birth, or experiencing life stressors, like recovering from a serious illness.
Harsh hair products, nutritional deficiencies, and even certain hairstyles can also cause hair shedding. So, be sure to take good care of yourself.
If your hair happens to be shedding, that means it is falling out much more quickly than it should be because it is being shoved into the resting phase too early. But if you are experiencing hair loss, on the other hand, that means something is stopping the hair from actually growing in the first place. As many different factors can lead to hair loss, it is essential to figure out which one you are dealing with before attempting any treatment methods.
If you’re not exactly sure how many hairs you’re losing in a single day (totally understandable), you can test it with the 60-second hair count.
Simply, comb your hair forward from the back of your head to the front for a full 60 seconds. Collect and count the strands of hair that fell during the process -- you should see between ten and twenty strands (depending on your age).
If you see more than that, there’s a good chance you might be dealing with some excess hair loss. To get the most accurate idea of how many strands of hair you are losing, you might want to do this test a few days in a row.
Once you know exactly what you’re up against, there are some easy things you can do to help manage your thinning hair.
How to Care for Thinning Hair
Tip #1: Eat Hair-Healthy Foods
Believe it or not, your diet plays a major role in the strength and health of your hair. Who would’ve thought?
Fats, proteins, and certain vitamins and minerals are essential for hair health. In fact, many people tend to notice improvements in their hair when they increase the amount of certain foods in their diet.
Some of the best foods to eat that may boost hair growth include:
Eggs: These contain protein, which is essential for hair growth. Eggs also contain biotin -- a B vitamin that may boost hair growth.
Brazil nuts: These are a tasty source of selenium, a mineral that may improve hair health.
Fatty fish: This is an excellent source of omega-3, which may also improve hair growth.
Walnuts: These nuts also contain omega-3.
Tip #2: Massage Your Scalp
Massaging your scalp can help to restore hair growth and can be used in conjunction with hair oils and masks. This stimulates the scalp and may improve hair thickness.
Taking the time to massage your scalp each and every day can also help you relieve tension and stress. While you’re at it, show your facial skin some love with a hydrating face mask like Topicals’ Like Butter -- a thick, whipped mask packed with green tea extract, colloidal oatmeal, and Centella Asiatica (and other science-backed ingredients and herbals) to help moisturize and soothe the feeling of dry and dehydrated skin while fortifying your skin’s matrix in the process.
Go ahead, you deserve it.
Tip #3: Wash And Condition Your Hair Regularly
You most likely don’t need to wash your hair every single day.
In fact, many experts recommended washing only two or three times a week. Why? Because washing too often strips your hair of necessary oils, and infrequent washing can leave hair lifeless and dull -- especially if you overuse dry shampoo.
Quality moisturizing shampoos formulated without sulfates -- icky chemicals in shampoos that help clean but can also be extremely drying on dry or sensitive scalps -- are a safe bet for everyone.
Tip #4: Always Follow Shampoo With Conditioner
Using conditioners is important. It gives your hair shine and reduces static electricity, which is why it improves the feel and look of damaged or dull hair.
Apply a little of your favorite conditioner to the ends of your hair and work your way up. And remember -- a little goes a long way.
The more conditioner you use, the flatter your hair will be.
Remove tough tangles to prevent unnecessary hair loss with a wide-tooth comb and rinse your hair with cool water, which closes the cuticle, leaving the hair super shiny.
Tip #5: Ditch Hair Tools That Use High Heat
Heat is always hard on hair. Why? Because it causes bonds within the hair strands to fracture, causing brittle hair that breaks and ultimately falls out.
If you choose to use a curling iron or hair straightener, be sure not to leave it on one area of your hair for too long and try to move it every ten seconds or so. Also, keep in mind that if you burn your fingers or hear sizzling, the heat setting is a little too high, and you’re also burning your hair.
When you can, try to let your hair dry naturally and when you do use styling tools, make sure to use a good-quality heat-protecting spray that will lessen the damage the tools are inflicting on your hair.
Tip #6: Stick With Hairstyles That Don’t Put Extra Tension On Your Hair
One particular type of hair loss -- traction alopecia -- is caused by chronic stress on the hair follicle, often due to hairstyles that are a little too tight.
Thankfully, you can treat traction alopecia early on by adjusting your habits to keep the condition from worsening or becoming permanent. In particular, make sure you are not wearing hairstyles that pull on the scalp -- like sky-high, tight ponytails, dreads, or braids -- for extended periods of time.
While the process of hair thinning can be a bit concerning at first, it’s likely treatable.
According to the experts over at the American Academy of Dermatology, treatments for hair thinning can take six to nine months. But just like your hair, taking care of your skin is important.
From your head to your toes, your skin does a lot for you. Show it some love with skin-nourishing products. Made with science-backed ingredients and herbals, Topicals is more than beauty and more than skincare.
- Read time 3 minutes
7 Reasons Your Scalp Might Be Itchy So Itchy & Some Ways to Prevent
Of all the beauty concerns that we have on a regular basis, an itchy scalp (aka scalp pruritus) has to be one of the most standout ones.
You might feel that the itch will never stop, but relief is possible. First, it is essential to determine the cause of your itchy scalp and initiate an effective treatment right away.
Constant scratching and itching can be problematic for the delicate scalp microbiome, the specific ecosystem of bacteria which helps keep your scalp environment balanced.
When your scalp environment is clean, balanced, and free of debris, new hair growth can grow and thrive. However, certain medical conditions and lifestyle choices can prevent this from happening. Read on to discover more.
What Exactly Causes Itchy Scalp?
There are a handful of things that could be causing your scalp to itch. The first thing to keep in mind is that your scalp is an extension of your skin -- so many of the same skin concerns you deal with on your face and other body parts, like dry skin, can easily happen on the scalp as well. That being said, here are some of the most common causes of an itchy scalp:
OK, let’s just go ahead and get this one out of the way. Let’s say you’ve got school-age kids running around, and you find yourself asking, “Why does my scalp itch all of a sudden?” Seeing as it’s common among youngsters, there’s a good chance it could be lice.
Head lice are itty-bitty bugs that attach themselves to body hair and can be seen in the form of eggs -- aka nits -- along the hair shaft. Although the nits can sometimes be confused with dandruff, when you see adult lice moving around your scalp, it's unmistakable.
You can try physical methods to remove the lice, or you can use natural live shampoos as well as natural lice removers.
Scabies an cause itching not just on your scalp but also on your entire body.
Scabies on the scalp isn’t too common, though, and it usually affects those with compromised immune systems. Scabies is an infestation of the “human itch mite” (aka Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis).
The mites burrow down into the upper layer of the skin, where they live and deposit their eggs. They almost always get passed along by directed, prolonged, skin-to-skin contact with an individual who is already infested.
Scabies found in adults is commonly sexually acquired -- although it can spread without sexual contact in crowded conditions, including households, child-care facilities, nursing homes, and prisons.
Due to the name, many people assume that tinea capitis -- aka scalp ringworm -- is caused by a parasitic worm. However, it is a common fungal injection.
Ringworm can cause dry, scaly patches within the hair or a red ring-like appearance. Sometimes the infection can cause hair damage and result in patches of hair loss.
Ringworm is contagious and can quickly be passed from person to person through brushes, towels, and even the back of chairs. It usually needs to be treated with oral antifungal tablets.
Antifungal shampoos don’t typically work because the fungal infection spreads deep down into the hair follicles, where shampoos can’t reach.
So, let’s say you have ruled out head lice, scabies, and ringworm.
If you’re still asking, “why does my scalp itch?,” then dandruff could most likely be to blame. Or, more specifically, seborrheic dermatitis -- which is considered a severe form of dandruff that is caused by an overreaction the body has to yeast that lives on the skin.
Dandruff affects around 40 percent of people and tends to come and go throughout one’s lifetime. Stress, weather changes, and increased sugar in the diet can bring it out.
Some of the best over-the-counter remedies include products containing active ingredient salicylic acid and quality products containing antifungals such as selenium sulfide or ketoconazole.
If OTC remedies don’t seem to be working, it’s a good idea to see a dermatologist who can not only prescribe powerful steroidal anti-inflammatories but also determine if some other condition is causing or worsening your itchy scalp symptoms. So pull up on your dermatologist -- they’ll have your back.
Eczema or Psoriasis
An itchy scalp can also be caused by an inflammatory skin condition such as psoriasis and eczema (a.k.a. atopic dermatitis). These conditions tend to arise when your immune system gets “angry” at your skin, leading to red, flaky, itchy patches.
For both psoriasis and eczema on the scalp, salicylic acid and coal tar-based shampoos are recommended.
For irritated skin on the rest of your body, we recommended Like Butter from Topicals -- a thick, whipped mask packed with science-backed botanicals for skin so smooth, it’s like butter. This powerful mask will help restore dry, flaky skin while fortifying your skin’s damaged moisture barrier -- precisely what you need to keep skin flares at bay.
Did you recently dye your hair? Your constant need to itch may be due to an allergic reaction -- even if you have used the product before. It can start with a low-grade reaction and a little bit of itchiness.
You may not think anything of it, but with each subsequent use, you may experience more flakiness, redness, and swelling. It can cause inflammation and swelling of the scalp, and some people can even experience an anaphylactic reaction.
The most common allergen is paraphenylenediamine (PPD), which is used in black and brown hair dye. FYI: It can also be found in henna.
Your itchy scalp may be nothing more than a sunburn.
If you’ve been outside all day and forgot to wear a hat, think sunburn first, and get some instant relief with a cool shower and some OTC hydrocortisone cream. Your body will thank you.
How to Prevent Itchy Scalp
Reduce your chances for an itchy scalp by washing your hair regularly to remove built-up oils and debris.
Wash your hair in warm -- but not excessively hot -- water to avoid irritating and drying out the scalp. If you have an inflammatory skin condition, pay attention to what triggers your skin -- like diet or stress -- to prevent scalp itchiness from even occurring in the first place.
Tip #1: Avoid physical contact with people with head lice, scabies, and ringworm.
This includes refraining from sharing:
Tip #2: Check the ingredients in your hair products.
To reduce any allergic reactions, try to avoid using certain products that contain:
Tip #3: Protect your head from the sun.
If you’re going outside, do your best to protect your head to avoid an itchy sunburn.
There are plenty of sunscreen products specially formulated for the hair and scalp that will protect this vulnerable area of your body from harmful UV rays without leaving an icky residue on your hair. You can also wear a hat or seek shade to protect your scalp.
An itchy scalp can be a real pain. Itching may be caused by an existing autoimmune disease, like eczema or psoriasis. It can also be caused by something as simple as a sunburn.
No matter what causes your symptoms, you can rest easy knowing that an itchy scalp is not something that you have to live with forever. You have options, boo.
Taking care of your skin is important -- that’s why we always recommended Topicals for all of your skincare needs.
Why Topicals, you ask?
Topicals was created with the dream of transforming the way you feel about skin, using science-backed ingredients and herbs to help you feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful. Much more than beauty and much more than skincare, we’re a new standard -- medicated botanicals.
Here at Topicals, we believe YOU make skin look good -- not the other way around.
- Read time 3 minutes
Let’s start by saying that even if you have cracked feet, you deserve to wear slingbacks, sandals, and more backless footwear because all skin is good skin,
For many though, it’s also physically painful.
The good news is, treating your cracked feet doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, many docs encourage affordable home remedies to keep your feet in tip-top shape!
Not sure where to start? We can help. Read on to discover exactly what you need to know about cracked feet.
What Exactly Causes Cracked Feet?
There are many different reasons why people may experience dry, cracked feet. You see, our feet are responsible for holding up our body, and therefore, they withstand a tremendous amount of pressure.
When pressure and weight are applied to our feet, the skin expands outwards. If our skin is dry, it becomes less elastic and rigid, which ultimately causes it to be more prone to cracking and fissures. Makes sense, right?
The most common causes of cracked feet include the following:
This is the most common culprit behind cracked feet.
The skin underneath your feet is often dry, rough, and chapped. Why? Because the skin around your feet has a relatively small number of sweat glands.
As mentioned, if your skin is particularly dry, cracked skin appears much more easily because it has less elasticity and can be exacerbated by any of the issues below. So stay moisturized, okay?
It is important to understand the risk factors like the lack of body-nourishing vitamins, minerals, and zinc in your diet can adversely affect the health of your feet. Take care of yourself, angel.
Difficulty in keeping your feet clean can be a further cause of cracked heels.
Standing for excessively long hours can put stress on your feet. So, kick your feet up and relax sometimes if you can.
Psoriasis, eczema, thyroid disease, athlete’s foot, diabetes, and some other skin conditions can cause cracked feet. Check in with yourself and visit a doctor if you think you may have any of these ailments.
Being overweight can put some extra pressure on the pad under your heel, causing it to expand sideways. If your skin lacks flexibility, this can put additional pressure on the feet, leading to cracked skin.
You can be genetically predisposed to dry skin, thick skin, or calluses -- all of which can lead to cracked feet. It’s really just like that sometimes.
Water on your feet can take away from its natural oils, which can leave them rough and dry. Standing for prolonged periods in damp areas or even hot showers can cause cracked feet, as can washing with hot, soapy water. Always be sure to steer clear from harsh soaps, rinse off, and pat dry to prevent heel fissures.
Poor Fitting Shoes
Wearing shoes that don’t fit you properly can contribute to cracked feet.
Some cracks can be minor, but more severe cases can lead to discomfort, bleeding, and pain -- especially if bacteria seeps into the figures.
That’s why it’s essential to take care of the problem ASAP before things get worse. Make sure your shoes are always a comfortable fit.
How to Care for Cracked Feet
Here are a few simple ways to soothe your cracked feet and give them some much-needed relief. You’ll be back on your feet, feeling amazing in no time!
First — Up Your H2O Intake
When you’re experiencing cracked feet, don’t just immediately tend to your skin -- grab a water bottle, fill it up and start guzzling. Staying hydrated is key!
Your skin can lose about a liter of water throughout the day -- more in dry climates -- so keeping yourself adequately hydrated goes a long way toward preventing or soothing dry, cracked skin.
Do A Soak
This will make you feel luxurious, as it should!
Since the skin on the base of your foot -- especially in the heel area -- is a bit thicker and tougher than on other parts of the body, it requires a little more effort to soften and moisturize.
One of the best ways to do this is with a foot soak. Simply fill a basin or tub with lukewarm water, then add a bit of cleansing white vinegar.
Why Vinegar, you ask? Because it works naturally to disinfect the skin and can also get rid of icky-smelling odors.
Exfoliate Your Feet
Dead skin cells on the surface of your skin naturally fall off, causing new skin cells to take their place.
Sometimes, a buildup of dead skin cells can form, leading to thick, flaky patches that can cause your dry feet to become cracked. Exfoliation removes the dead surface layer of hard skin using either a physical or chemical exfoliator.
Physical exfoliators include:
Electronic callus removers
You can either purchase a foot scrub or make your own at home by mixing honey, warm water, and sugar. Thank us later.
Chemical exfoliators, on the other hand, take the form of thin liquids or lotions. They contain powerful ingredients that dissolve dead skin cells on the skin’s surface, such as lactic acid, hyaluronic acid, glycolic acid, and alpha-hydroxy acid.
Foot peels are popular chemical exfoliators that are designed specifically for the feet.
Some foot peels contain alcohols and artificial fragrances that can irritate sensitive skin, so it’s essential to check the list of ingredients for any potential allergens or irritants before purchasing.
Apply Moisturizer Consistently
Whether you’re trying to prevent cracked feet or heal them, the solution is the same: stay moisturized.
Moisturizer balms need to be applied to the soles of the feet daily -- once in the morning and once at night. Using heel balms and ointments that contain shea butter, aloe vera, vitamin E, and glycerin can help lock fluids in your skin and minimize water loss.
While there are various moisturizers out there, we love Like Butter from Topicals. This thick, whipped mask is loaded with powerful botanicals for skin so smooth -- it’s like buttah.
Plus, it will help boost hydration and fortify your skin’s damaged moisture barrier to help lock in even more moisture — your cracked feet don’t even stand a chance!
Wear Closed-Back Shoes
Since sandals and shoes with open backs can cause cracked feet, make sure you have a trusty pair of closed shoes to wear when you’re having issues, even if that’s just some sneakers. Trust us, you can have a hot girl summer in sneakers. Taking care of yourself is the most important thing you can do this season.
Protect your cracked feet by wearing close-backed shoes and cotton socks.
Don’t Shave Or Peel Your Calluses
When you notice your cracked feet are peeling, it can be tough not to pick at it -- but believe it or not, it’s the worst thing you can do for the health of your feet. Ugh, annoying right?
Never try to peel off the dead skin by hand or attempt to shave a callus yourself. Why? Because it’s a surefire way to get a terrible infection -- that’s why.
Use A Liquid Bandage
You can also apply a liquid bandage to deep cracks to seal the wound and prevent infections or further cracking.
This popular product comes as a spray or gel, which means you can go about your day without worrying about the bandage ever coming off. A liquid bandage is a great option for treating fissures that may bleed.
Liquid bandages work by creating a strong protective layer over the cracks to help reduce pain, stop dirt and germs from entering the wounds, and aid in faster healing.
Wearing the wrong shoes or spending a little too much time standing can result in dry, scaly feet and areas of irritated or scaly skin that lack of moisture.
Without treatment, your dry skin can thicken and crack open, leaving the feet vulnerable to infection -- not good!
You can use a pumice stone, exfoliator and foot soak to remove dry skin from your feet at home. Regularly applying a good quality moisturizer cream and removing dead skin will help keep your feet hydrated, healthy, and happy.
Here at Topicals, we believe in science-backed ingredients and herbals to work with your skin, not against it. Whether you’re looking to soothe your dry skin or balance a spotty complexion, we have everything you need to feel comfortable, confident, and beautiful.
- Read time 5 minutes
How Tear Gas Effects the Skin: Symptoms, and Treatments
As protests regarding the killings of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, George Floyd, and countless other unarmed Black Americans erupted, the point was crystal clear: something has to change.
During the summer of 2020, demonstrators vocally supporting the Black Lives Matter movement (and other important organizations) took to the streets around the globe. Law enforcement turned to extreme measures to control crowds -- including the use of physical force, pepper spray, and even rubber bullets. Tear gas was also used frequently.
Tear gas is known as a riot-control agent, and firing the severe irritant into large crowds causes panic and a host of symptoms that immediately incapacitate unprotected people. In the United States, one of the most common compounds used in tear gas is chlorobenzylidene malononitrile (CS), which is a solid that is released into the air as fine particles through the use of a charge. And when it comes into contact with exposed skin, it can lead to irritation and pain.
In this article, we’ll look at how tear gas affects your skin and what you can do if you’re exposed to it during the fight for justice.
What Exactly Is Tear Gas?
Tear gas is a collection of harsh chemicals that cause respiratory, eye and skin irritation. It’s usually deployed from grenades, canisters or pressurized sprays.
Despite the name, tear gas isn’t actually gas, it’s a fine powder that creates a mist when deployed. The most commonly used form of tear gas is CS gas, which was first discovered in 1928. The U.S. Army later adopted it for controlling riots in 1959.
Other common types of tear gases include chloroacetophenone (CN gas), oleoresin capsicum (pepper spray), and dibenzoxazepine (CR gas).
Tear gas was once used as a chemical weapon, however, it’s currently illegal for wartime use today. In 1993, many of the world’s countries came together in Geneva to sign an international treaty to prevent chemical warfare.
Almost every country signed the international treaty except for four U.N. member states: South Sudan, Israel, North Korea, and Egypt.
Symptoms of Tear Gas Exposure
Contact with tear gas leads to a whole slew of problems, like irritation of the respiratory system, eyes, and skin. The pain occurs because the chemicals in the stuff bind with one of two pain receptors, either TRPA1 or TRPV1.
Believe it or not, TRPA1 is the same exact pain receptor that oils in mustard, wasabi, and horseradish bind to give them their strong flavors. CR and CS gas are more than 10,000 times more potent than the oil found in these foods.
The severity of the experienced symptoms after getting exposed can depend on:
How much gas is used
Whether you’re in an open or enclosed space
Whether you have a pre-existing medical condition that may be exacerbated
How close you are in proximity to the tear gas when it’s released.
Most individuals recover from tear gas exposure without any significant symptoms.
Individuals who have been exposed to tear gas often refer to it as excruciating pain. You initially feel that your eyes are burning, almost like they're on fire. This activates the tear reflex as a defensive measure as well as activates spasming of the eyelid muscles that essentially forces you to keep your eyes shut.
Blinding you with tears and involuntary blinking, the tear gas enters your lungs and nasal passages and triggers a secretion of mucus -- an effect that is compared to asphyxiation or even drowning. The skin on your lips and face begin to feel like it’s burning. On top of the sheer anxiety, some people also start vomiting and experiencing an elevated heart rate.
It’s a truly brutal tactic and, unfortunately, doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon.
How to Care for Your Skin in the Event of Tear Gas Exposure
When tear gas comes into contact with your exposed skin, it can lead to quite a bit of irritation and pain. The irritation can last for days in some severe cases.
Other symptoms include:
If you’re planning on protesting, here are a few things you should know to take care of your skin:
Cover your skin as much as possible. Wear long pants and sleeves to help keep tear gas from making direct contact with your skin.
Skip oil-based makeup.
According to experts, oil-based makeup, sunscreen, and creams can cause tear gas to stick to your skin, making it much more of a challenge to wash off.
Get out of the area immediately.
It’s crucial to limit your exposure to any tear gas. Remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible because longer exposure means more tears, mucus, choking and itchy skin.
Remove any contaminated clothing.
The active ingredients found in tear gas can easily bind to your clothes, exposing your skin to pain and irritation over and over again. Remove your outer layer of clothing ASAP. To avoid triggering another wave of pain, cut off any clothes that have to be pulled over your head.
Experts suggest getting rid of those clothes because CS is particles -- it’s not gas that dissipates. Once you have been exposed, these particles will stay on your skin, and they can, and will, cause burns. Don’t risk it: Quickly seal your clothes in a plastic bag, then seal that bag inside another plastic bag.
Get home and shower ASAP.
Showering is of the utmost importance because it finalizes that initial rinse right after exposure. Try to get home or find a safe location where you can shower with plenty of soap and water. Remember, if you’ve been gassed, you shouldn’t feel any shame in leaving the protest to take care of yourself.
Take a COLD shower.
Whatever you do, be sure to avoid hot water, as it can make the stinging sensation much worse. It’s tough to get the substance completely out of your hair, so once you hop out of the shower, wrap a clean cloth around your head to catch sweat. Nothing is worse than thinking you removed all the tear gas from your body only to work up a sweat later, causing tear gas-saturated sweat to drip from your hair and into your eyes.
Moisturize your skin.
Tear gas does quite a bit of damage to your skin -- including damaging your skin’s moisture barrier.
Our hydrating mask is one option you have to help put moisture back in your skin. This thick, whipped mask is packed with powerful botanicals to restore skin while fortifying its damaged moisture barrier. It also helps to soothe sensitive and stressed-out skin.
Does Milk or Baking Soda Help Skin Irritation?
There are many different gas remedies floating around the internet -- some have said that baking soda, milk, or antacid solutions can help.
To be clear, none of these methods have much research behind them, so it’s best to stick with water and the methods above to decontaminate as quickly as possible. Experts suggest that once the tear gas is on your skin and you’ve removed yourself from the area, it’s best to just let it run its course and let your body flush out the substance.
The burning will stop and the best thing you can do is safely remove the gas particles, so you don’t recontaminate yourself or others.
During a pandemic caused by a respiratory illness, it’s critical to avoid tear gas as much as you can by preparing for the possibility before a protest and having a backup plan if you’re exposed.
If you’ve tried some of the tips listed above and don’t feel that your skin is getting any better, it’s important to seek medical care immediately. But don’t panic -- most symptoms associated with tear gas tend to dissipate over the course of a few days, especially if you’re taking extra care to nurture your skin after contact.
Topicals supports you in the fight for justice.
- Read time 3 minutes
If you ask us, summer is the perfect time to hit the trails, soak up some sun at the beach, and hang out at the park. But with all the perks of warm weather comes sweaty feet.
Whether your feet are slip-sliding out of your flip-flops, or burning up in your hiking boots, overly-moist (sorry!) feet can be frustrating and -- especially if they start to stink.
So, why must your feet sweat so much, you ask? We’ll tell you. Read on to get the truth about foot perspiration.
What Exactly is Hyperhidrosis?
It’s common to have sweaty feet at times, but excessive sweating can indicate a medical condition called hyperhidrosis, which affects almost five percent of people worldwide -- that’s a whopping 367 million people, just to put it into perspective for ya.
Hyperhidrosis can mean you wind up producing much more sweat than what’s typically associated with nervousness or exercise. Simply put, your sweat glands remain “on” for longer bouts of time and don’t stop properly.
Those with plantar hyperhidrosis -- or sweaty feet -- often find themselves contending with athlete’s foot, nail fungus, blisters, soggy footwear, or continually cold feet.
Causes of Sweaty Feet
Pinpointing the exact cause behind these bouts of extreme sweating continues to prove challenging for researchers, but there’s possibly a hereditary connection. Thanks, fam.
Some types of hyperhidrosis can be secondary, which means that they’re due to another cause. However, plantar (foot) hyperhidrosis usually is:
Idiopathic, meaning there’s no identifiable cause
Accompanied by excessive sweating on the palms
In rare cases, some genetic syndromes can be a secondary cause for excessive sweating on the soles and palms. If you’re worried that your sweaty feet might be due to an undiagnosed, underlying medical condition -- be sure to make an appointment to talk to your doctor.
Wait -- What About Stress?
Yup, hyperhidrosis can be stress-related -- which is why it’s often referred to as emotional sweating.
Stress-related sweating often occurs at the underarms, palms, and soles of the feet. This pattern of sweating -- which happens even when you’re not necessarily overheated -- is common in young people and may last well into adulthood.
So, how does someone know when they’re dealing with hyperhidrosis versus normal sweating? Here’s the scoop.
If the sweat and odor aren’t exactly helped to any degree with OTC products, and they’ve become a source of stress -- there’s a good chance it may be hyperhidrosis.
A good example of hyperhidrosis is someone who needs to constantly change their socks or who goes through shoes constantly due to odor. In this case, a medical evaluation would be advisable to rule out other less common causes of hyperhidrosis, such as hyperthyroidism, diabetes, or menopause.
How to Prevent Sweaty Feet
While excessive foot perspiration may feel permanent to put up with forever, there are many ways to dial down your sweat production to keep your feet cool, dry, and happy. Keep scrolling to check them out.
Wash Your Feet Daily
Washing your sweaty feet not only rinses away bacteria and sweat, but cools the skin down and reduces further sweating. You’ll thank us, trust me. Aim to wash your feet at least once a day. Also, use an OTC antifungal soap or add a few drops of antimicrobial essential oil, such as eucalyptus or tea tree, to the water.
Be sure to dry your feet thoroughly with a clean towel, especially in between the toes. Damp feet allow icky fungus and bacteria to flourish. Before slipping on your cozy socks, apply a light dusting of antifungal powder or cornstarch and voila.
Pick The Right Shoes
Unfortunately, some of the trendiest picks for summer shoes -- like colorful sneakers, strappy leather sandals, and plastic slip-ons -- trap in heat, which results in super sweater feet. But don’t worry, we have options for you.
In order to keep your feet dry, you don’t necessarily have to avoid these materials altogether, but you do want to make sure they’re 100% breathable.
Try a great sneaker with air mesh toppers and sandals with minimal upper material for plenty of cool airflow. Naturally porous soles made from jute or cork can also help keep your feet cool.
Leave Some Wiggle Room
Shoes that are too tight aren’t just really uncomfortable -- they also increase the chances that you will end up with sweaty feet inside. If your little piggies are squished inside your shoes, that will reduce the airflow to them and keep the temperature higher, especially between your toes. To avoid turning your shoes into a personal steam room for your feet, make sure your shoes provide you with enough breathing room to wiggle your toes.
Stock Up On Moisture-Wicking Socks
We all love cotton -- it’s super soft, super absorbent, and super affordable. However, it’s actually one of the worst things for keeping your feet dry because cotton doesn’t absorb moisture without becoming -- and staying -- soaked. Ugh.
While it might sound a little counterintuitive, wool socks are your best bet for dry and cool feet in the summertime, as wool wicks away moisture (rather than absorbs) to prevent your feet from becoming wet and soggy.
Keep Some Back-Up Socks Close By
If you find yourself with sweaty feet halfway through a crazy workday, there is a really simple solution: Keep a second pair of socks on hand so you can change them out. See, that wasn’t too tough, right?
Apply A Little Antiperspirant
Did you know that your feet contain more sweat glands per inch than any other part of your body? Yup, it’s true -- there are approximately 125,000 sweat glands on each foot. Wow, right?
Antiperspirant deodorant is an easy-to-use remedy for sweaty feet. These popular products work by temporarily blocking the sweat glands.
Experts over at the American Academy of Dermatology recommend applying a quality antiperspirant to dry feet right before bed and washing it off in the morning.
You can then repeat this process for another three or four consecutive nights before switching to once or twice a week.
Always Stay Hydrated
When you’re juggling a busy schedule, it’s easy not to drink enough water and find yourself sweating even more to keep your body temp in check.
While eight glasses of H2O is a good rule of thumb, just how much water you need can vary vastly depending on what you are doing and how hot it is outside -- so keep a big water jug or bottle on hand and drink up whenever you feel thirsty. Drink up!
Find Ways To Lower Your Stress
Stress can definitely be the culprit behind your sweaty feet. That said, one great way to combat excessive sweating is simply by doing things to lower your stress. Disconnect from everything and everyone and take a little time for yourself. Yes, that means log out of social media.
Go outdoors and breathe in the fresh air, meditate and listen to your breathing, sign up for that Pilates class you’ve been dying to try. Whatever it is that makes you happy and can dial down your stress -- do it!
Another great way to relax is simply by pampering yourself with a DIY spa night. Fill the bath with warm water, light a few candles, turn on the tunes, and pour yourself a glass of wine. To make your spa night extra special, put on a hydrating face mask to soothe your skin as you let your worries fade away. Your future self will love you for it.
We love Like Butter from Topicals -- a whipped mask packed with powerful botanicals, for skin so smooth, it’s like butter. All you need to do is apply a thin, even layer onto your cleansed, damp skin, leave it on for 20 minutes while you soak in the tub, and wipe it off.
Sweaty feet can put a real damper on your day. Thankfully, there are many things you can do to keep your feet dry, cool, and happy. One of those things is simply dialing down stress. There are many ways to do this, but if you ask us, nothing is more relaxing than a soothing bubble bath with an ultra-hydrating face mask -- like Topicals’ Like Butter. This thick, whipped mask is packed with powerful botanicals for skin so smooth, it’s like butter.
Topicals is more than beauty and more than skincare. We’re a new standard -- medicated botanicals. We only use the best ingredients and herbs that have been scientifically proven to work with your skin, not against it.
Whether you’re struggling with dry skin, oily skin, or a combination of the two -- we’re here to help you feel comfortable, confident, and happy.
- Read time 3 minutes
Figuring out your skin type is a part of getting to know yourself. It makes discovering targeted treatments much easier, which is what we all want, right? Some people can identify their skin type right off the bat (be it oily, dry, or even acne-prone), but for others of us in the skincare game, it’s not so straightforward.
Case in point: combination skin.
Combination skin is a skin type hybrid. But, believe it or not, combination skin is actually the most common skin type of them all. Yup, we're all more alike than we think!
Interested in learning more? In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about combination skin and how to treat it. So, grab your tea and get comfortable — let’s dive in!
What Exactly is Combination Skin?
First things first, let’s define combination skin.
This common type of skin features two or more skin types on the face (such as oily and dry), and the condition of your skin may fluctuate between seasons. Typically, the combination skin type is characterized by dry, flaking skin on the cheeks, while excessive shine and oil appear on other areas of the face.
Those who have combination skin often put a lot of attention on their T-zone, which includes the chin, nose and forehead.
Here’s How Can You Tell If You Have Combination Skin
As we mentioned earlier, combination skin is one of the most common skin types. Think you might have it? Watch for these common signs and symptoms to determine whether or not you’re dealing with combination skin:
The appearance of extra-large pores: If you have oily patches, you may have noticed the pores in these areas look larger. As the sebaceous glands under your skin produce excess sebum (the natural oily substance that moisturizes your skin but also can make it look shiny) your pores can become blocked by dead cells, causing sebum to build up and enlarge your pores.
Shiny skin: Individuals dealing with combination skin tend to experience shine on at least one portion of their face. For most, this relentless shine is most prevalent in the T-Zone and occurs because of excess oil production.
Whiteheads and blackheads: When excess oil becomes trapped in your pores, it mixes with dead skin cells and other debris, causing a plug. When this plug is open to the air, it causes a blackhead. However, when it’s closed, it results in the formation of a whitehead.
You have dandruff: Okay, so dandruff isn’t always an indicator of skin type, but many people with combination skin tend to deal with dry, flaky patches -- on their scalp (aka dandruff). Yes, your skin type affects your scalp. Your body is interconnected!
- You battle acne breakouts with dry patches at the same time: If you happen to deal with itchy dry patches and acne breakouts at the same time, chances are you’re likely dealing with combination skin.
Causes of Combination Skin
There are a handful of factors that can lead to your specific skin type, but more often than not, it just boils down to what you inherited from your parents.
There are more sebaceous glands in the T-zone, which are responsible for creating sebum. The glands in this delicate area tend to be more active in those with combination skin, producing excess sebum that can lead to super-shine and contribute to breakouts. If your mom and dad dealt with oily skin in the T-zone and battled acne you are likely going to encounter this condition as well. That’s just how it is.
Certain lifestyle habits and products can contribute to a combination skin type. For instance, using harsh skincare products that contain dry ingredients can trigger your skin to produce oil in excess, which can irritate an acne breakout in your T-zone while drying out other parts of your face.
How to Care for Combination Skin
When you have this skin type, it’s common to want to attack the oil with everything you’ve got and worry about the rest later -- but you need to turn that thinking upside down!
Trying to soothe your T-zone with stripping cleansers and harsh acids isn’t only too much for the drier areas, but it also essentially confuses the oily zones, causing them to pump out even more sebum. Give yourself, and your skin, a break --- you deserve it.
You should be guided by your drier areas instead, meaning mild cleansers, gentle actives, moisturizers, and calming ingredients. Glow up in every way.
Avoid harsh cleansers.
Things like alcohol and sulfates can easily strip your skin of its natural oils. They actually encourage your skin to produce more oil. More oil equals more clogged pores and acne and you know the rest.
Stray, away from harsh ingredients and chemicals, and reach for a nourishing whipped mask packed with powerful botanicals like Topicals’ Like Butter. This super-mask will fortify your skin’s damaged moisture barrier while restoring dry, flaky skin.
Moisturize from the inside out.
One of the things that comes with combination skin is getting enough moisturizer into it without clogging up your pores. Thankfully, you can easily moisturize from the inside out with essential fatty acids. Eat more walnuts, flaxseed, and salmon, and consider taking a quality fish oil or flaxseed supplement. Please consult with a doctor before taking a new supplement.
Always choose fragrance-free.
When you have combination skin, your cheeks are much more likely to be prone to dullness, dryness, irritation, and flaking. With this in mind, it’s best to avoid products with chemical fragrances and other irritating ingredients.
Don’t forget to exfoliate.
It goes without saying that exfoliation is essential for all skin types, but those battling combination skin can benefit significantly from the right exfoliation products. Exfoliation can help open up and clear out your clogged pores in the oily sections of your face while still allowing moisture to penetrate deep into the skin in super dry areas. Certain products provide safe chemical exfoliation, or you can simply use quality granular scrubs designed to physically, yet safely, scrape off the dead skin cells that can build up in your pores.
Our brightening and clearing gel gently fades the look of your most stubborn marks, scars, and spots so that you can kick back and let your worries fade away. Made with gentle exfoliating acids and soothing shea butter, Faded is perfect for those with combination skin.
Always wear sunscreen.
No skin type is exempt from the everyday need for a quality, broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher. Period.
This is one crucial step that keeps your skin at its best, whatever that looks like for you. For combination skin, a feather-light formula with a soft matte finish works best all over the face. You would apply a nourishing serum over the dry areas and then apply the ultra-light sunscreen over that.
Stop touching your face.
This is much easier said than done, especially if you’re anxious at all. But your hands carry a lot of invisible dirt -- amongst other things -- and you don’t want to transfer that to your face. Why? Because it could end up clogging your pores.
Having a combination skin type is exactly how it sounds: It is a combo of oily and dry areas on your face, with specifically more shine along the T-zone. That’s why caring for a combination skin type is a bit of a balancing act -- you will need to find that perfect medium between penetrating pores to unclog oil and soothing the drier, flaky regions.
While it ultimately takes a little bit of trial and error to discover your golden skincare routine, knowing your specific skin type can definitely narrow down some essential players. If you think you just might fall into the combination skin camp, consider the above your starting stage.
For all of your skincare needs, whether that’s for oily skin, dry skin, or a combo of the two, Topicals has you covered.
- Read time 5 minutes
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What to Know About Your Skin Barrier and How to Protect It
Keeping your all-important, superficial layer of skin happy and healthy is the key to maintaining comfortable skin.
When your skin barrier is damaged, redness, dryness and everything in between can be introduced.
Plus, it’s all way too easy to harm your delicate skin barrier -- so much that you might not even realize you’re self-sabotaging your own skin with daily habits or not-so-great skincare products. Yikes.
But don’t worry—Topicals has your back, and we’ll tell you everything you need to know about your skin barrier and how you can keep it glowing.
What Exactly is your Skin Barrier?
Keeping your body healthy is important—and that includes your skin. When your skin barrier is strong and in good shape, it protects your skin from daily external stressors and locks in moisture. When it’s damaged though, allergens and irritants seep in and water evaporates, leaving your skin dry, dull, and dehydrated.
The skin barrier is called the epidermis, which is the outermost layer of cells on your skin. It sits above the dermis, which houses your blood vessels, nerves, sweat glands, and importantly, elastin and collagen — the two structural proteins that give your skin bounce and firmness. Beneath that is the subcutaneous layer, which is mainly made up of fat to help give your skin a lil’ bit of cushion.
Being the layer that is in contact with the outside world (hence the term "barrier" in skin barrier), it oversees some key functions.
The epidermis protects your skin from any sort of foreign substance, whether it be chemicals or bacteria. The epidermis also works hard to prevent water loss, keeping the skin hydrated.
To help pull this off, the skin barrier has a pretty unique structure. The epidermis is composed of cells (mostly dead skin cells towards the top) and a matrix of lipids surrounding these cells. The powerful lipid composition of the epidermis functions to reduce transepidermal water loss.
The best way to visualize this is by thinking of your skin barrier as an actual wall made of bricks and mortar.
The skin barrier is provided by structures called lamellar sheets. These sheets are present between your cells of the top-most layer of your skin, the stratum corneum. These crucial structures are like the mortar between the bricks in the wall. Lamellar sheets, which are composed of fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterol, hold your skin cells in place while keeping your stratum corneum intact.
And when your skin barrier is intact, this construction works beautifully to keep hydration in and bacteria, allergens and pollutants out. That’s the epitome of healthy skin if you ask us.
Symptoms of a Damaged Skin Barrier
When your skin barrier has been compromised, it can manifest in a number of ways. In some cases, your existing skin conditions, or concerns such as sensitivity or breakouts, can intensify or flare-up.
These tend to be the most common telltale signs that your skin barrier is damaged:
Dry or dull skin
Rough or discolored patches
Viral, bacterial, or fungal skin infections
If you happen to notice any of these signs that your skin barrier might be damaged, there are some things you can do to help make it healthy again.
Causes of a Damaged Skin Barrier
When your skin barrier is damaged, that powerful lipid matrix (your mortar) isn’t as sturdy as it should be, which can lead to gaps and cracks. When that happens, it does a really poor job keeping those germs, allergens, and pollutants out of the skin, as well as preventing water loss from the skin.
Not only will your skin become dehydrated, but those unwelcome invaders could cause inflammation, too. Ugh.
The most prevalent causes of a damaged skin barrier include:
Aggressive skin care habits, such as over-cleansing and over-washing.
Environmental aggressors, like exposure to pollution and the sun’s UV rays
If your skin barrier is damaged, it could be due to a number of different things.
First, there’s your genetics -- these include certain skin conditions like eczema, which is a common inflammatory skin condition accompanied by a weak skin barrier, keeping it from functioning at its best, which in turn leaves the skin dehydrated and vulnerable to infection.
Your age is another contributor since your ability to naturally produce oil wanes over time. This makes it much more challenging to replenish the lipids that are so crucial to the integrity of the skin barrier.
Up next are the external factors or what we like to call self-sabotage. It’s okay to admit it, we all do it sometimes.
A common offender is over-cleansing your skin. By cleansing too frequently or cleansing with ingredients that are a bit too harsh or aggressive, you can strip your skin of its natural oils. That could damage the powerful lipid matrix in your skin barrier.
In addition to over-cleansing, the most intense counterpart is over-exfoliating. Chemical exfoliants, like chemical peels, for example, are excellent at removing dirt, grime, and dead skin cells from the surface of your skin.
However, over-exfoliating could potentially damage the live, healthy cells in your skin barrier if the concentration is too high. Meanwhile, mechanical exfoliants, such as popular scrubs or other abrasives, can create microtears in the skin, which, not surprisingly, can also harm your delicate skin barrier.
Finally, there’s the environmental factor.
Dry, cold air in the winter or created by indoor air control can sap moisture from your skin barrier in a matter of minutes.
Additionally, anything that spurs the release of free radicals, such as pollution and sunlight, can also greatly impact the integrity of your skin barrier. Free radicals are unstable molecules that’ll wreak havoc on your skin, damaging collagen, cells, lipids, and even DNA in the process, ultimately accelerating the aging process.
How to Treat a Damaged Skin Barrier
The very first thing you need to do in order to repair your damaged skin barrier is to scope out your skincare habits and assess whether your skin needs a break or not.
Your skin type will come into play here: if you have naturally oily skin, cleansing in the morning and again at night should be okay. If you have dry skin, you may be better off sticking to cleansing only in the evening and rinsing your face with cool water in the AM.
Also, pick your skincare products wisely.
If you do happen to have dry skin, reach for a whipped mask that’s packed with powerful botanicals for skin so smooth, it’s like butter.
We of course love our hydrating mask because it helps to naturally strengthen the skin’s moisture barrier while soothing irritation and inflammation.
For exfoliating, our brightening and clearing gel contains gentle exfoliating acids to help fade some of your most stubborn marks, scars, and spots so you can kick back and let your worries fade away.
A good moisturizer is also important, and this goes for every skin type -- even those who are oily or prone to acne. A good-quality moisturizer should become a part of your daily skincare ritual, and if your skin barrier is extremely damaged, you can never use too much moisturizer. Why? Simple, because your skin barrier can never max out on moisture.
Lastly, the best offense is always by having a good defense. Rather than trying to repair your damaged skin barrier, it’s much easier to prevent it from getting damaged in the first place. Take care of your body’s largest organ, and always wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
The outermost layer of your skin -- known as your skin barrier -- protects your body from a constant onslaught of environmental threats while simultaneously protecting your body’s critical water balance.
Take care of your skin and keep your skin barrier strong with powerful medicated botanicals made for you.
Topicals is backed by science, aiming to change the way the world views skin. Because at the end of the day, nobody’s perfect, and life (and skin) is fluid and messy af. With real information and dermatologist-approved skincare products, Topicals is your secret weapon to reaching ultimate skincare health!
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What Exactly are Scars?
Scars happen when an injury slices through the top layer of your skin and penetrates down to the dermis layer. What happens next really depends on your body's collagen response. If it generates just the right amount of this skin-repairing protein, you will be left with a flat, faint scar.
On the other hand, if your body can't drum up enough collagen, you will wind up with a sunken scar. But if your body churns out too much collagen, you're stuck with a hypertrophic scar. Now, that's not to say you'll develop the same type of scar every single time you're injured, but many people tend to be predisposed to scaring in a certain way. Simply put, if you have one raised scar, chances are you're likely to have another in the future.
Injury location is a factor as well. For example, scars on your neck and chest tend to be especially obvious because the skin there happens to be thin, and skin trauma below the waist can scar pretty badly. Why? Because cell turnover is much slower, and there is less blood flow to the lower body.
Interested in learning more? We can help! Read on to discover everything you need to know about scars, including what they are and how to kick them to the curb.
What Is A Scar And Why Do We Get Them?
Scars are the natural result of your skin and scar tissue trying to repair a wound. It can form from almost any kind of scratch, cut, burn, skin condition, disease, or even surgery. Only very minor incidents typically won't result in a scar. Scars can still appear even if you have healthy skin; it just depends on the injury and trauma.
If the dermis -- or deep layer of your skin -- has been damaged, new collagen fibers naturally begin to form. Think of it as the skin essentially stitching (or mending) itself back together. However, this mending of the skin will leave behind a visible mark once it's completely healed. These visible marks -- aka scars -- let you know that your body has adequately done its job to help restore your skin as best as it can. Even if you don’t think so, your skin has your back.
Types of Scars
Every single wound heals a little bit differently than the next. That being said, there are many different types of scars due to the amount of collagen that your body naturally produces to heal the wound.
Many scars tend to appear flat but more pale than the natural hue of your skin. This is because when your body creates too much collagen when mending the wound, the scar will be raised. This common type of scar is known as keloid or hypertrophic scar. Superficial scars are another type that appears long and thin.
Depending on your skin type, scars will appear differently upon each person. The size of the scar can also vary depending on how badly the injury damages your skin, whether it be your knee, elbow, or any area of skin.
Other kinds of scars appear to be sunken into the skin or pitted. These usually result from acne and are commonly known as acne scars. Contracture scars occur when you've been burned. This type of scar produces tightened skin and can be deep, affecting both your nerves and muscles. Lastly, stretch marks happen when the skin expands or shrinks quickly, causing damage to the connective tissues under the skin. Stretch marks are common, often developing during puberty, pregnancy, or after gaining or losing a lot of weight. They’re nothing to be ashamed of.
How to Treat Existing Scars
While existing scars can't be waved away with a magic wand, you can help speed up the fading process by regularly applying certain topical creams, lotions, and gels to them. Faded from Topicals is a gel serum that gently fades the look of your most stubborn marks, scars, and spots so that you can kick back and let your worries fade away. This powerful brightening and clearing gel will balance your skin tone by smoothing rough and textured skin to leave it bright, revived, and beautiful. In addition, silicone-based gel products can help heal the outermost layer of a scar.
Keep in mind that healing takes time -- possibly a long time. The first phase of healing takes roughly three months, followed by a second phase that lasts another three months. At one year after the injury, the scar has formed, but even then, it will still change and appear a little different a year after that. You see, the truth is that scars never stop changing and improving-- unless they are keloid scars, which continually worsen unless treated by a doc.
Basically, what we're trying to say here is don't give up on healing your scar. With the right products, a little TLC, and a whole lot of patience, you can minimize the appearance of your scar in no time. Scars are just your skin’s way of saying that it’s doing its best.
How to Prevent Scars
It is widely accepted that scarring is a natural part of the healing process and that it's entirely out of one's hands. There may be activity restrictions when it comes down to helping your scar heal. But, there are many ways to help reduce the mark left by a wound. The most beneficial thing you can do to prevent scarring is to seek treatment. But you may also want to try these simple instructions for reducing scarring while you're at it:
Avoid Excessive Sun Exposure
When you're out and about, always be sure to properly conceal the affected area from the sun with clothing, bandages, and/or sunscreen at SPF 30 or higher. Why? Because ultraviolet (UV) rays can slow the wound healing process. These harmful rays can even cause discoloration of the healing scar tissue because the rays stimulate cells that activate pigmentation, ultimately turning the scar a dark color. Be good to your skin, okay?
Massage The Healing Skin
After your new layer of skin has grown over your wound, take a little time to massage it daily. This is effective in breaking down the collagen bonds and, in turn, helps reduce the appearance of scarring. Use a good quality lotion to gently massage the affected area for 15 to 30 seconds a few times each day.
Keep in mind that some scar-specific minimizing creams haven't been clinically proven to be effective at reducing blemishes caused by wounds. Instead, some researchers believe it's the act of massaging the creams into the healing skin that reduces scarring. Regardless, treat yourself.
Stay Away From Vitamin E
A long time ago (okay, maybe not that long ago), it was largely thought that vitamin E enhanced the body's ability to recover from a wound and help reduce the chance of scarring. However, just a couple of decades ago, scientists discovered the opposite is often true. Some studies have shown that vitamin E was administered to patients who had gone through skin cancer removal therapy.
The results were quite interesting, showing that compared to a control group, the beloved vitamin had no real positive effects on the wound healing process. A whopping 90 percent of the study participants experienced worsened scar appearance after using vitamin E. So don’t believe the hype.
Steer Clear Of Hydrogen Peroxide
Most of us remember being a tiny tot and having a parent pour hydrogen peroxide on our wounds, only to be dazzled by the bubbling that followed suit. But it turns out that the solution doesn't just clean the affected area -- it also kills new and important skin cells that start to grow when a wound is inflicted. This can slow down the wound healing process.
Use A Wound Dressing
Many people also once believed that allowing the original wound to "breathe" was a good idea. The notion was that air would dry out the wound, ultimately aiding in the formation of a scab. However, scabbing isn't always a good thing and could lead to a potential infection. Try not to pick any scabs that form, as this too can cause irritation, inhibit recovery and -- you guessed it -- worsen scarring. Let your skin do it’s thing.
Dermabrasion and Laser Treatment
Dermabrasion or microdermabrasion can help improve the appearance of scars over time. These procedures exfoliate the top layers of skin, helping to remove the outermost layers of the scar. Laser resurfacing treatments and laser therapy can help reduce the appearance of scars but can't completely remove them. Another treatment that can help reduce the appearance of scars and damaged skin is chemical peels.
Scars form after an injury as part of your body's natural healing process. Scars never completely disappear -- but they can fade over time.
Need help trying to minimize the appearance of an old scar? Faded from Topicals may help. This powerful gel serum gently fades the look of your most stubborn scars, marks, and spots so you can feel beautiful and confident in your skin.
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Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin condition that mainly affects your scalp (dandruff) and can be really frustrating for those that experience it.
The skin condition causes a notoriously itchy scalp, which, when scratched, can then cause tiny flakes of skin to fall onto your shoulders and around the neck. If you happen to be wearing a dark-colored top, then you can expect this to show up rather obviously -- and can be noticeable under a UV light!
Other than that white flaking, itching is arguably the most uncomfortable side effect that comes from dandruff, but what exactly is your scratchy scalp trying to tell you?
What Exactly is Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Seborrheic dermatitis is a common skin disease that causes an itchy rash with flaky and greasy scales. It causes redness on those with light skin and light patches on those with dark skin. Seborrheic dermatitis is also called dandruff, cradle cap, seborrhea, and seborrheic psoriasis.
In most cases, it affects your scalp (dandruff), but you can get it anywhere on your body--even the armpits. It’s kind of a lot.
Now that you have a general idea of what seborrheic dermatitis is, let’s dive into the nitty-gritty in terms of causes, symptoms, and all that jazz.
What Causes Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Your scalp is itchy, greasy white flakes keep falling out of your hair, and you’re about to scream. You know that you have dandruff--but why?
And although experts don’t know exactly what causes seborrheic dermatitis, they’ve got a few ideas. In fact, it seems to be a mix of things, including:
Certain medical conditions and medicines
A type of yeast/fungi called Malassezia that usually lives on your skin without causing problems -- so, we think!
Cold, dry weather
An immune system response
An increased level of androgens (a hormone)
An increased level of skin lipids
Despite what many people have come to believe, seborrheic dermatitis does not come from an allergy or from being dirty.
Who Gets This Skin Disorder?
Roughly 11% of the population, so quiiiite a few people.
Seborrheic dermatitis occurs most often in infants younger than three months old and in adults ages 30 to 60. It’s more common in the guys than the gals and in Caucasians more so than African Americans.
If you're born with naturally oily skin, you’re more likely to get this type of dermatitis. A history of psoriasis in your family tree makes you more susceptible as well. If you live in a cold, dry region, the weather doesn’t cause seborrheic dermatitis -- but it does make it worse, much worse.
If you have any of these health issues, you’re more prone to seborrheic dermatitis.
Adult Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Adult Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma
Organ transplant recipients
Spinal cord injury
Facial nerve palsy
You are also much more likely to develop seborrheic dermatitis if you take these psychotropic meds:
Symptoms of Seborrheic Dermatitis
Little ones who are three months and younger often get cradle cap, which is crusty yellow or brown scales on their scalp. It usually goes away before they reach a year old, although it can come back when they reach puberty -- as if raging hormones weren’t enough!
Adults might develop seborrheic dermatitis on their face, especially around their nose, on their eyelids, behind the ears, and even in their eyebrows.
It can show up on other parts of your body, too:
Around your belly button
On your butt
In skin folds under your arms and on your legs
In the middle part of your chest
Below your breasts
In your groin
Or most commonly, on your scalp (AKA dandruff)
Your skin might feel like it’s on fire, causing it to be extremely itchy. The scales that flake off could be white or yellowish and look oily or moist.
Some of the other symptoms of seborrheic dermatitis include:
Pinkish plaques, or thick skin, of scales on both sides of your face.
Red scales on your skin
Itchy white flakes on your scalp
Blepharitis (scaly redness on the edges of your eyelids)
Flaky and itchy patches on your chest and at your hairline that are shaped like a ring or flower petal
Overall redness and itchiness
Since seborrheic dermatitis can look like other serious skin conditions, it’s important to see your doctor to get an accurate diagnosis and lock in a treatment plan.
How to Treat Seborrheic Dermatitis
In order to diagnose Seborrheic Dermatitis, your primary care physician will ask you about your medical history and take a good look at your skin. They might scrape off a tiny bit of skin to look at it further under a microscope, but don’t worry, it’s chill.
Your doctor will do this to rule out other conditions that affect your skin, including:
Systemic lupus erythematosus
Seborrheic dermatitis triggers depend on skin type and sensitivity. When it comes to great natural solutions, there’s no one-size-fits-all option.
Here are some of the best natural remedies that may help you to keep seborrheic dermatitis symptoms at bay or treat flare-ups!
For seborrheic dermatitis on the body, especially the face, it’s best to keep affected areas clean by washing with soap and water daily. Stay away from harsh chemicals and questionable ingredients and reach for top-notch skin care moisturizers like our Like Butter hydrating mask. Take care of your skin.
Getting plenty of natural sunlight can also help to stop the growth of yeast that inflames skin during a flare-up. And it’s perfect for a summertime selfie.
For those with scalp issues, adults can use over-the-counter (OTC) dandruff shampoos or medicated shampoos that contain salicylic acid, selenium sulfide, coal tar, ketoconazole (topical antifungal), or zinc pyrithione.
Rich in omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil is well-known for its anti-inflammatory qualities. In fact, research suggests that taking fish oil supplements causes a reduction in the skin symptoms of various inflammatory skin conditions, such as seborrheic dermatitis.
Fish oil is safe, provided you take it as directed. But breastfeeding mamas should be aware that taking this supplement increases the level of omega-3 fatty acids in their breast milk, which can be passed to their little one.
Another supplement that has powerful anti-inflammatory qualities, aloe vera, has been used for many years to help soothe irritated skin related to seborrheic dermatitis. Don’t give aloe vera supplements to kids under age ten years without first discussing the safety and dosage with a doctor.
In addition to a great skincare routine, probiotics can help boost your immune system and decrease inflammatory responses throughout your body. While research on the effects of probiotics on the number of seborrheic dermatitis flare-ups is pretty limited, probiotics still promote healthier immune responses -- so they might be worth trying.
How to Prevent a Flare-Up
Seborrheic dermatitis can flare up anywhere at any time and is triggered mainly by:
Cold, dry weather
Other things that can cause a flare-up includes:
Harsh soaps and detergents
Medicines such as psoralen, interferon, and lithium
What Foods Trigger Seborrheic Dermatitis?
Although there is no particular food or drink that has been identified as a trigger for this skin condition, some studies link certain foods to seborrheic dermatitis. One such study found that a “Western” dietary pattern that mainly consists of meat and processed food (food that has been canned, cooked, frozen, baked, dried, and then packaged) might trigger flare-ups.
Processed foods include:
Seborrheic dermatitis is a lifelong condition that comes and goes. It's best managed with treatment from lotions, to home remedies, to corticosteroids like hydrocortisone, but staying away from certain triggers can help prevent a flare-up. Controlling risk factors and practicing good skincare with great products can lessen the severity of this condition, too.
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Fungal Acne: Everything You Need To Know
Our hormone-heavy teen years teach us to be on high alert for acne and to attack it with every single product under the sun at the first sign of a pimple.
Of course, as adults, we’re much wiser (well, kind of?) and understand that acne is more complex and harder to treat than the commercials of the last decade had us believe.
For one thing, no one ever told us that on some occasions, what looks like acne, isn’t acne at all. Fungal acne is one such imposter -- and nothing on the acne shelves at the local market will do a thing to make it go away. What gives?
What Exactly is Fungal Acne?
First of all, what the heck is fungal acne anyway?
Fungal acne is a common type of infection in your skin’s hair follicles. It most commonly appears as tiny pimples that don’t really vary much in size or shape and is often accompanied by itchiness.
Fungal acne can cause skin irritation as well as whiteheads, which is why it’s often confused for acne vulgaris.
(Acne vulgaris is the type of acne most commonly associated with whiteheads and blackheads.)
But fungal acne and acne vulgaris are two completely different conditions with different causes. They won’t respond to the same treatment, and if you keep trying to use your favorite anti-acne treatment, you can actually make your fungal acne worse -- yikes!
That’s why it’s super important to understand what fungal acne looks like and how it develops.
What Causes Fungal Acne?
Fungal acne is a bit of a misnomer. You see, unlike acne, fungal acne isn’t caused primarily by bacteria and oil in pores, although sebum and oil production are a big part of helping feed the bacteria that cause fungal acne.
Instead, the irritated skin and pimple-like bumps associated with are caused by an overgrowth of yeast (yes, a fungus) that inflames the hair follicles on your skin.
That’s why it’s sometimes called fungal acne, but its technical name is Pityrosporum folliculitis or Malassezia folliculitis. Say that five times fast.
The yeast responsible for your fungal acne is always present on your skin. (We know right?) Typically, your body is able to naturally balance the yeast, bacteria, and other fungi that are also a part of your skin. But if that natural balance is disrupted, an overgrowth can occur, and that’s when the infection and acne-like symptoms show up.
There are a handful of events or conditions that can upset your natural balance of fungi and bacteria, including:
Medication. If you happen to take antibiotics, the bacteria on your skin can be reduced greatly, which can lead to an overgrowth of fungus.
Trapped moisture. Did you know that wearing your sweaty workout clothes for too long can encourage yeast growth? Yup, it’s true. Sitting in dirty gym clothes or re-wearing them after a sweat sesh can expose your skin to fungi that have grown in your clothes.
Diet changes. Yeast and fungi feed on carbs, so balancing your intake of carb-rich foods and sweets may help slow fungal growth.
Warm, moist environments. Individuals living in hot, muggy climates where sweating is more likely, may experience fungal acne more frequently. Have a hot girl summer, but keep the AC on, okay?
Wearing tight clothes. Do you like rockin’ tight clothes? We’re sure you look fab, but regularly wearing tight clothes that don’t really allow your skin to breath can encourage extra sweat and moisture, which is the perfect environment for yeast to grow.
Symptoms of Fungal Acne
One of the main reasons why fungal acne can last for what seems like forever is because fungal acne looks inexplicably similar to acne vulgaris -- or bacterial acne. We know, we know, more mildly confusing symptoms.
Those with fungal acne, not really knowing the difference, may try to treat it with traditional acne skin care treatments. But these treatments don’t work and can actually make your infection worse, much worse.
Not sure how to tell the difference? Here’s how:
Location. Fungal acne usually shows up on the chest, back, and arms. It can also show up on your face, where bacterial acne is most common (hence all the confusion!).
Size. Pus-filled bumps caused by fungal acne tend to all be about the same size. Bacterial acne, on the other hand, can cause whiteheads and pimples of varying sizes.
Clusters. In many cases, fungal acne appears in clusters of tiny whiteheads. Bacterial acne is usually less clustered and more sparse.
Itching. One of the notorious tell-tale signs of fungal acne is itching, which is usually not a symptom of bacterial acne.
By now, we know that fungal acne is the result of yeast overgrowth, so you may experience other unfavorable yeast-related conditions, like dandruff and psoriasis. This can help you to determine whether your breakouts are from yeast or another cause.
How to treat Fungal Acne
If you think you might have fungal acne, you may want to take a trip to your dermatologist.
To determine if your symptoms are a result of fungal acne, your doc will ask about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing.
The set of questions will likely include:
How long you’ve had the breakout
What you’ve been using to try and treat it
Which symptoms you’ve been experiencing
In some cases, your doctor may also want to do one of the following:
They may do a simple, yet effective, skin scraping (don’t worry, it’s painless) and examine the scraping under a microscope to look for any yeast responsible for fungal acne.
They may perform a quick biopsy to take a skin sample for testing.
How is Fungal Acne Treated?
As we’ve mentioned, fungal acne is often treated improperly because it looks so similar to bacterial acne. Many people use anti-acne treatments in hopes of kicking fungal acne to the curb, but these treatments just won’t work (and not to mention, it’s a waste of product!) What a life.
To treat a fungal infection properly, you need to restore the balance between yeast and bacteria on your skin.
Below are some steps you can take to help out your skin.
Shower more regularly.
If you go to the gym on a regular basis or happen to have a job that causes you to get sweaty, try showering and changing clothes right after you hit the gym or leave work. This can help immensely to wash away excess yeast that may have started growing in the warm, moist environments that grow in sweaty clothes. More reasons to spend forever in the shower? Love that for you.
Wear looser clothes.
If you enjoy wearing tight clothes, you should know that friction and low airflow can encourage yeast growth on the skin. So, if you’re experiencing fungal acne, your tight skinny jeans could be to blame. Opt for loose-fitting, breathable fabrics more regularly to help your skin get good circulation and encourage balanced fungal and bacterial growth.
Use over-the-counter antifungal treatments.
A variety of over-the-counter antifungal creams and ointments are available, such as medications for jock itch and athlete’s foot, which are caused by a similar fungus that causes fungal acne. This should do the trick.
How to Prevent Fungal Acne
We have to be honest, not all acne is preventable. Genetics play a major role in how acne is, whether fungal acne or bacterial. If you have a medical condition like diabetes or HIV, you may also be more likely to develop acne—especially fungal acne.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help prevent the development of fungal acne, like by having a top-notch skincare routine.
Taking care of your skin is of the utmost importance. By using amazing products like the ones found at Topicals, you can keep your skin in tip-top shape to keep everything from acne, to pigmentation, (and everything in between) at bay.
While the fungal acne can be a bit bothersome, the cause is usually easily treated and even preventable with a regular skincare routine using high-quality products like the ones found at Topicals.
Topicals is a unique skincare company that creates science-backed, dermatologist-approved products to work with your skin -- not against it. With a passion for making the world a healthier and happier place, it’s easy to see why we’re a go-to for those looking to show their skin some love.
Whether you’re battling acne, eczema, hyperpigmentation, or some other skin issue causing you stress, let Topicals join your team!
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Cold sores are tiny blisters that form around the mouth affect more than 150 million people across the nation.
Also referred to as 'fever blisters,' cold sores typically develop on and around the lips and mouth as tiny, fluid-filled blisters or lesions.
Over many days or weeks, they can break open and develop into a crust before healing. Cold sores are primarily caused by the HSV-1 variation of the herpes virus, which affects roughly 67 percent of people worldwide under 50. Don’t sweat it.
What Exactly are Cold Sores?
Cold sores are primarily caused by the HSV-1 variation of the herpes virus. Not to be confused with HSV-2, which usually affects the genital area, HSV-1 primarily causes the development of cold sores (herpes lesions) on and around the lips and mouth. Cold sores are super contagious and can spread like wildfire through saliva or skin contact.
Generally speaking, people first get it when they are kids due to close contact (whether from a parent or a first kiss). Interestingly enough, only about 20 percent of those carrying the virus ever get symptoms - that is, break out in actual cold sores or small blisters.
Cold sores can also spread from eating utensils, lip balm, and toothbrushes. They can also be triggered by various weather conditions, a weak immune system, and stress.
The first sign of blisters can appear within days or weeks or even years following that very first exposure to the virus. The very first time symptoms appear, they are usually more intense than subsequent outbreaks. For example, some individuals experience more pain at the blister or even flu-like symptoms, including fever, swollen glands, or sore throat.
Wait, are cold sores the same as canker sores?
Not exactly. Cold sores typically appear around the mouth, while canker sores appear in the mouth. What’s more, cold sores are caused by a virus, while bacteria cause canker sores but, interestingly. If a cold sore does happen to appear in the mouth, it’s usually on the roof of the mouth. Canker sores typically clear up on their own, and the healing time is usually a few weeks.
Common Signs And Symptoms Of Cold Sores
As we mentioned a little earlier, the first outbreak is usually the most severe, with symptoms varying from person to person.
Some of the most common first-time cold sore symptoms may include:
- Blisters or lesions on the lips, mouth, nose, cheeks, or throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Fever and body aches
- Mouth and throat pain
- Difficulty swallowing
You will experience irritating blisters with recurrent outbreaks, but the more severe symptoms, like fever and body aches, are less likely to return.
A cold sore can pop up at really any given time after you are first infected with the virus. However, you may also notice some early signs of an outbreak a day or two before a blister appears. It’s important to check in with yourself and pay attention to your body so you know what to do.
Early symptoms of a cold sore may include:
The blister typically appears within 12 to 24 hours of the first symptom. After a couple of days, the blister will burst and ooze with pus, ultimately resulting in a scab.
The Stages of a Cold Sore
A cold store goes through five stages:
Tingling and itching occur about 12 to 48 hours before blisters erupt.
- Tiny fluid-filled blisters appear.
- The blisters burst, ooze and form tiny painful sores.
- The sores dry out and eventually scab over, causing cracking and itching.
- The scab finally falls off, and the cold sore heals.
How to Prevent a Cold Sore Outbreak
Mayo Clinic recommends visiting a general doctor or a dermatology practice; they can conduct a visual exam to confirm if you have cold sores or not.
Once you’ve been infected with cold sores, there are quite a few things that can trigger a cold sore outbreak, some of which include:
Your skin does not like stress, so try to keep it minimal, okay? Research has shown that feeling stressed or under pressure can definitely affect you physically. So if you’re wondering if stress can be one of the many culprits behind cold sources -- the answer is yes.
When you're under mental stress, your immune system always tends to suffer. This provides your dormant cold sore virus a chance to multiply itself and form itty-bitty blisters.
If you’re feeling super stressed, take a deep breath and try these home remedies:
- Go outdoors and spend time in nature
You can also treat yourself to your very own relaxing spa night! Fill the bath with some warm bubble water, light a candle or two, put on a super hydrating whipped mask like the one from Topicals (our fave), pour yourself a glass of rosé, and relax as your troubles and stress melt away.
Incertain scenarios, medication may be required to help treat the cause of cold sores.
Here are over-the-counter and prescription medications that could help with healing cold sores:
- Docosanol (or Abreva)
Fatigue, believe it or not, is another possible answer when it comes to what can cause a cold sore outbreak. Feeling burnt out and tired can make you vulnerable to cold sores because lower energy stores weigh on your immune system.
Getting quality shut-eye each and every night is key to helping your body fight off the virus (or any virus) and prevent it from producing painful blisters. A handful of things can interfere with getting a solid night’s sleep -- from having too much caffeine to stress.
Here are a few simple ways to help you get the quality sleep your body needs:
- Stick to a bedtime routine.
- Avoid blue light from screens (phone, TV, laptop, etc.) after 8 pm. (Ugh, right? But hey, you have to do it. Your skin will thank you.)
- Eat sleep-promoting foods such as beans, lean proteins, and fresh veggies.
- Exercise earlier in the day (ideally in the morning).
- Make your bedroom dark, quiet, and comfortable.
Sun exposure -- along with the common cold and fatigue -- is one of the top three causes of cold sores. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to protect yourself:
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat.
- Stay in the shade.
- Wear a lip sunscreen or block.
Chilly weather can also trigger cold sores. Changes in air moisture and temperature can lessen the body's ability to keep the virus from producing blisters. The colder temps,dry winter air and wind -- can cause your lips to dry out, making them much more vulnerable to a cold sore outbreak.
Show your lips some love and keep blisters at bay with these simple methods:
- Dress warmly.
- Protect your face against cold, sun, and wind.
- Drink plenty of liquids to keep yourself properly hydrated.
- Stay indoors to avoid severe weather.
The rise and fall of hormones during your menstrual cycle can be a cause of cold sores, too. These painful blisters are often experienced just before or during your time of the month as a result of the hormonal changes. Some folks also experience cold sore outbreaks during pregnancy and menstruation.
To combat this, you can try the following tips:
- Get more rest.
- Try relaxation exercises.
- Pay close attention to your menstrual cycle.
Weakened Immune System
Cold sore bacteria lies inactive in nerve cells found in your mouth. But while your immune system usually does an excellent job of making sure that the virus doesn’t multiply and result in blisters, if it’s busy fighting off another virus or infection -- such as the flu or a cold -- you may experience a cold sore outbreak.
Here are some steps you can try to help avoid a blister outbreak during cold and flu season:
- Get a flu vaccination.
- Be super germ conscious and wash your hands more often.
- Give your body time to rest, relax, and repair.
- Eat healthy foods that are rich in vitamins A, C, and E.
- Stop smoking.
Cold sores can be difficult to deal with. However, with a little bit of guidance and practice, you can prevent future outbreaks from occurring to keep blisters at bay. One of those ways is by eliminating stress. Try meditating or simply show yourself some love with a fab skincare routine using top-notch products like the ones from Topicals.
Topicals are much more than beauty and much more than skincare; they are the new standard-- medicated botanicals. Using science-backed ingredients and herbals to soothe, hydrate, and moisturize skin gently, it’s hard not to feel relaxed after using Topicals!
Check out Topicals today and transform the way you feel about your skin tomorrow.
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If we’re being honest, many of us don’t know much about our skin. We may know that it is a little dry, or a little oily, or even acne-prone, but that’s about it. And we have to think, is the insight we have into our skin even correct? When it comes to proper care, it’s easy to get lost in a sea of skincare products that don’t exactly work out the way we thought they would. It’s also possible to start the day with an even complexion that’s slick from oil by midday. All of the oily babes, stand up!
We have news for you: with the right products, a little bit of guidance, and some well-deserved self-confidence, you can help you and your skin become even better friends.
What Exactly is Oily Skin
We all need a certain amount of natural oil to keep our skin supple, soft, and moisturized. Your specific skin type is determined by how much oil the skin on your face produces, and depending on this, your skin type can be categorized as oily, dry, or even a combination of the two.
An oily skin type is exactly what it sounds like -- excess oil (sebum) on the face that produces a persistently shiny appearance. If you don’t cleanse your oily skin, your pores can become enlarged and clogged, causing dead skin cells to accumulate, resulting in acne.
The Science Behind the Oil
Sebaceous glands are located within your skin and are responsible for secreting an oily substance called sebum. This oily substance works to lubricate the skin, protecting it from drying out or becoming irritated. Cool, right?
So sebum -- along with sweat -- is secreted through your pores. When this process goes smoothly, oil not only lubricates your skin but also removes dead skin cells and other irritants from your pores as well.
However, when overactive sebaceous glands produce sebum in excess, your skin tends to look super-shiny, and your pores can become clogged and irritated, leading to pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. It’s pretty common tbh.
How To Know If You Have Oily-Type Skin
It’s not too difficult to tell if you have oily skin. Look for these signs:
You get frequent breakouts, especially when your hormones fluctuate around your time of the month.
Your skin becomes shiny within the hour after cleansing.
You have relatively large pores and are prone to blackheads on your nose.
Makeup doesn’t stay on correctly and seems to “slide” off.
Take special note of your T-zone. This is the region of the face consisting of your nose and forehead, which naturally tend to have more active oil glands that produce excess sebum.
If your T-zone is especially oily, but the rest of your face looks dry, flaky, or even normal, then you have combination-type skin. It’s okay, seriously. Most of us do.
Causes of Oily Skin
From your genetics to the climate, there are a wide range of factors that may be why you have oily skin.
Oily skin is hereditary.
If your parents have oily skin, you probs will too. Why? Because oily skin is linked to a hereditary disposition to overproduce the hormone dihydrotestosterone, which triggers an excess of sebum production in the skin. Give mom and dad a big hug---y’all are likely in this together.
Where you live and the time of year.
While your genetics drive the underlying cause of your oily skin, where you live and the time of the year can also make a huge difference. People typically tend to have oilier skin in hot, humid climates. You are also much more likely to have more oil on your skin during the warm summer months than you would in the cooler months. But don’t let that stop you from having a hot girl summer.
While you may not be able to pick up and relocate because of your oily skin, you can adjust your day-to-day routine during months of high heat and humidity. Keep blotting sheets handy to touch up excess oil throughout the day. A quality matte moisturizer or foundation can also help to soak up extra oil.
You’re definitely not imagining it -- even after puberty comes and goes, hormones can still mess with your skin. Welcome to life.
During menopause, pregnancy, around your period, and at times even with just some stress, hormonal fluctuations can encourage excess grease and breakouts. Why? Because androgens -- the hormones responsible for oil production -- sometimes like to fluctuate, stimulating an increase in oil (aka sebum) production.
Harsh skin care products.
Believe it or not, sometimes oily skin can be triggered by using the wrong skincare products. Who would’ve thought?
When choosing the most popping products for oily skin, look for ones that are in gel or lotion formulations. We love our Faded Brightening and Clearing Gel for oily skin because it’s made with gentle exfoliating acids to scrub away dirt and soothing shea butter to brighten and revive tired skin.
This powerful gel serum gently fades the look of your most marks, spots, and scars.. Light-weight and totally free from animal testing, dye, and fragrance, Faded is a must-have for anyone looking to bring balance to their oily skin.
How to Care for Oily Skin
Best Tips To Treat Oily Skin? We’ve Got You.
So, you’ve got oily skin and are wondering how to manage it. We can help.
Avoid over-washing your face.
That squeaky-clean feeling that comes from washing your face really thoroughly might be satisfying, but over doing it is a hard no. Cleaning your skin with harsh, drying skincare products can actually leave your face more slick than when it started.
Balance is key. By using harsh washes too frequently, you strip away the natural protective barrier, causing your skin to be immediately dry and the body to react by producing too much oil -- again. This creates a ferocious dry skin-oily skin cycle. Do yourself a favor and just chill a bit, okay?
Stick to gentle quality cleansers and limit your face washing to just twice a day to keep your skin balanced, healthy, and happy.
You can also try Topicals’ Faded Brightening and Clearing Gel, designed to gently scrub your troubles away while leaving behind flawless, smooth skin.
Don’t forget to moisturize. #StayGlossy
While it might feel just a little counter-productive, moisturizing in the morning and at night will actually help to keep your skin’s oil production in check.
Be sure to stick to lightweight, non-comedogenic formulas which preserve the skin’s natural defense against blemishes and spots without clogging pores. Our Like Butter Hydrating Mask is packed with powerful botanicals for skin so smooth, it’s like butter!
Designed to help fortify your skin’s damaged moisture barrier, this thick yet lightweight whipped mask is perfect for those who have oily skin.
Avoid touching your face.
Although it’s pretty tempting to touch your face, doing so can spread oil, dirt, and bacteria from your hands, which can leave you with an breakout. Only touch your face when you are cleansing, moisturizing, or applying sunscreen or makeup. And whatever you do, always make sure your hands are clean first! Thank us later.
Hey cutie! To wrap up, oily skin is pretty easy to treat once you have the right products in your skincare cabinet.
For all of your skincare needs, whether you’re struggling with excess oil, dry, flaky skin, or a moisture barrier that needs some TLC, Topicals has your back.
Check out Topicals today and see the difference quality products can make on your skin. Trust us -- you’ll be glad you did!
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What Is Perioral Dermatitis? Causes & Treatments
You might not know perioral dermatitis by name, but chances are, you’ve either experienced the scaly red rash yourself or you know someone who has. In fact, Hailey Bieber shared that she struggles with the skin condition, stating that some products irritate her skin, giving her an itchy rash around her mouth and eyes.
But perioral dermatitis causes can sometimes be linked to more than just the wrong skincare routine.
Interested in learning more? Read on to learn everything you need to know about perioral dermatitis, including what it is, what causes it, and how it’s treated.
What Exactly is Perioral Dermatitis?
If you have a red rash around your mouth, you may have perioral dermatitis. This rash often looks like small, red, acne-like breakouts in those with light-colored skin and skin-colored breakouts in those who have dark-colored skin.
But regardless of the color, this rash can be extremely itchy, and sometimes it can also cause a burning sensation. It’s also possible that you won’t experience any itching or burning -- you’ll likely have dry and flaky skin where you have the rash, though.
While this rash is notorious for developing around the mouth, it can also appear around your nose and eyes. Some people even get it around their genitals. If you happen to have perioral dermatitis in any of these areas, your dermatologist may say you have periorificial dermatitis.
Periorificial dermatitis is actually a much more accurate name for this rash. “Peri” means “around,” and “orifical” refers to “an opening.” No matter where this rash appears, though, people often refer to it as perioral dermatitis, which literally means “around the mouth.”
Causes Perioral Dermatitis
To be honest, doctors don’t know exactly what causes perioral dermatitis. It affects women far more than men, but experts say there are a ton of unanswered questions about potential triggers as they tend to vary from person to person. Ugh, right?
One of the most common causes is steroid cream (including OTC hydrocortisone creams and prescription meds). Many individuals make the mistake of using these creams on their rash because they think it’ll help clear it up, but it can actually make it much worse. Other factors that may trigger perioral dermatitis include:
Depleting The Skin Barrier
Ok so boom.Your skin barrier is essentially a combo of lipids (a fancy word for fats) and skin cells that keep your skin functioning and healthy to protect your insides. Sabotaging your skin barrier allows moisture from your skin to evaporate easier and lets irritants enter your body. Basically, it ain’t good!
Lack of intact barrier function results in a loss of your skin being able to protect itself. The skin gets chronically irritated, inflammation sets in -- and perioral dermatitis is one of the manifestations.
There are plenty of ways you might damage your skin barrier, including environmental exposure, not drinking enough H2O, and going too hamon harsh cosmetic products.. Misusing physical and chemical exfoliators is a major culprit too.
Hormonal changes from pregnancy can sometimes trigger perioral dermatitis. There is also evidence that hormonal birth control can play a role.
Other possibilities that may contribute to perioral dermatitis include:
Toothpaste containing fluoride (not a proven cause, but it’s associated with perioral dermatitis)
Nasal or inhaled corticosteroid meds that accidentally get on the skin
There are also some theories that dairy may be a contributing factor in perioral dermatitis, but there isn’t sufficient research to back this.
Additionally, other conditions can sometimes look very similar to perioral dermatitis. For instance, allergic contact dermatitis, an allergy to certain ingredients in skincare products or even certain foods, can trigger a similar red, flaky rash. Sometimes, foods like tomatoes or cinnamon can trigger this kind of allergic rash, which can easily be mistaken for perioral dermatitis if it shows up around the lips and mouth.
How to Treat Perioral Dermatitis
At this time, there is no cure for perioral dermatitis, but there are many options to manage the condition. Prevention, natural remedies, and avoiding triggers, along with medicines, can help you to heal faster. So don’t stress about it.
Here are some of the best tips and tricks to prevent flare-ups and manage perioral dermatitis.
Assess Your Skincare Routine
First things first, stop all potentially irritating products! No scrubbing or foaming cleansers and no active ingredients either.
Yep, stay away from the AHAs and take it back to basics. Instead, replace them with gentle cleansing and moisturizing, morning and night, as you aim to reduce any further irritation.
Not sure where to look? We’ve got you. Check out our hydrating mask LIKE BUTTER here at Topicals -- it’s a thick, whipped mask packed with powerful botanicals for skin so smooth, it’s like butter. Not only does LIKE BUTTER restore and soothe dry, flaky skin, but it will also help to fortify your skin’s damaged moisture barrier.
Also check out FADED -- it’s our gel serum that gently fades the look of your most stubborn scars, marks, and spots so that you can kick back and let your worries fade away. Made with science-backed ingredients and herbals, this powerful ,yet gentle,brightening and clearing gel will do wonders.
Stop Using Steroid Cream
Experts recommend stopping the use of steroid creams, especially if they are the suspected trigger. You are likely to see a rebound or flare-up of perioral dermatitis after you stop using the cream, but this is just your skin adjusting, so don’t be tempted to start using it again. Go easy on yourself.
The gold standard prescription is oral anti-inflammatory antibiotics, specifically in the tetracycline family. The ones commonly prescribed are doxycycline and Minomycin. A topical anti-inflammatory, non-steroid cream can also help.
Diet And Lifestyle Modifications
As we mentioned, it’s not totally certain as to what causes perioral dermatitis, but gluten intolerance is a known cause of flare-ups.
To control and prevent recurrences, your diet needs more of:
Spinach, kale, and fenugreek
Quinoa and millets
And this is what you should eliminate from your diet to help improve the condition:
Spices such as cinnamon
Excessively spicy and salty foods
We know it might suck, but your skin will appreciate you even more than it already does.
Protect Your Skin From The Sun
A lot of folks dealing with perioral dermatitis find their flare ups increase when exposed to sunlight. But, believe it or not, the same proportion finds that their skin actually improves from the sun. It’s a little complicated.
This is really similar to how different people living with different skin conditions react to sunshine -- for example, some people with eczema can soak up the warm summer rays and find the sunny season is when their skin is at its best, while others find being out in the sun makes everything more intense, making them itchy, hot and inflamed. You can only go by your own experience.
It’s also important to realize that many people with the condition find that sunscreen makes their skin worse, rather than the sunshine itself. Medical advice is to avoid sunburn, so if you’re one of those whose skin flares up when you’re in the sun, you’ll either need to find a hypoallergenic sunscreen that your skin tolerates well or simply avoid the sun by wearing wide-brimmed hats or staying in the shade.
Perioral dermatitis can definitely be tough, not to mention painful in some cases, but the good news is that you can get through it.
In the long-term outlook, most people will get better with treatment and then do well for a period of time -- but it’s fairly common to have a recurrence of the rash or a flare-up at a later time. Even if you’re doing everything right, you may still experience perioral dermatitis. It’s life.
To keep your skin feeling extra loved, head on over to Topicals to be there when flare-ups slide through. We got you!
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Pimples can be a real challenge to treat, no matter where you get them. Getting these red bumps isn’t limited to your teen years, either. Acne can happen at literally any age and for a wide variety of reasons. Pimples can appear on any part of your body, including your back. That’s life.
With a little bit of patience and the right products, you can clear that acne up in no time. Read on to learn everything you need to know about back acne and how you can give those zits the peace sign.
What Exactly is Back Acne?
So, what exactly is back acne, anyway? As the name implies, it’s acne that forms on your back. Simple enough, right?
Back acne, also known as bacne, can be a bit much. Not only can it make you reluctant to wear certain things in the summer, like your favorite itty-bitty bikini, but it can also be quite sore. Not cool.
Causes of Back Acne
The reason for acne popping up on our backs is similar to the reason why acne appears anywhere else on our body. Acne is caused by increased oil production, pore blockage, bacteria, and irregular skin cell turnover.
The sebaceous glands found in your skin produce oil, which can collect along with dead skin cells in the pores. This plugs them up, providing bacteria the ultimate breeding ground. Combined, this can lead to redness, blackheads, whiteheads, and in some cases, infection.
Your hormones can play a large role as well, which is why you might break out more around your time of the month, for instance. And if you happen to notice that your breakouts are in similar places as other members of your family, that could signal that your acne has a hereditary component (thanks, fam).
While the root cause of pimples are basically the same on both the skin and back, the skin itself is different for each one, which comes with upsides and downsides.
The skin on that sweet face of yours has more blood supply, which helps your acne to heal much faster, reducing scarring. The skin on your back, on the other hand, is much thicker than the skin on your face. So it goes.
This means that the back is more resilient and can handle stronger scrubs, exfoliants, and treatments that would be considered too intense for the skin on your face.
However,not everything that looks like bacne is actually acne. For instance, so-called fungal acne tends to make its debut on the back and chest area, forming small, red, uniformed bumps. But traditional acne treatments won’t help manage it at all, so if you’re not exactly sure what your issue really is, it may be a good idea to get it checked out by a professional.
Types of Back Acne
Did you know that there are different types of back acne? Whew, as if pimples weren’t enough!
The different types of acne lesions that can occur on your back include:
Whiteheads: Also known as closed comedones, whiteheads develop when a clogged follicle stays closed and remains underneath your skin, forming a small white bump.
Blackheads: When a clogged follicle located on the surface of your skin opens and comes in contact with air, it forms what we all know as a blackhead.
Papules: Acne that appears as small, pink bumps on your skin and that is often tender to the touch is called papules. This type of acne does not contain pus and occurs when a clogged hair follicle becomes inflamed.
Pustules: Also known as a good ol’ pimple, a pustule is a yellow or white pus-filled papule with a reddened base. These lesions also result from inflammation in a clogged hair follicle. A buildup of white blood cells is to blame for the pustule filling with pus.
Nodules: This type of painful acne forms when bacteria become trapped in a hair follicle. These lesions develop deep below the surface of your skin, where it hardens, forming a large, painful nodule. The deeper location of the lesion results in tissue damage, causing an inflammatory response.
Cysts: Cysts are larger, pus-filled acne lesions that also form when bacteria become stuck in a hair follicle. With cystic acne, the infection extends deep down into the skin, resulting in a painful lump that usually results in a permanent scar.
How to Treat Back Acne
Now that you know exactly what back acne is and what the different types of lesions are, let’s talk about treatments, okay?
In most cases, you can minimize bacne by making some lifestyle changes and using at-home remedies.
Here are a few tips and tricks you can try:
Shower after every workout.
Allowing the dirt and sweat to sit on your skin after a workout can be a huge contributor to your bacne. Exercising with no shirt against a dirty floor or a gym machine can also cause issues.
As soon as you get home from doing those butt-boosting squats, hop in the shower as. You should also wash sweaty gym clothes between sessions, okay?
Wear loose-fitting clothes.
Believe it or not, your clothing can irritate back acne. For instance, tight clothing can trap sweat and dirt and rub it deeper into your pores. Aim for loose-fitting clothing that allows your skin to breathe, helping to wick away sweat.
Choose sunscreen carefully.
Protecting your skin from the damaging sun’s UV rays is important, especially if you’re exposing your bare back. The solution? Sunscreen, of course! However, greasy sunscreen can contribute to clogged pores, resulting in acne. So, always wear sunscreen, just be sure to pick products that are oil-free and light on the skin.
Eat a balanced diet.
Your diet plays a major factor in the health of your skin. In fact, if you’re prone to acne, certain foods could be triggers to the breakouts on your back.
Research suggests that foods high on the glycemic index, meaning they cause your blood sugar to rise quickly, may intensify your acne. These foods include: white pasta, bread, rice, and potatoes. (So basically, all of the good stuff.) It's good to practice balanced eating habits, with a diet rich in fresh veggies, fruits, lean protein, and whole grains.
Wash your sheets!
Get into the habit of washing your sheets on the reg -- especially if you’re a back sleeper! This removes dead skin cells and bacteria from your bedding, which can easily clog your pores and prolong back acne. Keep those sheets clean, period.
If you’re looking to banish your bacne as soon as possible, another great solution is using a powerful topical made with ingredients and herbals designed to fight acne. There are a ton of different products on the market, but the truth is that they are all not created equal. So, what does one look for?
Look for a company like Topicals that creates blemish-fighting, science-backed, dermatologist-approved products to transform the way you feel about your skin. Topicals products are always free of synthetics, fragrances and dyes, and are vegan and cruelty-free. If you’re struggling with the battle scars left behind by bacne, Topicals can help -- even without all the harsh chemicals commonly found in most over-the-counter acne treatments today.
Give your back some extra love with Topicals, and you’ll have happier skin in no time.
Following a skincare routine that works for your skin with awesome products like the ones found at Topicals can help you kick those marks and scars to the curb.
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Skin Boils: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
There are a ton of different skin conditions that cause bumps and lumps. The terms for all of these types of lesions can be confusing(zits, cysts, pustules, blemishes, and boils, just to name a few), but they’re all different.
Some are relatively harmless, while others can be a cause for concern. While boils rarely cause serious complications, you shouldn’t ignore them. But what exactly are they, and how can you reduce them?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about boils and how you can kiss them goodbye.
What Exactly is a Boil?
A boil is a large painful lump on the skin. It’s a type of infection that tends to develop around an oil gland or a hair follicle. At first, the skin turns red in the area of the infection, then a small tender lump develops. After about four to seven days, the small, red lump starts turning white as pus collects under the skin.
The most common spots where a boil may pop up is on your face, neck, shoulder, or booty. They can also form under your armpit as well as on the eyelid, which is known as a stye. If several boils appear in a group, this is a more serious type of infection, known as a carbuncle.
Causes of Boils
Believe it or not, there are many causes of boils. Some can be caused by ingrown hair, while others form as a result of a foreign material (like a splinter) that has become lodged in the skin. Other boils, such as those of acne, are caused by clogged sweat glands that become inflamed and infected.
Your skin is such an essential part of your immune defense against materials and microbes that are foreign to your body. Any break -- no matter how small that break might be -- can develop into an abscess should it become infected with bacteria. It gets real, fast.
Although just about anyone can get a boil, these health problems make people more susceptible to skin infections:
How to Treat Boils
Medical professionals are the only ones who can safely remove the core of a boil. Removing the core is an outpatient procedure that requires a local anesthetic. Once the boil is numb, the doctor will cut a small incision, allowing some of the pus to drain out. A doctor may then insert a little gauze into the incision to help drain additional pus.
A boil will typically heal on its own within one to three weeks, but if you happen to experience one or more of the following symptoms, it’s important to check in with your doctor immediately.
Why, might you ask? Well, because in some cases, the bacteria from a boil can get into your bloodstream, which can then affect your heart and other internal organs -- not good!
When to seek medical care:
Swelling or worsening pain after several days
Development of an additional boil or stye
Swollen lymph nodes
You have diabetes or a heart murmur, any issues with your immune system, or if you use suppressing drugs such as corticosteroids or chemotherapy.
Boil or MRSA Infection?
MRSA can look exactly like a boil: red, inflamed, swollen, pus-filled, and tender to the touch. But MRSA infections are caused by one particular type of staph that is resistant to many antibiotics.
If what you think is a boil spread or doesn’t improve after 2-3 days of antibiotics, your doctor may suspect MRSA. The right treatment given promptly is crucial to healing MRSA, preventing a deeper, more dangerous infection.
How to Treat Boils
Boils can be an absolute pain, and in some cases, they can grow as large as an egg!
Since bacteria and germs are everywhere in our environments and on many people’s skin, the very best defense against these lumps includes:
Careful cleaning of scrapes, cuts, and other wounds
Handwashing or use of alcohol-based hand sanitizer
Not sharing towels, razors, sheets, clothes, etc.
Keeping wounds covered
Always wash your sheets, towels, and anything else that comes in contact with an infected area in very hot water. For disposal, toss any wound dressings in a tightly sealed bag. You got this.
What About Skincare?
Taking care of your skin with a great skincare routine can help immensely to prevent boils from popping up. As we mentioned a little earlier, boils can occur due to acne, which can be prevented with top-notch, blemish-fighting products.
Treating a boil can be tough, but preventing one from occurring is simple, especially with the help of a poppingskincare routine.
How To Treat Boils
Home treatment is an option for most simple boils. Ideally, you should begin treatment the moment you notice one, as early treatment may prevent later complications.
The treat a boil or stye at home, experts recommend the following steps:
Make a warm compress. Applying heat is arguably the best way to treat a boil at home. To make a warm compress, all you need to do is soak a clean washcloth in hot water, but be careful not to use water that is too hot, as we don’t want to burn your delicate skin!
Apply the warm compress. Hold your warm compress to the boil for roughly 10 to 15 minutes. Do this a few times daily until the boil releases pus and heals. Whatever you do, never squeeze, pinch, or piece a boil yourself because this can spread the infection.
Consider taking ibuprofen. If your boil is painful -- which chances are it is -- consider taking a pain reliever like ibuprofen to help reduce the pain. Your body will thank you for it, believe us.
Always keep the area clean. In addition to never popping it, it’s also important to always keep the area clean and avoid touching or rubbing the boil. If you have a stye on your eye, avoid wearing eye makeup or contact lenses until it heals. That flawless beat can wait.
Keep it covered. When your boil starts to drain, wash it with an antibacterial soap until all of the pus is gone and then clean it with rubbing alcohol. Apply a medicated ointment and cover it with an unused,sterile bandage (or gauze) to help prevent infection while it heals.
Once the boil has drained, you’ll need to clean the infected area two to three times a day until the wound has totally healed. If the area turns red or the surrounding skin looks angry, contact your doctor.
Are Boils Contagious?
Technically, no. However, the germs that cause boils (staph) are easily spread through skin-to-skin contact and contaminated objects. These bacteria are usually harmless unless they find a break in your skin (like a tiny cut). It’s okay though, we’ll put you on so you know how to avoid it.
To avoid spreading staph, don’t share towels, clothes, bedding, or even sports gear while you have a boil. Keep it covered at all times, and whatever you do, don’t touch it! Frequent hand-washing can also help to prevent the spread of bacteria.
Boils are painful bacterial skin infections that cause red, pus-filled bumps, usually forming around hair follicles or oil glands. Home treatments can help alleviate symptoms and prevent the spread of infection. Treatment generally consists of keeping the area clean and applying a warm compress to encourage the pus to drain from the core.
Although a boil can pop up at any time without warning, there are some things you can do to lessen the chance of getting one, such as having a top-notch skincare routine.
Stay away from products made with harsh chemicals and questionable ingredients since they can do more harm to your skin than good. Instead, reach for dermatologist-approved products made using healthy ingredients and herbals from a science-backed skincare company, like Topicals. We’ve got your back, always.
Topicals is a company like no other, using powerful medicated botanicals to fight marks, scars, and flare-ups on your skin. Formulated by experts, using scientifically-proven ingredients and made for every shade, Topicals is your secret weapon for healthy, happy skin.
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It’s pretty common for people to get tiny bumps, or cysts, under their skin. They can develop on most parts of the body, with some even found in hair follicles. Cysts can develop for many reasons and sometimes for no obvious reason at all, which often leaves us questioning our skincare routine and feeling like we need to hit up a dermatologist.
Cysts don’t typically need treatment, as they are usually painless and nothing to worry about—that is, unless they become sore or infected, in which case you should definitely seek medical advice. Like, ASAP.
Think you might have a cyst? If so, hello! In this article, we’ll tell you everything there is to know about these little bumps and how you can keep them at bay. So grab your cup of tea and get comfy.
What exactly is a Cyst?
Cysts are small pockets of tissue in the skin that are filled with substances such as pus, fluid, and air. They can occur on nearly any part of the body and there are hundreds of different types, affecting people of all ages. The most common ones are on top of the skin (epidermis). Sometimes they may feel like a strange, or new bump or lump.
Since cysts tend to vary in size.Small cysts may be detectable only under a microscope and in other cases, they can grow so large that they displace organs and tissues. The outer wall of a cyst is called the capsule.
Cysts form through a variety of processes in the body, including:
Blockages to the flow of fluid, then build up of fluid
Chronic inflammatory conditions
Defects in developing organs in the embryo
Genetic (inherited) conditions
In some cases, you can feel a cyst yourself. For example, cysts of the skin (epidermoid cysts) or tissues beneath the skin are usually pretty noticeable. Just trust yourself. Cysts in the breasts also may be palpable, which just means you can feel lumps when you examine the area with your fingers. Cysts on your internal organs such as the liver or kidneys (often pseudocysts), however, may not produce any symptoms at all, making them a little more challenging to detect.
Types of Cysts
Did you know that there are literally hundreds of different types of cysts? Cysts occur commonly in numerous organs and tissues and are often named according to their particular anatomic location. For example, if you have a cyst on your ovary, you have an ovarian cyst.
Here are some of the most common types of cysts:
You get acne when dead skin and sebum clog a pore. This often results in a small growth or what we all know as simply a pimple. Pimples usually go away on their own or with top-notch over-the-counter drugs. But if your zit is more serious or gets very irritated, you might get a larger, squishy growth known as an acne cyst. It’s okay though, it happens.
A soft, fluid-filled lump can form behind your knee if you injure the joint because of a torn ligament, inflammation, arthritis, or other causes. You might mistake this type of cyst for a blood clot.
The teenyBartholin glands are located deep under the skin on either side of the vaginal opening. If something happens to block a duct in one of these glands, it automatically will fill with mucus, causing it to get bigger. It could even become infected and form a sore called an abscess. (Whew!)
You might notice one or more small, smooth lumps on your breast, but you can’t always feel them. They may be a bit painful in the days just before your menstrual cycle comes or when you drink a little too much caffeine. (Yes, there unfortunately is a thing as too much caffeine *sigh*) They’re very common and more likely right before menopause or afterward, especially if you take replacement hormones.
In the womb, a tiny tot’s bladder connects to its belly button through a channel known as the urachus in the abdominal wall gut. If it doesn’t close by the time the baby is born, a small lump of tissue and fluid -- aka a cyst -- can grow there. If it gets infected, the baby could have belly button pain, fever, and bloody urine.
When a sebaceous cyst occurs, something blocks a gland around a hair or irritates the follicle, often on your ear, head, face, trunk, or groin, causing a bump to grow slowly beneath the skin's surface. It’s usually soft enough to move when you touch it and doesn’t hurt, but you might notice a smell.
When a loose hair gets pushed back into the skin, your body naturally sees it as a threat and builds a little pocket of fluid around it. Thanks, body. With a pilonidal cyst, you might notice some irritation at the base of your spine in the crease where your bootybegins. If it gets inflamed and infected, it can become very painful and, in many cases, needs to get removed.
A ganglion cyst is a lump filled with liquid, most often near tendons or joints on your fingers or wrist. Joint or tendon stress might cause it, but experts are still not totally sure. Either way, relax yourself angel!
This cyst may hurt and sometimes change in size.
Eggs from a pork tapeworm -- a parasite -- can pass into your drink or food contaminated with poop. Yikes! They then hatch in your gut and send small round “oncospheres” through your blood to the liver, muscles, brain, and other organs, where they form cysts. This is known as cysticercosis.
A mucous cyst, a fluid-filled lump that forms on the lip or around the mouth when the salivary glands become clogged with mucus. These cysts are pretty common and are caused by lip or cheek biting, lip piercings, rupture of the salivary gland and/or poor dental hygiene.
How to Treat Cysts
By now, you know exactly what a cyst is and understand that there are many different types of cysts, but what is the best treatment to get rid of ‘em?
Well, the treatment really depends on the underlying cause of the cyst and whether or not the cyst is causing issues. Many cysts are benign (not cancerous) and require no medical treatment at all. However, large cysts tend to result in symptoms due to compression of normal tissue and obstruction of ducts. Most of these cysts can be treated by simply draining them, thereby collapsing the cyst, but others need to be seen by a healthcare provider, possibly for surgical removal, especially if there is any suspicion of malignancy (cancerous, especially skin cancer).
Are There Any Home Remedies For Cysts?
As tempting as it may be, self-treatment by popping or squeezing a cyst (or any pus-filled lesion) is never advised because it could exacerbate the underlying cause in some people. Additionally, it may also cause the cyst to enlarge or become infected, making it a million times worse. Just chill.
Well, Is It Possible to Prevent a Cyst?
The short answer? For the most part, nope. However, if an underlying cause of a cyst is prevented, then the resultant cyst may also be prevented.
Take acne cysts, for example. These red bumps can result from a combination of bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells that get trapped in your pores, not to mention skin conditions that induce acne.
So, to prevent an acne cyst from occurring, your skincare routine is of the utmost importance! Washing your face with only the best products can do wonders for your skin, keeping bacteria, oil, and dead skin cells at bay, which helps prevent acne cysts from ever occurring in the first place.
Cysts are fluid-filled sacs that can develop in tissues in any part of your body. They're relatively common, and there are many different types. Tumors, parasites, injuries, and infections can all cause a cyst.
If you have a cyst, don’t panic! Most of them are noncancerous and tend to go away over time without ever needing to be seen by a healthcare professional. However, if you’re worried and experiencing pain, you should check in with your doc right away.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body, so taking care of it is of the utmost importance. Use science-backed and dermatologist approved products like the ones at Topicals to help combat oil, bacteria, and dead skin cells, which could ultimately result in a cyst.
With scientifically-proven ingredients, formulated by experts and made for every shade, Topicals is the ultimate tool for your already beautiful skin.
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Hives: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments
Hives are a common health condition that many of us just don’t quite understand. Although they are most common during the summer months, hives can show up totally unannounced at any time. Great, right?
But what exactly are they? What causes them and why do some people get them and others don’t? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this skin condition and how you can relieve hives.
What Exactly are Hives?
If you’ve ever had strange red or skin-colored bumps that appeared as quickly as they disappeared, then it’s unlikely to be a simple bug bite. The skin rash could be hives, also known as urticaria, which affects about 20 percent of people at some point or another in their lives.
Hives are itchy welts on the skin that can vary greatly in their sizes.
They can be as small as a tiny pinhead or as big as a dinner plate. They can happen anywhere on the body, and the spots might look like rings, or groups of rings joined together in clusters.
There are a handful of different types of hives, although the effects are mostly the same.
The different types of hives include:
Acute urticaria. This rash lasts less than six weeks and is usually brought on by an allergic reaction to certain foods or medications. Insect bites and infections can also cause acute urticaria. Once again, mosquitos prove that they are the worst.
Chronic urticaria and angioedema. These relentless rashes last for more than six weeks. They may be caused by an underlying medical condition, such as cancer, hepatitis, or thyroid disease. Chronic urticaria and angioedema is a much more serious and severe form of hives than acute urticaria because it can spread quickly to different areas of the body, including your lungs, GI tract, and muscles. Angioedema is not usually itchy like most forms of hives, but it causes a deeper swelling of the skin.
Physical urticaria. This is due solely to irritation of the skin. Extreme cold or heat, overexposure to the sun’s powerful UV rays, excessive sweating, or clothes rubbing your skin during a workout can all result in an outbreak. This type of rash is pretty common and rarely spreads beyond the original location.
Dermatographism. This skin condition is when your hives occur due to scratching or vigorously rubbing the skin.
Cholinergic urticaria. Believe it or not, there’s a form of hives that occurs as a response to your body’s own sweat. Thanks, body. Known as cholinergic urticaria, this form of hives is commonly experienced in the summer and is often referred to as "heat bumps."
Causes of Hives
Experts know a lot more about what’s happening in the body when hives show up vs. what actually triggers them and why. To understand the basics, let’s chat about the body’s allergic response.
So, your body naturally produces mast cells, which act as part of your body's allergic response. When your body feels it’s been exposed to a threat, these mast cells may secrete numerous chemicals, most notably histamine.
In most cases, histamine causes your blood vessels to dilate and leak fluid, creating the hives. Histamine also affects your nerve cells, signaling your skin to be extremely itchy.
Many people assume that hives are the result of the release of histamine -- a powerful chemical that your body produces to attack and destroy allergens. Histamine does play a key role in the majority of cases, but it’s important to keep in mind that it can be much more complex than that. Some hives are beyond the scope of histamine and involve other chemicals.
In other situations where hives occur, basophils (another type of white blood cell) may be activated to release their hive-producing chemicals, causing the same effect. If you’re allergic to things like latex, medications, certain foods, or insects, and you come in contact with your allergen, a protein in your blood called immunoglobulin E will bind to the mast cells, causing them to release their contents -- including histamine.
Hives may also occur when other blood protein antibodies (besides immunoglobulin E) bind directly onto mast cells, encouraging them to release their contents, or when mast cells are completely destabilized or degranulated, which induces the chemical release.
So in a nutshell, a hives outbreak happens when high levels of histamine and other strong chemical messengers are released into the skin, causing a rash and other symptoms to surface.
Different triggers might cause someone to experience an outbreak of hives.
Some examples of known triggers include:
Foods, such as shellfish, eggs, nuts, food additives, wheat products, and strawberries
Medications, including some common antibiotics and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as aspirin
Bacterial infections, including the common cold, glandular fever, influenza, and hepatitis B
Extreme temperature changes
Pet dander from cats, dogs, horses, birds, and so on
Insect bites and stings
Some plants, including poison ivy, nettles, and poison oak
Chronic illness, such as lupus or thyroid disease
In over half of hives cases, people never find the exact cause. Experts believe chronic hives may start as an autoimmune response, but why it happens is unclear.
If you have a hive outbreak, it's important to keep in mind that certain things can make your symptoms worse, including:
How to Treat Hives
In most cases, home remedies and a little bit of TLC are all you need to relieve those hives. As long as you’re not dealing with angioedema or anaphylaxis, which both require immediate medical attention, you can try to relieve your hives at home.
For starters, the moment you notice a hive breakout, it’s a good idea to immediately jump in the shower.
It’s possible that you’ve come in contact with an allergen, so getting nice and squeaky clean will help to wash it away. Wash your skin with warm water and soap, and do your best to stay away from chemicals. Instead, use top-notch skin care products made with ingredients and herbals backed by science to help soothe your skin, not irritate it.
Applying something cool to your skin, such as a cold compress, is also a great way to relieve any irritation.
To do this, just grab a bag of frozen veggies or wrap a handful of ice in a towel and apply to the affected area for roughly ten minutes, repeating throughout the day as needed.
Lastly, do your best to relax and avoid scratching that itch. Stress can trigger your hives to worsen, so take it easy!
Since hives usually go away within 24 hours, it’s probably not necessary to go see your doctor if you have just one bout. Although, if your hives don’t go away on their own within a few days, it’s best to make an appointment.
If your throat or mouth starts to swell or if you experience trouble breathing, this is a medical emergency, and you need to seek care immediately.
When to See A Doctor
If your hives appear to come and go for longer than six weeks, they are considered chronic. It’s then a good idea to visit a dermatologist to see what’s going on.
The caveat? Although hive outbreaks in and of themselves generally aren’t really life-threatening, they can be associated with a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis, which can cause breathing issues, and requires immediate emergency care.
Angioedema is another condition that can negatively impact your breathing. Roughly 40 to 50 percent of hives are associated with angioedema, which involves swelling of the mouth, hands, feet, eyes, or throat. Meanwhile, anaphylaxis can occur if you’ve been in contact with something you’re allergic to, especially if that allergy is severe.
If you’ve ever experienced a hive outbreak, you know firsthand how they can be. They itch, cause welts, and sometimes even sting. Thankfully, getting rid of them is a breeze.
The moment you notice a hive outbreak coming on, get yourself in the shower ASAP! It’s possible that you’ve come in contact with an allergen, which is the culprit behind your outbreak.
But whatever you do, stay away from skin care products made with harsh chemicals that can irritate your skin further. Instead, stick with good quality products that are dermatologist approved and backed by science, like the ones found at Topicals.
Medicated botanicals made for you, scientifically-proven ingredients, formulated by experts, and made for every shade, Topicals is here to help soothe and heal, no matter what your skin is going through.
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What Is PCOS & What Are Some Ways to Manage?
Chances are that if you’re a person who happens to have ovaries, you’ve probably heard about a little thing called Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, more commonly known as PCOS. Maybe you heard about it from your bestie who went in for a routine check-up only to find that they had cysts on their ovaries, or maybe it was when model Romee Strijd shared that she was expecting a little bundle of joy two years after she was first diagnosed with the disorder. Or maybe it’s a condition that you've personally been diagnosed with.
It’s a pretty common disorder — PCOS affects one in 10 girls of reproductive age, women, or people with ovaries, and it’s across all ethnicities, so it’s pretty common, and the numbers are actually rising. So, you’re far from alone.
The great news is that PCOS is actually very treatable. So, before you go down an internet rabbit hole and start freaking out, read on for everything you need to know about living with PCOS.
What Exactly is PCOS?
First of all, although “polycystic ovary syndrome” sounds daunting, those with ovaries shouldn’t be too stressed” To be clear, syndrome just means certain things or certain symptoms that are grouped together. So just know that you have this grouping that’s associated with certain factors. You’re good, okay?
While doctors don’t know exactly what causes PCOS (it’s a multifactorial condition which simply means there are many symptoms that can contribute to someone’s diagnosis with PCOS), most experts think several contributors play a role, such as:
PCOS can likely be passed down genetically, meaning someone is much more likely to have the disorder if a first-degree relative also has it. One recent study found that those with PCOS have mothers with the disorder about one-fourth of the time, and a sister with the disorder one-third of the time. Another study found that identical twins were about twice as likely as non-identical twins or sisters to both have PCOS. To this day, it’s still quite clear as to which genes are involved in PCOS-risk inheritance.
For some women with PCOS, hormonal imbalances are likely caused by insulin excess. Insulin, the hormone responsible for processing sugar/glucose, also acts as a signal to the ovaries to produce testosterone.
When someone is insulin resistant (when they have a lower sensitivity to insulin for processing glucose), their body adjusts by making more insulin. This leads to much higher levels of testosterone, which can slow or stop the growth and release of eggs from the ovary and suppress the production of hormones like progesterone and estrogen that go along with a functioning menstrual cycle.
Roughly half to two-thirds of people with PCOS have been found to be insulin resistant. This group also tends to experience more symptoms and health complications of the disorder over time.
Inflammation is when tissue becomes swollen, red, and warmer than usual, often in response to an infection or injury. You can see inflammation at work when you twist your ankle or cut yourself. We all know that it sucks because sometimes it’s pretty painful.
But inflammation inside the body can also happen in response to stress, obesity, illness, and even genetics. As with insulin resistance, inflammation causes the body to produce extra insulin, creating the same pathway to testosterone production.
Those with PCOS are much more likely to have chronic low-grade inflammation, which is measured via blood tests for C-reactive protein (CRP is a marker of inflammation in the body). The root cause of inflammation in those with PCOS is, unfortunately, still unclear.
Researchers are looking into the role of environmental endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in causing PCOS. Prenatal or developmental exposure to certain compounds in cigarettes, consumer products, and air pollution may predispose a baby to develop PCOS later in life. Some of the compounds being investigated are bisphenol A (BPA), triclocarban, phthalates, and nicotine. They can be found amongst many different items you might use everyday like cosmetics, soaps, plastics, clothing, and toys, as well as in air pollution. They’re lowkey all around us. These compounds may alter the fetal environment by changing the levels of estrogens and androgens and may contribute to PCOS-related changes in fetal programming.
Symptoms of PCOS
Some of the most common symptoms of PCOS include:
You have irregular periods.
This can mean a period every two to three months or even a period once or twice a year. The length between periods might vary, but when it does come, it can be pretty heavy. We know it’s a bit much, but it’s a part of life when you have PCOS.
You experience unexplained weight gain.
Hormonal issues are notorious for causing added weight.
Your skin erupts with acne.
Hormonal shifts can lead to dryness, oily skin, and pimples, especially on areas like the face, chest, and upper back.
You grow hair in unexpected places.
This is known as hirsutism. Basically, hair growth on places like your chin, sides of your face, chest, back, and your tummy. On the flip side, you might also experience male-pattern baldness.
You have difficulty getting pregnant.
Since you don’t ovulate on a regular month-to-month basis, when you have PCOS, it can be much more challenging to conceive.
You’re tired all the time.
Many people with PCOS report increased fatigue and low energy.
Does Everyone Who Has Cysts on Their Ovaries Have PCOS?
One common misconception associated with PCOS is that anyone who has cysts on their ovaries has the condition, which isn’t true. In fact, the truth is that everyone has cysts on their ovaries and those cysts aren’t always a cause for concern.
You see, anyone who has ovaries stores their eggs in cysts (a little fluid-filled balloon). So we have these cysts every single month, and then they pop or ovulate, followed by a period two weeks later if we’re not pregnant. Sometimes, these cysts can rupture — which can be excruciatingly painful and may take someone to the ER — but this popping happens every month and is not indicative of PCOS.
When it comes to PCOS, the period issues are because of anovulation, meaning that people stop ovulating but the cysts don’t pop. That’s why you end up with a lot of cysts on the ovary.
How to Care for PCOS Flare-Ups
Between the long list of possible PCOS symptoms and the infrequency with which people are accurately diagnosed, if you have (or think you might have) this common disorder, it’s understandable that you might be feeling a little stressed right about now. Take a deep breath, boo. Remember, you got this.
Though PCOS is a serious condition that can’t be “cured,” there are plenty of treatment options that can alleviate symptoms and prevent long-term complications.
Here are some of the best tips for living with PCOS:
Adopt different habits. By eating a diet low in carbs and refined sugars, you can help reverse the imbalances of glucose and insulin in your body that cause PCOS symptoms to flare up.
Use quality skincare products. To combat acne and dry skin, which are both common in those with PCOS, be sure to follow a top-notch skincare routine each day using quality skin care products, like the ones from Topicals. Our Brightening and Clearing Gel, Faded, gently fades away stubborn marks, scars, and spots, and our super hydrating mask, Like Butter, is packed with powerful botanicals for skin so smooth, it’s like butter.
Avoid stimulants. Coffee and other stimulants tend to cause increases in insulin production, which has proven to have a negative impact on those with PCOS. We know cappuccinos are irresistible, but you have to let them go.
Relax. Make time to watch an old movie, take a bubble bath, or do something else that you really enjoy doing every once in a while. It can make the biggest difference in how you feel on the inside. Treat yourself!
Maintain a positive attitude. Maintaining a positive attitude is essential to realizing positive outcomes in any aspect of life. Be positive and create opportunities for yourself that can help you to realize your dreams. Just because you have PCOS doesn’t mean you can’t live your best life.
PCOS may seem challenging to live with, but there are actually many ways to help keep flare-ups at bay. For instance, using awesome skincare products like the ones found right here at Topicals.
Using only science-backed ingredients and herbals, it’s no wonder why so many people with PCOS turn to Topicals’ medicated botanical formulas to soothe their skin. Whether you’re dealing with excess oil or pimples, Topicals has your back!
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Pseudofolliculitis Barbae: Everything You Need to Know
If you happen to shave on the reg, you know the importance of following a pre and post-care routine. But, that doesn’t mean you always do them. ;)
And we totally get it, life gets busy. You may be in a hurry or aren’t paying attention to the products you’re using. Perhaps you’re using an electric razor or simply pressing a touch too hard with your razor. No matter the reason, the results will always be the same — razor bumps.
These red, painful, inflamed bumps can most commonly be found on the legs, cheeks, neck, and bikini line. But what exactly are they, and how does one avoid them?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about these bumps and how you can keep them at bay.
What Exactly Are Razor Bumps?
A good clean shave leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth at first -- but then comes the red bumps. Love it.
Pseudofolliculitis barbae, commonly known as razor bumps, is more than just an annoyance. In fact, in some cases, they can cause permanent skin damage if they’re not treated.
Razor bumps and razor rashes are often used interchangeably, but they’re actually considered to be different skin conditions. Razor rashes — also known as razor burn — can cause itchy rashes that are red and tender to the touch. Razor bumps, on the other hand, are painful ingrown hairs caused by cut hair strands that curl back into the skin, causing painful pimple-like bumps.
Other names for pseudofolliculitis barbae include:
Pseudofolliculitis pubis (specifically when the razor bumps occur in the pubic area)
Folliculitis barbae traumatica
Hot tub rash
Symptoms of Razor Bumps
While the primary symptom of razor bumps is raised, red bumps, other symptoms may include:
Darkening of the skin
Pustules (puss-filled, blister-like lesions)
Small papules (solid, round bumps)
Razor bumps can occur literally anywhere on the body that’s been shaved. Plucking, waxing, and removal by a chemical depilatory cream may cause the condition in some cases, too.
Causes of Razor Bumps
These bumps occur when curly hairs get stuck inside the hair follicles, causing ingrown hairs. Instead of growing straight out of the follicle like what your hair is supposed to do, the hair meets resistance from dead skin, causing the hair to curl back around inside the pore.
While anyone who banishes their body hair can develop razor bumps, they are most likely to affect those with dark skin — specifically African-American males. In fact, between 45 and 85 percent of African-American males experience razor bumps. Latino men and others with curly hair are also more likely to develop razor bumps.
What about genetics?
Interestingly enough, some individuals are more prone to developing pseudofolliculitis barbae beyond just hair texture.
A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that people who had a single nucleotide substitution in a specific keratin gene were six times more likely to develop razor bumps than those without it.
Are there any other possible triggers?
Razor bumps are much more common in people with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and other common hormonal disorders that cause hirsutism or excessive facial hair. It’s also more common in folks who are perimenopausal or menopausal.
Other risk factors for razor bumps include taking cyclosporine and corticosteroids in renal transplant patients.
How to Treat Razor Bumps
This condition is diagnosed based on a review of symptoms and a visual inspection of the skin. There’s no specific test for diagnosing it, but your primary care provider can usually tell right away if you do, in fact, have it.
Your doctor may look at your skin using a dermoscope (a handheld instrument similar to a magnifying glass and is used to magnify the skin up to ten times), allowing the doctor to see ingrown hairs under the skin’s surface.
They usually look like black or dark grey spots or lines under the skin. Very rarely, your doc may swab your skin to check for a bacterial infection.
In general, razor bumps are very easy to diagnose, but there are many other skin conditions that cause inflamed bumps, which might be a bit tricky to differentiate.
These skin condition imposters include:
Tinea barbae: Better known as ringworm, tinea is a fungal infection and can occur anywhere on the skin. When it appears in the beard area, it’s called tinea barbae.
Razor burn: As we mentioned early on, razor burn is similar to razor bumps, with both appearing after shaving, but they are not exactly the same. Razor burn is not caused by ingrown hairs, but rather irritation from the friction caused by shaving and usually improves a day or two after shaving.
- Acne vulgaris: Razor bumps look remarkably similar to acne vulgaris and are often confused with this common skin issue. But there are many differences between an ingrown hair and a zit. More tellingly, razor bumps only appear in the areas where the hair is coarse or thick, especially if you’re shaving or getting waxed in that area. Acne occurs over the entire face and other areas on the body that don’t necessarily have thick, coarse hair.
How to manage Pseudofolliculitis Barbae
The very best treatment for razor bumps is prevention. Arguably, the most effective way to prevent these ingrown hairs from cropping up is to stop shaving and let the hair grow out.
At first, this may cause a tiny increase in symptoms because the hair that’s already been shaved already is trying to grow out and can become trapped under the skin. Over time though, your skin will improve because the grown-out hair stays above the skin’s surface and isn’t given a chance to turn into an ingrown hair.
When you completely stop shaving, marked improvement is generally seen in about three months’ time, but it’s important to keep in mind that everyone is different, so results may vary.
In many cases, ceasing to shave will completely clear up those painful razor bumps. At this point, any good quality treatment for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation or scars can be started.
However, some people prefer to shave their body hair. You may have a job that requires you to be clean-shaven, or perhaps you just don’t want to take part in “no-shave-November” or “Jan-u-hairy.” And we totally get that, it’s your body.
Everyone has their own preferences on body hair, and if it’s just not your thing, there are other treatment options that can be used.
Here are some shaving tips and tricks you can use for all areas of the body to help lessen the risk of razor bumps:
Preshave, hydrate the hair to soften. This is important for those looking to combat painful ingrowns and can be done easily with a warm damp towel. At home, it’s much more practical to shave immediately after you rinse off. This allows the hair and skin to be well hydrated, causing them to soften. Shaving well-hydrated hair is much more likely to produce a healthy blunt tip rather than a sharp slanted end that might turn into a razor bump.
Don’t pull the skin taut when shaving. Yes, this does give you a much closer shave, but a close shave isn’t what you’re going for here. When the skin is pulled taut, the hair is cut so close to the surface of your skin that it stretches and then retracts, which results in an ingrown hair.
Shave less frequently, if possible. This allows your hair to stay a bit on the longer side, helping to reduce the development of ingrown hairs. Be free!
There are amazing products like the ones at Topicals that can help treat pseudofolliculitis barbae!
Topicals is scientifically backed to help soothe your skincare woes. Topicals has your back with botanical powerhouse ingredients to give your skin nourishing, healing relief.
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Keratosis Pilaris: Everything You Need to Know
With breakouts possible virtually anywhere you have hair follicles (fun fact, you’re covered in hair follicles, yay), we’re always on the lookout for the best treatments to soothe the follicles.
But what if the bumps we’re trying to calm aren’t your typical acne comedones?
If you happen to be experiencing areas of little, rough bumps that look more like red goosebumps than zits, chances are you’re dealing with keratosis pilaris -- a harmless skin condition caused by a buildup of keratin in the hair follicle.
What Exactly is Keratosis Pilaris?
According to the pros at the National Institutes of Health, keratosis pilaris is most common during childhood. Visually, it presents itself in the form of papules, which are small, rough, raised lesions.
Keratosis pilaris is characterized by tiny red, tan, or flesh-colored bumps that typically appear on the outer surface of the upper thighs and arms, although it is possible to occur elsewhere on the body. The condition is typically more intense during the colder months of the winter (when the skin tends to dry out) and often clears up in the summer. It may also heighten during pregnancy.
Keratosis pilaris, AKA chicken skin, is medically harmless and is common in