Sweating is an essential bodily function that helps keep us cool and our muscles working.
However, when sweating becomes excessive, it can cause several problems.
Excessive sweating can cause dehydration, electrolyte imbalance, and overall body odor.
In some cases, excessive sweating may signify an underlying medical condition.
If you are experiencing excessive sweating, consult your doctor for a diagnosis and treatment plan.
Excessive sweating is a common problem that affects many people.
It is caused by an overactive sweat gland, which produces too much sweat.
Excessive sweating can also be a sign of a health problem and can be uncomfortable and embarrassing.
There are ways to treat excessive sweating, and it is usually manageable.
There are three main types of hyperhidrosis: primary, secondary, and generalized.
Primary hyperhidrosis is caused by a genetic disorder, while secondary and generalized hyperhidrosis are caused by various factors, including anxiety, stress, nervousness, and medical conditions.
Treatment typically involves lifestyle changes or medications.
This type of sweating occurs in specific areas of the body (known as focal areas).
The most common focal areas include hands, feet, underarms, face, and head.
In contrast to primary hyperhidrosis, sweating doesn’t occur in “focal” areas.
It is a result of a medical condition or a medication.
Some medical conditions that cause excessive sweating are:
Excessive sweating is also seen as a side effect of certain medications.
Some of them include:
There are many potential causes of excessive sweating.
Some of the more common ones include anxiety, overactive thyroid gland, pregnancy, and exercise.
However, there is no one definitive cause for excessive sweating.
Various factors contribute to it, including genetics and hormones.
There is no one answer as to why someone might sweat excessively, but genetics may play a role.
Some people are born with genes that make them more likely to sweat, and others may be more sensitive to the effects of heat on their bodies.
People who are genetically predisposed to excessive sweating may need to take measures to keep cool.
The PPC1B gene contains instructions for producing an enzyme called serine/threonine-protein phosphatase PP1-beta catalytic subunit.
It is involved in many cellular processes like:
Studies have revealed that the PPC1B gene is involved in a chemical reaction (called phosphorylation) of a water-specific channel, regulating its ability to maintain water flow.
So, the amount of PPC1B enzyme present could modulate sweat production.
Some people with certain changes in the PPC1B gene have altered enzyme activity and are more likely to sweat excessively.
The PLB1 gene contains instructions for the production of a membrane-associated phospholipase.
This enzyme is involved in the breakdown of lipids.
It is also known to play a role in semen excretion.
So, researchers postulate that it can also modulate other secretory processes like sweating.
Another missense variant in the ABCC11 gene has been associated with hyperhidrosis for the first time in this study.
If you are sweating more than you usually do, it may indicate an underlying health condition.
Sweating can also be a sign of anxiety or stress.
It can result from a physical illness, such as hyperthyroidism or thyroid cancer.
In some cases, excessive sweating may signify a mental health condition, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
Many people with hyperhidrosis may experience symptoms that overlap with other conditions, such as anxiety, stress, and depression.
A doctor may need to perform a comprehensive physical exam and ask questions about your lifestyle and symptoms to identify hyperhidrosis.
Many treatment options are available, including medications, sweat-releasing clothing, and surgery.
Two commonly used tests to diagnose excessive sweating
There are a variety of methods used to treat excessive sweating.
The most common treatments are antiperspirants, medications, surgery, and botulinum toxin injections (BOTOX).
They work by blocking the sweat glands and preventing the release of sweat.
There are a variety of antiperspirants available, and stronger ones can be purchased over-the-counter or prescribed by a doctor.
Some medications work by curbing sweat production, while others work by cooling the body.
Medications can be prescribed by a doctor or purchased over-the-counter.
Please note that it is important to consult your medical practitioner before starting any medications.
This is an FDA-approved treatment.
Studies also suggest that it can be used on other body parts too.
Surgery is usually reserved for people who have not had success with other treatments.
The following surgeries can stop excessive sweating:
It helps balance the pH levels in your sweat glands and prevents them from over-producing sweat.
The salt helps to draw out toxins and moisture from the skin.
Water-dense fruits and vegetables (grapes, melons, oranges, eggplants, spinach, celery), foods rich in B-vitamins (pork, poultry, bananas, soya beans, peanuts), calcium (milk, kale, fortified soy products and cereals), and fiber (beans, whole grains, avocados, berries, broccoli), and green tea can help manage excessive sweating.
Other remedies include:
Psoriasis is a global health problem prevalent among people of all ages, affecting 100 million individuals worldwide. Previous studies have suggested that a high-fat and high-sugar diet can lead to disruption in the gut's microbial community, contributing to inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis. Recent research shows that switching to a balanced diet can restore gut health and reduce inflammatory symptoms.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin disease that causes the skin cells to multiply faster than normal. This leads to an overgrowth of skin cells that leads to scaling on the skin's surface. The red, itchy, scaly patches are usually found on the elbows, scalp, knees, and lower back. Abnormalities in the immune system, emotional stress, blood pressure medications, hydroxychloroquine, and strep infections may trigger psoriasis.
Over time, 10-20 percent of affected individuals develop psoriatic arthritis, an inflammatory type of arthritis. It is associated with symptoms similar to arthritis-like joint pain, stiffness, swelling, etc.
Western diets include high intakes of red meats, processed foods, fatty foods, refined grains, potatoes, high sugar drinks, and low intakes of vegetables, fruits, nuts, fish, and whole grains. On the other hand, a balanced diet is a healthier option. It includes fresh vegetables and fruits, legumes, whole grains, lean proteins, and nuts.
Previous studies show that a western diet characterized by high sugar and fat content leads to significant skin inflammation and psoriasis.
Food is a major regulating factor of the microorganisms living in our intestines. Consuming a western diet can cause rapid change to this microbial community and its functions. This disruption in microbial balance contributes to gut inflammation. It also affects skin immunity, leading to skin inflammation.
A study led by Dr. Hwang and his team of researchers at UC Davis Health examined if switching to a balanced diet can restore the gut microflora and help reduce skin and joint inflammation.
The team used mouse models to study the effect of diet on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The researchers subjected the mice to the following:
The researchers then randomly divided the mice into two groups; one group continued the western diet for another four weeks, and the other group switched to a balanced diet for the same period.
The following were observed at the end of 10 weeks:
Striae distensae or stretch marks are scars that develop in the skin when it expands or shrinks. This puts excess pressure on the collagen and elastin that support the skin, ultimately causing breakage in them. This leads to the appearance of scars.
While stretch marks are not medically serious, they can bring down a person’s physical appearance. Women are at a higher risk of developing stretch marks than men.
Stretch marks commonly appear in the abdomen, breasts, shoulders, and thighs. In children experiencing growth spurts, you can see stretch marks in the thighs and buttocks, too.
Stretch marks start out as thin pink or pale-colored lines on the skin. As they develop, lines perpendicular to the skin tension start developing. These lines look slightly swollen and can turn pink or purple in color. Mature stretch marks are pale-white in color.
The ELN gene helps produce a type of protein called tropoelastin. Multiple copies of this protein join together to become elastin fibers. Certain variations in the ELN gene can affect the development of stretch marks.
The T allele of the rs7787362 SNP is associated with an increased risk for stretch marks.
The FN1 gene produces two types of proteins - cellular fibronectin-1 and plasma fibronectin-1. Plasma fibronectin-1 attaches itself to other proteins in the skin. This helps in strengthening the tissues and helps in tissue repair too. The A allele of the rs3910516 SNP is associated with an increased risk for stretch marks.
Pregnancy is the biggest non-genetic influence for stretch marks. About 90% of women develop stretch marks during pregnancy and continue handling it for the rest of their lives.
Women with larger abdominal areas and more weight gain during the pregnancy period develop severe striae distensae.
Up to 43% of people who are overweight and obese develop striae distensae in their lifetimes. The increase in weight puts more stress on the skin. As a result, it stretches it beyond its usual capacity, leading to stretch marks.
Cushing syndrome is a result of excess cortisol hormone in the body. Cortisol is an important hormone that reduces inflammation, regulates blood pressure, and helps the body handle stress.
Cortisol-based drugs are prescribed to handle inflammatory diseases and chronic pain. Sometimes, the body overproduces this hormone. This results in Cushing syndrome.
The main symptom of Cushing syndrome is the development of stretch marks (pink and purple lines) all over the breast, buttocks, abdomen, thighs, and shoulders.
Corticosteroid creams, lotions, and gels are prescribed to treat conditions like eczema, itching, dermatitis, and psoriasis. Corticosteroids can decrease the skin’s ability to stretch and cause stretch marks.
Women opting for breast enlargement surgeries are at higher risk for developing stretch marks. Placing an implant under the breast skin causes it to stretch and cover the larger area. This can lead to the development of striae distensae.
Losing and gaining weight gradually will give your skin time to adjust to the new change and prevent the appearance of stretch marks.
Natural remedies work only in the initial stages of stretch marks and not on mature marks. Here are a few options you can try out.
There are two ingredients in topical creams that seem to be effective.
They are available as over-the-counter medications. These are also only most effective when applied as soon as you spot signs of stretch marks. As the marks get more mature, treating them is going to be difficult.
Microdermabrasion is performed by an expert in a clinic setting. This involves removing the top layers of the skin to help finer and better skin grow back. Microdermabrasion can help bring down the intensity of striae distensae scars.
Chemical peels are being used widely to bring down the prominence of stretch marks. These peels remove the topmost or the subsequent layers of the skin and give a faded appearance to stretch marks. They cannot completely remove the marks, though. Regular chemical peel treatments can harm the skin.
As of now, there is no recommended treatment or lifestyle change that can completely remove stretch marks or prevent them from appearing.
Maintaining a healthy weight, keeping the skin moisturized and hydrated, and treating the early signs of stretch mark help.
Xcode Life’s Gene Skin report targets genes associated with the risk of skin conditions and skin damage. This reports can help you understand your skin. The report also includes tips to modify your skincare routine according to your genetic type for healthier-looking skin.
Have you ever wondered about what controls the differences in human skin color; why your friend tans under the sun much faster than you do? The answer to these questions, in part, is due to genetics. Since each individual has a unique genetic makeup, following a generic skincare routine may not benefit you. Understanding your skin better means to develop a personalized skincare routine.
The Summary Table in the report indicates your outcome for each trait.
Along with your outcome, the details of the genes analyzed for each trait are also provided. The report comes with personalized recommendations based on your results. These recommendations are to be followed only after consulting with your medical practitioner. You can click on “Learn More” for more information on each trait.
The report analyzes genes associated with 23 skin-related traits, including glycation, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, psoriasis, wrinkle and collagen degradation, stretch marks, acne, vitamin needs, and others. For a comprehensive list of the traits covered, click here.
Acne is a skin condition that causes whiteheads, blackheads, cysts, nodules, or pimples on the face, shoulders, neck, back, chest, and upper arms. Tiny holes in your skin called pores blocked by oil, dead skin cells, bacteria, and dirt result in acne. The most severe type of acne is a pimple. A pimple is a swollen, red, and painful bump on your skin.
Acne can occur at any age but is commonly found in teenagers during puberty. Around this age, the sebaceous glands, also called oil glands, are activated. These glands, present at the base of the hair follicles, produce oil and are stimulated by hormones produced by the adrenal glands in both males and females. Each hair follicle is at the base of an opening or pore. The oil secreted along with dead skills and bacteria block the pore and cause acne.
Acne is not a life-threatening condition. It can be extremely painful, depending on how severe the condition is. Pimples can leave scars on the skin over time. Acne on your face can cause emotional distress if persistent for a long time. The earlier acne is treated, the better. Treatment can help reduce permanent scarring and reduce the amount of acne.
Signs and symptoms of acne vary depending on how severe the condition is.
- Blackheads that open on the surface of the skin
- Whiteheads that are just below the skin
- Papules - small red bump caused by inflamed hair follicles
- Pustules - small red bumps with pus at their tips
- Nodules - solid, red bumps beneath the skin surface
- Cysts that are solid, painful, pus-filled lesions below the skin
If both your parents have acne, you are at a higher risk of developing acne. Genetics determines how effectively your immune system can fight a bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes that is responsible for causing acne.
The FST gene contains instructions for the production of a protein called follistatin. This protein inhibits the release of follicle-stimulating hormones.
Follistatin also inhibits a protein called TGFB2, which is involved in controlling acne. If more follistatin is produced, TGFB2 activity will be inhibited, and this, in turn, increases the development of acne and acne-causing bacteria.
rs38055 is an SNP found in the FST gene. The A allele is the risk allele and can increase your risk of developing acne.
The TGFB2 gene contains instructions for the production of a protein called transforming growth factor beta-2. This protein is important in all stages of life, from early development throughout life. It is involved in various cellular mechanisms for the proper growth and development of cells.
TGFB2 is also found to be involved in the growth and healing of skin by slowing down the production of keratinocytes, a type of skin cells. This clogs the skin and promotes the growth of acne-causing bacteria](https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3857353/).
rs1159268 is an SNP found in the TGFB2 gene. The A allele causes a decrease in the production of TGFB2 protein, which increases the risk of acne.
Hormonal changes: These changes are common during puberty and pregnancy and lead to breakouts. Androgens, a hormone produced by the adrenal glands in boys and girls, trigger the sebaceous glands to secrete more oil-containing fluid called sebum. This usually happens at puberty.
Age: Acne is most common in teenagers but occurs in people of all ages.
Diet: Certain food items like chips, carbohydrate-rich foods, refined sugars are found to worsen acne. Studies are being done to find the impact of a certain diet on acne.
Grease or oil: Acne can also develop when the skin comes into contact with lotions or cream that contain a lot of oil.
Stress: Stress is not a causative agent but can worsen acne.
Skin damage: Friction or pressure on the skin can also cause acne. Tight collars, helmets, backpacks can exert more pressure on your skin.
Medication:* Drugs that contain testosterone, lithium, or corticosteroids can cause acne.
These can help treat mild acne at home and prevent more pimples.
- Use a mild soap to clean oil and dirt from the skin daily.
- Use oil-free makeup and remove it before going to bed. Makeup that’s water-based and labeled non-comedogenic ( not pore-clogging) can be used.
- Avoid touching your face frequently.
- Do not try to burst the pimple or poke it. This leads to scarring and more acne as it spreads the bacteria and excess oil.
- Shampoo your hair regularly, especially if you have oily hair.
- Reduce your stress to prevent worsening of acne.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to manage acne present on the back and arms.
- Avoid sun exposure as it can lead to excess sebum secretion and sunburns.
- Avoid tanning under the sun and tanning beds.
If self-care doesn’t help with your acne, certain OTC medications can be used. These include creams and gels that contain sulfur, benzoyl peroxide, or resorcinol. Washes or soaps that contain salicylic acid are also used. There are many acne creams, washes, soaps, masks, and serums available in the market.
In severe cases of acne, where over-the-counter medications also don’t help, a doctor should be consulted. A doctor will prescribe certain medications or treatments to help manage your acne.
Medication: Oral or topical antibiotics are prescribed to reduce inflammation caused by bacteria. Certain topical creams that are stronger than OTC medication are also prescribed.
- Photodynamic therapy: Special light or laser along with medication is used to reduce oil production, kill bacteria, and improve scarring.
- Dermabrasion: Top layers of skin are removed with a rotating brush, and acne scarring is treated.
- Chemical peels: Can improve mild acne scarring and removes the damaged top layers of skin.
- Cortisone injections: Used for acne that consists of large cysts. It helps reduce inflammation and speeds the healing process.
Vitamin B2, also called riboflavin, is an essential nutrient needed for human health. It is one of the eight B vitamins. All the B vitamins are important for maintaining healthy skin. Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble vitamin. Being a water-soluble vitamin, it can be excreted out of the body easily. Your body only stores a small amount of riboflavin, and hence, you need to include riboflavin in your diet every day.
Vitamin B2 plays a role in
- Maintaining tissues
- Energy metabolism
- Secretion of mucus that prevents dryness induced oil secretion that leads to acne
- Absorption of zinc, which is essential for the skin
- Maintaining the structural integrity of the skin
- Protects cells from oxidative damage
- Maintenance of red blood cells
- Keeping the skin healthy
The recommended daily intake of vitamin B2 is as follows:
1.3 mg for healthy men
1.1 mg for healthy women
1.4 mg for pregnant women
1.6 mg for lactating women
0.3 mg for infants up to 6 months
0.4 mg for infants between 6-12 months
0.5 mg for 1-3-year-old children
0.6 mg for 4-8-year-old children
0.9 mg for 9-13-year-old children
1.3 mg for 14-18-year-old males
1.0 mg for 14-18-year-old females
Vitamin B2 deficiency is not very common in the US as most of the food items like milk and whole-grain cereals, which are widely consumed, contain good levels of vitamin B2.
People with certain genetic types may need more vitamin B2 due to the inefficient transport in their bodies. Certain genes can help determine your risk for vitamin deficiency.
The MTHFR gene produces an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. This enzyme is involved in the methylation cycle. MTHFR activates 5, 10-methylene TetraHydroFolate(THF) to 5-methyl THF, and this is needed for the conversion of homocysteine to methionine.
This protein is also involved in the conversion of folate to SAMe, which is involved in the methylation of DNA as it is the universal methylation donor. The methylation cycle is essential for various functions in the body.
Vitamin B2 is involved in the metabolism of homocysteine along with Vitamin B1. Vitamin B2 deficiency can lead to high levels of homocysteine, which is a harmful amino acid.
rs1801133 is an SNP found in the MTFHR gene.It is also referred to as C677T. The T allele decreases enzyme activity, with only a 10-20% efficiency in folate processing and leads to high levels of 0f homocysteine in the body.
Vitamin B2 deficiency can lead to
- Cracked lips
- Itching of skin
- Scrotal Dermatitis
- Inflammation of mouth lining
- Inflammation of the tongue
- Scaly skin
Certain food items contain vitamin B2. These include:
- Kidney and liver meat, lean meats
- Green vegetables like broccoli and spinach
- Cereals, grains, and bread
- Milk and yogurt
- Lima beans and peas
Riboflavin is water-soluble. While cooking food, especially boiling, vitamin content may reduce. Make sure to include a daily supply of vitamin B2-rich foods to keep your skin healthy. A balanced diet is always important to keep your skin and other parts of the body healthy.
Your doctor may prescribe certain vitamin B2 supplements to overcome your deficiency apart from your diet.
The skin is the largest visible organ of the body affected by internal changes (genetics and metabolism) and external factors (UV radiation, pollution).
Collagen is a protein that is a part of all the connective tissues in the human body. Collagen is found in the skin, muscles, ligaments, and even bones.
About 35% of the entire protein content in an adult’s body is made up of collagen.
The three main functions of collagen include:
- Giving structure to tissues
- Repairing damaged tissues (skin renewal)
- Keeping skin supple and strong
Collagen degradation or collagen loss is a condition where a person loses essential collagen components in the body. There can be many reasons for collagen degradation. Some of them include:
When the collagen in the body decreases, it results in the skin losing its elasticity and suppleness. The thickness of the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) reduces too. The skin sags and gets easily damaged. One of the major signs of collagen degradation is the formation of wrinkles.
Wrinkles are creases, folds, and lines that form on the skin, making smooth skin look saggy and wrinkled. Wrinkles are also called rhytide. Wrinkles are very common in the elderly. Thanks to unhealthy lifestyles and environmental factors like UV exposure and pollution, people lose the collagen content in their skin early on and develop wrinkles.
With the right amount of collagen in the skin, broken or injured collagen and elastic fibers are regenerated quickly, and the skin maintains the same smooth and supple texture. Because of collagen degradation, such broken and injured fibers are replaced by altered fibers that are not the right fit. This is termed misrepair.
Generally, the original fiber gets regenerated in its place. For people with collagen degradation, a long collagen fiber is replaced in that position. Long fibers do not shrink back into their original state, and hence your skin loses its ability to stretch and shrink smoothly and forms wrinkles.
The STXBP5L gene helps produce the binding protein called Syntaxin-binding protein 5. This is also called Tomosyn, which is the Japanese word for ‘friend.’ This protein plays an important role in photoaging.
A genome-wide study that analyzed the signs of skin aging in 502 caucasian women identified that the severity of wrinkles and other signs of aging increase as the women grow older.
The MMP1 gene produces a protein that helps in breaking down collagen for everyday development. The 2G/2G genotype of the rs1799750 SNP of this gene results in a higher breakdown of collagen, leading to collagen degradation. This results in the formation of wrinkles and other signs of aging
UV rays are of three types - UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C rays. The UV-C rays have short wavelengths and do not reach the skin’s surface. Both UV-A and UV-B rays can reach all the layers of the skin.
UV rays promote the development of free radicals in the skin. These free radicals can damage collagen and elastin fibers. Continuous damage to the collagen fibers results in the skin becoming loose, saggy, and wrinkled.
People with fair skin are more affected by UV rays than those with darker skin. This also increases the risk of collagen degradation and the formation of wrinkles.
As you age, your body produces lesser amounts of collagen and elastin fibers. This naturally leads to collagen degradation and wrinkles.
A study analyzed the effects of smoking on the formation of wrinkles. 160 smokers, 67 individuals who had smoked in the past, and 123 non-smokers were chosen for the study. The study showed that people who smoked had a higher degree of facial wrinkling than those who did not smoke. Nicotine in cigarettes damage collagen and elastin and leads to the formation of wrinkles.
The accumulation of Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) in the skin results from excess sugar consumption, natural aging, and diabetes. More AGEs in the skin increase the chances of degradation of collagen.
Vitamin C deficiency is known to bring down collagen production in the body.
Make sure you include fresh vegetables, fruits, and greens in plenty in your diet. All these are antioxidant-rich and prevent free radicals from affecting collagen fibers. Fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin C also help fight collagen degradation.
Below is a list of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
- Onions, garlic, leeks
Some vitamin C-rich foods include:
- Red pepper
- Brussels sprouts
Stay away from both active and passive smoking to make sure your skin stays taut and smooth for a longer time.
Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that has a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. If you are staying out in the sun, reapply every 3-4 hours. Use protective gear like hats, gloves, and umbrellas to keep away harmful UV rays from falling directly on your skin.
If your skin has already started showing signs of wrinkles and collagen loss, consider collagen supplements. Collagen supplements can be had orally or applied on the skin as topical solutions.
Retinol is also called Vitamin A. Retinol Over-the-Counter skincare products can be used to boost collagen production in the skin. Retinols, along with vitamin C, are very effective in preventing wrinkles and collagen degradation.
Dermatological treatments like micro-needling, laser therapy, chemical peels, and radiofrequency are all created to improve collagen production in the skin. Each of these treatments comes with its own benefits and side effects. It’s important to be wary of the side effects and costs of the treatment before opting for it.
Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is a chronic inflammatory condition that makes skin itchy, swollen, and red. In the US, about 16.5 million adults and 9.6 million children have AD.
AD is also called atopic eczema. In children, it usually first appears between ages 3 to 6 months. About 90% of people with AD start showing the symptoms before five years of age.
In people with AD, the immune system starts attacking the healthy skin cells, causing excessive dryness and itching. There are many contributors to AD - genetic, environmental, and stress-related.
For infants and young children, the whole body gets affected by AD. As children get older, dryness and itch are noticed on the elbows and the insides of the knees. For adults, the signs are mostly seen in the hands and feet.
AD is not a contagious disease, and thus it does not spread on contact. Doctors believe that there are more numbers of inflammatory cells in the skin of people with AD. AD individuals have a weaker skin barrier than normal people, and this makes their skin very sensitive.
Excessive dryness in the skin allows the entry of allergens and irritants into the skin’s surface, and this can also cause AD.
Here are some of the common triggers that make atopic dermatitis worse in those already living with the condition.
- Hot showers
- Long showers
- Living in dry and cold climates
- Using harsh chemical products on the skin
- Exposure to fabrics like wool and cheap synthetics
- Excessive workouts
Filaggrin is important for the structure of the skin’s outermost layer, the epidermis. It also helps improve the skin’s barrier. Filaggrin is important in locking moisture in the skin and keeping it hydrated.
About 30% of people with atopic dermatitis have a lowered production of filaggrin.
The FLG gene produces profilaggrin, which in turn produces filaggrin. Changes in the FLG gene can cause lowered filaggrin production, which increases the risk of AD.
Abnormal changes or mutations in the FLG gene cause an increased risk for AD.
The T allele of the rs150597413 SNP and the rs558269137 SNP of the FLG gene causes an increased risk of developing Ichthyosis Vulgaris. This condition causes dry and scaly skin and is associated with AD too.
The CARD11 gene helps make proteins involved in the healthy functioning of the immune system, especially in the functioning of the T and B cells. The G allele of rs4722404 increases the chances of developing atopic dermatitis.
Moderate cases of AD may not lead to any obvious effects on health. Severe cases may result in the following:
- Extreme itching leading to skin breakouts that lead to sores and cracks
- Pus formation on the skin’s surface
- Increased risk of skin infections
- Inability to sleep because of constant itching
- Development of skin cysts/knots
- Liquid oozing from the skin’s surface
- Psychological issues including depression, anxiety, and feeling of isolation.
Freckles are small brownish marks that are present on the face of some people. They usually appear in sun-exposed areas.
They are mostly harmless and occur due to the overproduction of melanin (the skin pigment) in response to UV stimulation.
There are two categories of freckles, namely ephelides and solar lentigines.
1. Ephelides is the common or characteristic type of freckles. This type of freckles is common in people with light skin and is generally seen in people of Caucasian and Asian descent.
2. On the other hand, solar lentigines are dark patches of skin that include aging spots and sunspots. It tends to appear in older Caucasians (above the age of 40yrs).
There appears to be an evolutionary purpose of freckles in humans. People who lived in places with higher sun exposure had a darker skin color. This is due to the excess production of melanin, which protects the skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Lighter-skinned people often have ancestry that evolved with less exposure to sunlight. When they are exposed to greater amounts than usual, excess pigmentation occurs. The geographical location is a major factor in evolution that is linked to the development of freckles.
MC1R or melanocortin-1 receptor gene contains instructions for the production of the receptor for Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone (MSH), one of the two hormones that regulate pigmentation. This gene plays an important role in the normal pigmentation process in the body.
Certain changes in the MC1R gene reduce the ability of the MC1R receptor to stimulate eumelanin (pigment responsible for lighter skin) production. This leads to melanocytes making more pheomelanin (pigment for darker skin).
The MC1R receptor is active in cells other than melanocytes as well. These include cells involved in the body’s immune and anti-inflammatory responses.
Several SNPs associated with the MC1R gene are primarily linked to fair skin, red or light hair, and freckles.
They also show a varying risk of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancers.
rs1805008 and the Tendency To Develop Freckles
rs1805008 is also known as Arg160Trp or R160W. It is one of the many SNPs found in the MC1R gene and is associated with red hair color, especially in the Irish population.
The T allele is associated with increased risk of freckles as well as melanoma. Individuals with TT alleles have an increased probability of developing freckles, 7-10 times more chance of having red hair, and a greater risk of developing melanoma.
The TYR gene contains instructions for the production of an enzyme called tyrosinase. This enzyme is involved in the production of the skin pigment melanin. Variations in this interfere with melanin production and, as a result, can cause differences in skin pigmentation.
rs1042602 and the Tendency To Develop Freckles
The rs1042602 SNP on the TYR gene is polymorphic (occurs in different forms) in Europeans. The A allele is associated with [light/fair skin, eye color, and the absence of freckles]
rs1540771 and the Tendency To Develop Freckles
This SNP is found in LOC105374875, which is an uncharacterized RNA gene. The A allele of SNP rs1540771 is said to be associated with a 1.26x risk of freckles, and UV sensitivity, and brown hair.
There are a few non-genetic factors that increase your risk of having freckles.
Increased exposure to UV light
Exposure to ultraviolet light causes the skin cells to produce more melanin. This causes a dark pigmentation on the skin, including darker freckles.
Hormonal treatment like oral birth control can increase the pigmentation by melanin on the skin. The cells that produce melanin, melanocytes, are also stimulated by female sex hormones, estrogen, and progesterone. When these hormone levels change because of treatment, hyperpigmentation occurs.
Despite the genetic component, people are not usually born with freckles. So, it is possible to avoid or manage it with a few tips and tricks.
- Use of sunscreen: Sunscreen protects your skin from the harmful effects of the sun and its UV rays. Those who are prone to freckles must apply sunscreen every time they step out. Using a sunscreen of SPF 30 or above can help avoid new freckles but may not help you get rid of the existing ones.
- Laser treatment: There are different types of lasers that target specific areas in the skin.
It can take about 2-3 weeks to recover from the treatment, and more than one session may be required to achieve the desired results. It is important to consult a qualified dermatologist before doing a laser treatment.
- Retinoid cream: Retinoid cream consists of vitamin A which can help lighten the freckles.
The retinoids in the cream help absorb UV-B radiation and prevent the formation of new lesions.
- Cryosurgery: This surgical technique uses extreme cold to destroy abnormal skin cells.
This method can treat or eliminate freckles, but it can have some side effects such as hypopigmentation or blistering.
- Fading Cream: Fading creams are available as OTC products that contain hydroquinone.
The hydroquinone present in these creams suppresses the production of melanin and helps lighten the darkened areas of the skin.
- Using a chemical peel exfoliates the damaged areas of your skin. When the damaged skin heals after a chemical peel, new skin appears without the freckles.
There are also many natural or homemade remedies to lighten or get rid of freckles.
1. Application of lemon juice on the required areas thrice a week can lighten the spots.
2. Homemade scrubs using milk, honey, and oats is another effective method to reduce freckles.
3. Milk products like buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream have skin light