Woman sneezing into white napkin

Environmental Allergies and Dark Eye Circles

Are the dark circles under your eyes getting you down? Well, hear this! It seems that there is a whole army of people with dark circles under their eyes who wear these features as badges of honor. Dark circle mantras include,”Those dark circles under my eyes are not from being tired, they’re from being awesome.” Benicio Del Toro defends his dark circles by saying, “Before I was ever in high school, I had dark circles under my eyes. I have dark circles under my eyes, deal with it.”

But if you don’t feel ready to bin your concealer, here are some facts that may be helpful. Dark circles under the eyes can usually be attributed to exhaustion, age, or illness. But those dark circles can also be a product of environmental allergies and can be fought accordingly.

Seasonal Allergies
Allergies, like hay fever, cosmetic allergies, food allergies and allergies from the workplace are all likely to cause dark circles. The blood vessels under the eyes to swell and rub the thin skin of the eyes, resulting in a darker color. Blocked nasal passages can also contribute to the formation of dark circles as the veins connecting the nose and eyes become dilated and dark. In the winter season, pollen from certain flowers can cause allergies which create dark circles.

Environmental Allergies
Environmental allergens include dust, mildew, mold and smoke. Pet dander can also cause allergies which lead to dark circles. Environmental allergies can lead to congestion which accelerates blood flow to the nose. Because of the delicate texture of the skin under the eyes, the excess blood flow creates a purplish color and makes the blood vessels around the eyes larger, creating a drier hue. Add to that the fact that allergy sufferers suffer adrenal fatigue and don’t sleep properly.

Food Allergies
Although the way foods affect allergy sufferers differ from person to person, the most common culprits are peas, chocolate, citrus, mustard, peanuts, shellfish, soy, and wheat. Foods with high sodium and potassium contact can also lead to dark circles.

Remedies for Dark Circles

  • Eye Cream: A topical cream containing ingredients like Vitamin A, cucumber extract or green tea extract can be effective on dark circles.
  • Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress on the eyes can reduce the appearance of dark circles by reducing inflammation, Place them on the eyes for about 15 minutes to affect a change.
  • Cucumber slices: Cucumbers are known to have natural bleaching properties and their pulp contains and solution that reduces skin swelling and restores texture. Apply cold slices to eyes for about 10 minutes and rinse with cold water. Potato slices and moist chamomile tea bags can also be effective.
  • Medication: While seasonal allergies can usually be effectively treated with OTC meds, allergy sufferers are also known to be deficient in folic acid, B6 and B12. Multivitamins can help to restore levels of these vitamins to the system.
Doctor checking on patient's skin

Skin Appearances That Might Be Signs Of Cancer

Normally, when one thinks of nudist colonies, one thinks of images of nature, free love, lack of inhibitions and a return to innocence. What they may not think of is skin cancer. Cancer of the skin is the most common type of cancer. According to the American Cancer society, about 76,380 melanomas will be diagnosed in 2016.

There are two types of skin cancers: melanoma and non-melanoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous form and is likely to spread other parts of the body. It begins in the deepest layer of the skin. Non-melanoma is less dangerous and can usually be surgically treated. It is found in the upper and middle layers of the skin.

Melanoma Signs
The first sign of melanoma is typically a growth on the skin or a change in a mole that you have had for a while. While normal moles tend to arrive at an early age and remain unchanged, it is quite a different story with melanoma. They are more likely to appear suddenly and change rapidly.

The ABCDE
The Melanoma Research Foundation suggests that you use the ABCDE method to classify and identify melanoma.

A- Asymmetrical Shape: While benign moles tend to be symmetrical, melanoma moles are usually shaped irregularly.
B- Border: Melanoma lesions tend to have unclear borders and blurred outlines, whereas non-malignant ones have smooth, well- defined borders.
C-Color: Melanoma lesions are often characterized by several unevenly distributed colors, usually blue, tan or black.
D- Diameter: Melanoma lesions often measure more the 6 millimeters in diameter.
E-Evolution: The most telling sign that your lesion is cancerous is its evolution, If you notice the mole changing in size and color, contact your dermatologist.

When You Should Worry About A Pre-existing Mole
Moles are common and are usually the result of a normal reaction to the sun. However, you may consider having a mole checked out if you experience:

  • Crusting, scabbing,bleeding
  • Itchiness of tenderness
  • Swelling or increasing size

Non-melanoma Skin Cancer
The Uk National Health Service Reports that, “The main symptom of non-melanoma skin cancer is the appearance of a lump or discolored patch on the skin that won’t heal.'”The most common types are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.

Basal Cell Carcinoma
Although it is not known to spread to other areas of the body, basal cell carcinoma can result in disfigurement if it is not cared for properly. It can be identified by:

  • a pearly bump in which you can see blood cells
  • an irritated scaly patches on the back or chest
  • a bleeding open sore that becomes crusty
  • a white lesion resembling a scar
  • a pink mole with a light dent in the middle

Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Usually caused by overexposure to the sun, squamous cell carcinoma can spread to other areas of your skin, although widespread carcinoma is unlikely. Look out for:

  • Crusty, wart-like bumps
  • Scaly patches with a tendency to bleed
  • Open sores that bleed or form crusts
  • red nodules

So, if you want to take your clothes off in the sun, just remember to keep your sunblock on and if you notice any changes in your skin, please go see a dermatologist asap!

Doctor checking a patient for thyroids

Thyroid Deficiencies And Your Skin

You walk into your doctor’s office. You tell him you are concerned because lately you notice your skin has become dry and wrinkled, your nails break easily, and you are losing hair from your head and eyebrows. He suggests that you balance your diet and get more vitamins.

According to the Thyroid Federation International, there are up to 300 million people in the world with thyroid dysfunction and, of that number, over half are presumed to not know it. Due to incomplete or outmoded testing methods and failure to recognize symptoms, hypothyroidism is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed or undiagnosed health problems in the world.

The thyroid gland produces hormones that help to balance your metabolism and keep your body weight and temperature regulated. According to Dr. Broda Barnes, author of “Hypothyroidism: the Unsuspected Illness”, “When thyroid function is low, circulation is reduced. In advanced cases of hypothyroidism, the skin, in fact, may receive as little as one fourth to one fifth the normal blood supply.” As a result, hypothyroidism , or under- active thyroid, can cause your skin to retain fluids, it may create bags under the eyes and bloating in your legs, ankles, and fingers as well as cracked heels, colorless skin, and eczema.

Myxodema
Myxodema is skin swelling caused by deposits of sugar called glucosaminoglycans. It is a result of insufficient production of hormones by the thyroid gland, which is also responsible for regulation of metabolism. Myxodema is most likely to occur when hypothyroidism goes without treatment for an extended period and can have serious complications. The condition can be treated with thyroid replacement hormones which will help alleviate the symptoms.

Vitiglio
Vitiglio is a pigmentation disorder that is frequently associated with autoimmune thyroid disease. Its symptoms include white patches on the skin, hair and eyebrows, and in severe cases, may result in the total loss of color from the skin. It usually precedes thyroid disfunction by many years, which makes it necessary for those with the skin disorder to be screened before hyperthyroidism develops.It can be treated medically with creams, oral medications, ultraviolet light, and removing color from other areas of skin so tone appears more even. It can be treated surgically with skin grafting and tattooing.

Hyperthyrhoidism
Hyperthyrhoidism is cause by too much thyroid hormone. It can make skin smooth and moist and prone to flushing and redness. Skin may become thin in some areas, whereas it may become thick and hyper pigmented (darker) in others, and may become extremely dry. Pretibal myxedema is another skin condition caused by hyperthyroidism which effects the front of the legs. Symptoms include hives and itching based on the increased action of hormones metabolizing carbohydrates, proteins and fats. These conditions can be treated with hypoallergenics.

If you have any of these symptoms, it is important that you tell your doctor you need to be tested for hormone imbalance. Early detection can prevent severe symptoms from occurring.

Woman trying to pop a pimple

Common Skin Symptoms Triggered By Auto- Immune Disease

Vitiligo is just one of the skin symptoms triggered by an autoimmune disorder. It affect not only the health and daily lives of the sufferers but also their self-esteem. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the body’s immune system fails to distinguish between healthy cells and harmful ones (antigens) and begins to destroy healthy tissue. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, joint pain and rashes. It is important to have an awareness of these skin disorders in order to recognize and understand them in ourselves and others and to ensure public support.

Psoriasis
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that results from the overactivity of skin cells. The skin cells of a psoriasis sufferer form too quickly and the old skin cannot be shed quickly enough to accommodate it. The results are silvery scales or red itchy patches on the elbows, lower back, and scalp. It is treatable with prescription creams, phototherapy, and oral and injectable medicines.

Vitiligo
Vitiligo causes the body to destroy melanocytes, which are cells that produce pigment. This causes patches of skin to lighten. These lightened patches can appear on the inside of the mouth, the hair and the eyes. In severe cases of vitiligo, skin loses all of its pigment and becomes completely white.
While there is no known cure for vitiligo , treatments are available to restore pigment and even out skin tone. They range from foundation and cover-up to topical medications. Tattooing and skin grafting are other treatment options.

Lupus
Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks tissues and organs causing inflammation. Its most common symptom is a butterfly-shaped rash across the cheeks and nose. Lesions may form after sun exposure. Lupus can be treated with immunosuppressants, antimalarial drugs, corticosteroids and anti -inflammatories.

 

Dermatomyositis
Another inflammatory disease, dermatomyositis causes a rash on the eyelids and face, shoulders, back and upper chest and knuckles. Symptoms include trouble breathing, muscle weakness, and difficulty swallowing. It most commonly affects children between 5 and 15 and adults between 40 and 60. It can be treated with corticosteroids and immunosuppressants. While in children, the symptoms may completely disappear, the disorder may be a sign of an additional underlying disease and could lead to lung failure.

Pernicious Anemia
In cases of pernicious anemia, the cells of the body attack the stomach cells and make it hard for the intestines to get the vitamin B12 necessary for the formation of red blood cells. The result is extremely pale skin, bleeding gums, a swollen tongue, loss of appetite and fatigue. It usually responds successfully to Vitamin B12 shots and supplements.

If any of these symptoms seem familiar to you, see the dermatologist to determine whether it is just a skin condition or a symptom of something else. We also invite you to share your experiences and raise awareness about the effects of autoimmune disease.