Acne is an extremely common disorder of the skin that affects 85% of people between the ages of 12 and 24 years. Except in the most severe cases, acne is considered to be a simple physiological alteration, yet it can greatly affect quality of life. The influence of diet on acne is still being debated today.
Acne is a disorder of the hair follicles, with many influencing factors: increased sebum (oil) production stimulated by hormonal factors; pore blockage due to increased cornification; and finally, proliferation of the bacterium Propionibacterium acnes. The result is an inflammatory response and the formation of the lesions characteristic of acne, whether pimples, papules, pustules (pimples with pus) or, in more severe cases, nodules, cysts and scars. Read More
In this blog dedicated to caring for the skin, we cannot condone piercings for the simple reason that they are a direct assault on our skin. Furthermore, piercings can and do cause infections and serious health complications. But some people seem to defy the statistics. This is the case of Elaine Davidson, who has survived with over 9,000 piercings!
The Guinness Book of Records has recorded the case of this Brazilian woman as the undisputed champion of skin piercings. In 2000 she had 462 piercings, 192 in her face alone. By 2012 she had over 9,000 – with more in the genital area than anywhere else, she says. It is estimated that all this internal and external decoration weighs over three kilos. Ms. Davidson, who does not drink or take drugs, runs an aromatherapy shop in Edinburgh, where she lives with her husband, Douglas Watson, who – to compensate, we suppose! – does not have a single piercing in his entire body. Our post merely documents this curious penchant – we do not recommend following this woman’s example. Just bear in mind that 30% of piercings cause complications and 15% require a visit to the doctor. (Photograph: Janek Mann, Creative Commons licence).
The study of stem cells and their therapeutic potential is also a line of research in dermatology. For the first time, scientists from the University of Granada (Spain), using umbilical cord stem cells, have managed to create artificial skin that could help heal major burns and avoid animal testing.
The researchers call for caution, however. Further testing of this artificial skin technique in humans needs to be done throughout 2014. There may be problems of rejection since, unlike in current clinical procedures, the skin is not part of the patient's own tissue. Even so, scientists are optimistic because to date it has not been possible to generate epidermal tissue using umbilical cord stem cells. The scientists have engineered a biomaterial made with fibrin, a protein derived from human plasma, and agarose, a biocompatible polysaccharide extracted from seaweed. Other research groups are working on the engineering of skin tissue similar to natural skin with its dermis and epidermis. They concede, however, that further work is necessary to improve artificial skin in terms of appearance and hair and sweat glands.
Bites from insects can represent a real health problem for both children and adults. Besides the fact that these pesky creatures can transmit diseases (malaria, yellow fever, tick-bite fever, leishmaniasis, etc.), the main problem is almost always the bite itself. In some cases, due to the intensity and suddenness of the reaction, it's easy to determine the cause (a bee, wasp, horse fly, scorpion, etc.), but in others, when the reaction is delayed, the cause may not be so obvious.
Mosquito bites are one of the worst things about the summer. Mosquitoes are found mainly in hot, humid areas, and around swamps and lakes. Doctors see a lot of patients about mosquito bites, especially people with inflammatory and allergic diseases, who are more susceptible to the effects of a bite. Female mosquitoes need a blood meal to ensure their eggs are fertile. The symptoms of a mosquito bite appear almost immediately and are easy to spot: redness, swelling and itching, and it's common for some people to have many bites. Read More