The Actual Causes of 3 Common Skin Issues

by Paul on October 21, 2013

Cold sores, acne, and skin tags are some of the most common skin issues that humans suffer from. Yet, for all the commonness, there are many myths surrounding their causes. Today’s post explores the actual reasons for which these problems develop, in order to dispel some of those myths.

Cold sores: common skin issues caused by DNA

common-skin-issuesMany people develop cold sores throughout their lifetime, as a secondary effect of the herpes simplex virus (HSV-1). They are unsightly and annoying, especially because they tend to appear around the lips. Estimates say that 80 to 90 per cent of the entire human population carries the virus, yet not everybody gets cold sores just as frequently. According to a recent study, that’s because some suffer from a gene mutation, while others do not. The organisms of people who carry the IL28b mutated gene cannot properly produce an immune response against the HSV-1 virus. The same gene mutation is responsible for inadequate responses to the treatment of hepatitis C. For the time being, there is no known cure to counter the effects of this mutation, yet this research indicates that scientists need to look at the evolution of the viruses that cause common skin issues and other conditions.

Skin tags – can they lead to cancer?

The main cause which prompts the apparition of skin tags is obesity. As such, they have been linked with diabetes, since scientists have noted an increased co-occurrence between the inability to properly process blood sugar and skin tags. This is not to say that all people who have ever developed skin tags throughout their lifetimes are prone to also developing diabetes. First of all, being overweight or obese doesn’t have to mean that you clearly suffer from Type 2 diabetes (although there is a high incidence of co-morbidity). It is simply the case that skin tags, one of the most common skin issues out there, will develop when two areas of skin rub against each other, thus causing the apparition of a benign lump in the shape of a flap of skin, attached to the body through a stalk. The chance of having skin rubbing together is higher in individuals who suffer from excess weight issues, for obvious causes. However, it is very important to note that no clear link has been established between having skin tags and developing melanoma or other forms of skin cancer.

Will I get acne if…

–          I eat chocolate or other oily foods?

–          I don’t wash my face often enough?

–          I don’t use a wash cloth?

The three questions above can easily be refuted as some of the most frequently encountered myths about how and why acne develops. It only makes sense that acne should be such a hot topic for debate, since it is clearly one of the most common skin issues that develop in humans. However, all those questions can be answered in the negative. Acne is not caused by the consumption of oily foods, by direct contact with oily substances, or even by having a dirty face. Similarly, trying to ‘treat’ acne by scrubbing one’s face very harshly with a sponge or cloth, or with abrasive lotions which contain chemical substances can be just as damaging. Such practices might cause the breakout to spread, as the skin becomes further irritated. The actual cause of acne is hormone-based. That’s why most individuals develop acne in their puberty and teenage years, when the body undergoes numerous hormonal changes – and that’s also why some pregnant women will develop acne. For this reason, some dermatologists and gynecologists might come to prescribe specific hormonal treatments against acne. Bear in mind, however, that hormonal treatments should only be undertaken under professional medical supervision.

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: