Skin and Sin
Did you know that being fat can affect your skin as well as your gut? Excess body weight has been found to be associated with a form of low-level inflammation in blood vessels and cells throughout the body. It is this, which seems to be the link between obesity and certain forms of disease, like diabetes.
Obesity has also been shown to have an effect on skin, and a number of forms of skin damage, generally called ‘dermatitis’, are now associated with carrying extra weight. Many of these also have associated inflammation. Hence, the link between skin problems and being overweight (a) appears real and (b) could be linked through the inflammatory processes according to research published in the Journal of the American College of Dermatology 2007;56:901-916.
Problems include those that come from insulin resistance (like acanthosis nigricans or the brown patchy spots on skinfolds), infection (like intertrigo or itchiness in skin folds and under the feet); inflammation (like psoriasis) or metabolic problems (like tophaceous gout). There are also problems that result from the mechanical pressures of carrying too much weight. These include cellulite, striae distensae (stretch marks), lymphedema etc.
The solution: Of course see a dermatologist to get advice on medication for topical treatments, but also lose weight. Like so many other obesity related problems, this can change the reaction of the skin – one of the body’s biggest organs!
Myth: Saunas and steam baths are good for the skin.
Fact: Saunas have little or no value in ‘cleansing’ the skin. They also have no effect on fat loss, the only loss being weight from water lost in sweat, which is quickly replaced. Saunas provide a psychological feeling of wellbeing which shouldn’t be under-valued. However, they have little or no value in ‘cleansing’ the skin. Even in Finland, where there is said to be one sauna for every four members of the population, the benefit of the practice is now being questioned.
Dr Garry Egger aka Prof Trim
– Click for more information on Professor Trim.