Avoiding sun damage to the skin has many advantages: it prevents premature ageing and reduces the chances of disease. That’s why we rush off to buy sunscreens when the warm weather comes along. But omega-3 fatty acid, found in nuts and fish oils, may play a significant role in protecting our skin from the sun.
This is, at least, the evidence reported for a recent study led by Dr Lesley Rhodes of the University of Manchester (England). The sun induces immunosuppression in the skin, preventing the body from using natural means to fight against infections and cancer. Volunteers who took part in the experiment consumed 4 g of omega-3 daily and were exposed to simulated sunlight from a machine. It was demonstrated that immunosuppression was halved in periods of exposure of up to 15 minutes; for periods of 30 minutes the beneficial effects were not so evident. In view of the results, Dr Rhodes believes that regular intake of omega-3 can reduce our skin cancer risk throughout life. However, it cannot be considered a substitute for sunscreen – simply an extra measure of prevention to keep our skin healthy.
Our skin is covered by a huge variety of bacteria, fungi and viruses living in perfect harmony and constituting the skin’s microbiota, also called skin’s flora. New research reveals just how numerous are the species of fungi that colonize our skin and help it stay healthy and look good.
Almost everyone knows that our digestive system requires the presence of microorganisms in order to process food. Similarly, the skin’s own ecosystem needs beneficial germs to remain healthy. A recent genetic study conducted in the USA and published in Nature describes for the first time the 80 types of fungi that normally live on our skin. The areas where most species are found are our heels – and feet in general – while species are less abundant on the neck, back, ears and palms. This important finding has quadrupled the known number of types of fungal microbiota and will guide future research on the role of skin microorganisms. Furthermore, the study confirms the importance of respecting the balance of this ecosystem in order to keep our skin in the best possible condition. Remember: take short, tepid showers, and use soap, shower gels and moisturizers with a slightly acidic pH (between 4.7 and 5.5).
One of the most frequent medical consultations regarding the skin is viral warts. Warts are, in fact, skin infections caused by different kinds of human papillomavirus. They are not serious, but if they persist or represent an aesthetic problem, they should be removed.
The first problem posed by warts is the actual term itself. For the dermatologist, it defines an infection of the skin by human papillomavirus (HPV). But it is common to use the term to designate any lumpy skin lesion, like moles, fibroids, seborrheic keratosis and even malignancies. It may seem unimportant, but this confusion potentially leads to hazardous situations. A patient may ask a pharmacist for a treatment for warts when, in fact, they have a different complaint. Read more
Summer came and many people are planning to buy the traditional sunscreen to take to the beach. We all know that this is how to protect our skin from photoageing and how to minimize the risk of serious related disorders. A new Australian study confirms that people who use sunscreen have fewer wrinkles.
Some people – although not many – use a sunscreen (or a cosmetic containing sunscreen) daily on parts of the body exposed to the negative effects of sunlight on the skin. Others do not use sunscreen, or only do so occasionally. A group of researchers has finally confirmed what dermatologists have long known: the sun causes wrinkles and dry skin. The study, which included 900 volunteers aged between 25 and 55, was conducted over four and a half years in Australia, a country with a mainly white population that receives a great deal of sunshine. Read more