Root Causes of Skin Problems

In a prior blog post, we wrote about The Top 6 Underlying Causes of Premature Aging and Skin Problems, listing the following underlying root causes that can lead to premature aging and skin problems:

  1. Inflammation
  2. Microbiome disturbance
  3. Oxidative damage
  4. Blood sugar issues
  5. Nutritional deficiencies
  6. Hormonal imbalances

We then broke away from the traditional skin type categories such as dry, oily, combination, and sensitive to redefine the skin categories based on customer experience:

  • Uneven skin tone, hyper-pigmented skin
  • Oily t-zone, acne skin
  • Sensitive, red, overly reactive skin
  • Dry, itchy, inflamed, scaly skin
  • Chronic dry skin
  • Evenly balanced skin

Below, we define each skin type and highlight the underlying root causes to bring awareness on how one can take holistic measure to control skin problems and start down the path to evenly balanced, youthful looking skin.


  • Hyper-pigmentation (darkening of skin in certain areas)
  • Freckles
  • Melasma (brown or gray-brown patches that usually appear on the cheeks, bridge of nose, forehead, upper lip, back)
  • Uneven skin tone
  • You use skin-lightening products, which usually contains hydroquinone but studies have reported allergenic properties + using them during the day without sunscreen you notice the pigmentation worsens
  • You conceal with makeup but it’s splotchy and makes you even more self-conscious

Underlying Root Causes for Uneven Skin Tone, Hyper-pigmented Skin

  • #3 Oxidative damage: Increased melanin production to protect the skin leads to hyper-pigmentation usually caused by sun exposure, inflammation, free radicals, and hormonal changes.
  • #6 Hormonal imbalance: Adrenal stress hormone triggers inflammatory pathways in the body. Usually this goes hand in hand with oxidative damage, which can worsen hyper-pigmentation. Melasma is often triggered by pregnancy, birth control pills, and hormone therapy. Changes in the hormones estrogen and progesterone cause extra melanin production during sun exposure, leading to melasma. 

Quick Fix for Uneven Skin Tone, Hyper-pigmented Skin: Sleep, balance stress and sex hormones, use topical skin-lightening treatments at night; the medical research that sunscreen helps, barely exists or remains unsatisfactory.


  • Acne
  • Large pores
  • Blackheads
  • Whiteheads
  • Sebaceous hyperplasia (yellowish, soft, small papules on the face, usually on the nose, cheeks, and forehead)
  • Effects from antibiotics, topical steroid creams, birth control pills, or Accutane worsen over tie not to mention side effects on hormones
  • Tend to have oily skin or easily break out in pimples and tried everything to “dry up” excess oil. Drying up the oil can only be achieved with abrasive (alkaline) skin care products that eventually erode the skin’s protective acid mantle which further exacerbates the condition. 

Underlying Root Causes for Oily T-Zone, Acne Skin

  • #4 Blood sugar issues: When your blood sugar rises (dietary/genetics) insulin production increases, triggering sebum production and androgen activity. All of this leads to breakouts.
  • #6 Hormonal imbalances: Blood sugar is closely related to hormonal imbalance. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar balance. Androgens, such as testosterone, are known to trigger acne and especially surges during puberty as well as later in life. You also need to balance cortisol as well.
  • #2 Microbiome disturbance: Gut microbiome and the skin’s microbiome health becomes disrupted once you have acne. Because of this, you will need to take both an internal and external approach to address the disturbance.
  • #1 Inflammation: When hormonal imbalances, microbiome disturbances, or blood sugar issues arise, inflammation flares and acne and/or breakouts occur. Nutritional deficiencies can play a role but are usually not the initiator. When well-balanced, this skin type usually has glowing skin that ages gracefully. 

Quick Fix for Oily T-Zone, Acne SkinNutrition is key in treating and balancing this skin type.


  • Redness or inflammation
  • Bumpy texture
  • Easily flushed skin
  • Sensitive skin (reacts easily to skin care products)
  • Reaction to weather or temperature
  • Rosacea
  • Visible blood vessels

Underlying Root Causes for Sensitive, Red, Overly-Reactive Skin

  • #1 Inflammation: Inflammation is not your friend when it comes to this skin type. Redness, swelling, and heat are all signs of external inflammation. Additionally, you most likely have internal inflammation fueling overly-reactive skin.
  • #2 Microbiome disturbance: To address inflammation, look at both your internal gut microbiome and your external skin microbiome. Treating both microbiomes is a great place to start; you’ll begin to see the skin on your face calm down.
  • #6 Hormonal imbalance: Again, cortisol effects and other inflammatory hormones on the skin are at play here. One of the skin’s major functions is physical protection and wound repair upon injury. Wound healing is an intricate process that involves resident skin cells, skin extracellular matrix and systematic factors. If your stress receptors are weakened and inflamed, you will see skin problems occur.

Quick Fix for Sensitive, Red, Overly-Reactive SkinBalancing and strengthening your inflammatory hormones is a great place to start to achieve calm, clear skin.


  • Patches of dry skin
  • Chronically dry, scaly skin
  • Easily inflamed, red
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Allergic skin reactions, such as hives or contact dermatitis
  • Psoriasis (Raised reddish or silvery-white scaly patches)
  • Keloids (raised scar that doesn’t improve over time)
  • Vitiligo (patches of lighter skin, or depigmentation)
  • Seborrheic dermatitis (redness or swelling with a white, yellowish scaling of skin, usually in the center of the face, eyebrows, scalp, and ears)
  • Chronic itching
  • Recurring acute skin issues and infections (such as impetigo, ringworm, and cold sores)
  • Topical or oral treatments provide little relief

Underlying Root Causes for Dry, Itchy, Inflamed, Scaly Skin

  • #7 Imbalanced immune system (unique root cause for this skin type): Your system is either overactive or not performing at its optimal level. You may have been diagnosed with allergies or an autoimmune condition.
  • #1 Inflammation: Immune system overreaction increases inflammatory pathways throughout the body, including the skin. Unlike other skin types, it is essential for these skin types to balance their immune response. This means including anti-inflammatory foods and key nutrients; avoid trigger foods; incorporate certain immune-balancing herbs; and supportive naturopathic treatments. These will all help toward calming internal and external inflammation.
  • #2 Microbiome disturbance: Much of the immune system functions within the gastrointestinal tracts. Taking internal probiotics can help; you’ll want to use skin care products that build up the microbiome of your skin for a smooth, health glow.
  • #6 Hormonal imbalance: Hormonal imbalances fuel the inflammation and immune reactivity of this skin types. This is an important root cause to address. 

Quick Fix for Dry, Itchy, Inflamed, Scaly SkinNone. Focus on systemically reducing and/or eliminating to the best of your ability each of these underlying root causes. 


  • Sagging skin
  • Loose skin
  • Excessive wrinkles
  • Chronic dry skin
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Thin skin

Underlying Root Causes for Dry, Aging Skin

  • #3 Oxidative damage: As we age, elastin fibers in the skin deteriorate, causing a loss in elasticity, or the degradation of the cement consisting of phospholipids, proteins, fatty acids, minerals, polysaccharides, etc. that bind together keeping your skin wrinkle free. Collagen comprises 70 to 80 percent of skin’s dry weight and gives the outer dermis its structure. With age, collagen production gradually declines, and skin becomes thinner. Oxidative damage, especially ultra violet radiation, quickly speeds the breakdown of your skin’s elastin and collagen causing skin to lose elasticity and age rapidly.
  • #4 Blood sugar issues: As mentioned before, glycation (from excess sugar intake) makes collagen lose its structure, which then makes skin more prone to wrinkles and sagging.
  • #6 Hormonal imbalances: As we age, hormones change significantly. While estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone decline, stress hormone, cortisol, tends to rise. All of this affects skin texture and appearance.
  • #5 Nutritional deficiencies: We need key nutrients to maintain healthy skin and dry, aging skin tend to have nutritional deficiencies. For example, essential fatty acids help maintain skin cell hydration (externally and internally), and Vitamin C helps build and maintain collagen.

Quick Fix for Dry, Aging SkinKeep an eye on your sugar consumption through simple diet and lifestyle changes.


There is no such thing as perfect skin. More correctly, most babies have normal skin and the rest of us aspire to it. The prefect skin of pre-puberty is plump, in the sense that the cells are plump, neither dry nor oily, firm and solid, finely textured with no visible pores, spots, or blemishes, soft and velvety to the touch, and unwrinkled.

To maintain evenly balanced skin includes:

  • a consistent, unwavering skin care routine that is simple yet effective with high-quality products;
  • taking significant steps to reduce inflammation;
  • lowering your stress levels and environmental stressors;
  • boosting nutritional deficiencies with a clean healthy diet;
  • staying constantly hydrated with water; and
  • reducing caffeine intake and eliminating smoking, among other things.

Of course, an occasional glass of wine, never hurts.


As you read through these common skin types, you may relate to one or more with inflammation and hormonal imbalance being the Top 2 underlying root causes of skin problems. The good news is that, we point you in the right direction on how to conquer inflammation and other root causes to begin your journey in achieving clear glowing skin.

As with many things in life, it is all about balance; from your diet, lifestyle choices, and skin care treatments.

May you always be beautiful.


Our skin care treatments are specifically formulated to support the skin’s microbiome with a slightly acidic pH, calm inflamed skin, soften the skin to reduce the effect of glycation and the appearance of hardened skin tissue resulting in frown lines, fine lines, and wrinkles, while nourishing the skin with essential micronutrients such as Vitamin C, A, E, essential fatty acids, and minerals.

Feeding the skin with vitamin-rich formulations provides requisite care during stressful periods, where our bodies may suffer from a lack of sleep, or an irregular lifestyle. During these times of stress, skin care rituals that incorporate soothing, anti-inflammatory, youth-reviving ingredients assist in repairing the skin.

KokoBerna Mission

We are just like you… customers who had skin problems and wanted to create the highest-quality luxurious skin care products that are indulgent, extraordinary, and work. And this is exactly what we do. Therefore, our mission, as the leading skin repair brand, is to unequivocally make a positive impact in people’s lives using potent indigenous organic and natural plant ingredients sourced from West African origin that are proven to heal, nourish, and transform the skin.



  1. Rivas, S. & Pandya, A.G. “Treatment of melasma with topical agents, peels and lasers: an evidence-based review.” American Journal Clinical Dermatology  14: 359. (2013). PMC. Web. 11 July 2017.
  2. Walia, Harneet K., and Reena Mehra. “Overview of Common Sleep Disorders and Intersection with Dermatologic Conditions.” Ed. Elma Baron. International Journal of Molecular Sciences 17.5 (2016): 654. PMC. Web. 12 July 2017.
  3. Chiu A, Chon SY, Kimball AB. The Response of Skin Disease to Stress Changes in the Severity of Acne Vulgaris as Affected by Examination Stress. Arch Dermatol. 2003;139(7):897-900. PMC. Web. 11 July 2017.
  4. Chen, Ying, and John Lyga. “ Brain-Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging.” Inflammation & Allergy Drug Targets 13.3 (2014): 177–190. PMC. Web. 12 July 2017.


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