Skin and Beauty

Keep your skin healthy

The skin is the largest organ of the body. It protects against everything from irritants to radiation, prevents dehydration, gathers information through sensory nerves embedded within it, and much more. Given how much the skin does, it is important to make sure it is well taken care of.

In addition to everything else it does, a healthy skin contributes to a beautiful appearance. Because of the skins job as the body’s first line defense, it is exposed to many things that damage it, and is subject to a variety of problems.

Basic Skin Care

The most important part of skin care is being consistent. With so many skin care products available it can be tempting to try a new one every month – especially if the current care doesn’t seem to be helping quickly enough. However, frequent changes in regimen will irritate the skin, making it harder to keep healthy and beautiful.

A simple routine that can be easily worked into daily life is best. The two steps that are crucial are cleansing and moisturizing. Cleansing the skin removes irritants, and clears the pores preventing outbreaks of acne and other skin conditions. Moisturizing keeps the skin soft and supple, and prevents drying out.

A night time routine of cleansing then moisturizing allows the skin to rest and absorb the moisturizer before facing a new day.

Common Skin Conditions

Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition that develops when healthy skin cells die and move to the surface of the skin more quickly than usual, leading to a buildup of dead skin, itching and rashes. There are several varieties of psoriasis, with the most common being plaque psoriasis. In plaque psoriasis the dead skin forms white, plaque like patches on red irritated skin.

Psoriasis will be diagnosed by a doctor based on the appearance of the skin. In general, psoriasis is a nuisance, producing at most mild discomfort for most people, though a severe case can be debilitating.

Psoriasis is a chronic condition that will flare up for a time and then go away for a while. Keeping the skin from drying out, getting regular sunlight (without getting to much) and bathing daily can help reduce or prevent flare ups.

Treatment for psoriasis involves topical medication that is applied to the skin directly for mild irritation and flare-ups, pills and shots for more severe outbreaks, and phototherapy (light therapy using artificial sunlight).

If a flare up occurs, oatmeal or Dead Sea Salt baths can help, as can covering the affected area at night, and using extra moisturizer.

Eczema

Eczema is a group of skin conditions, the most common which is called atopic eczema. This skin condition that is similar to an allergy. With atopic eczema, the skin responds to an irritant by developing an itchy rash, and may develop blisters, or thickened leather like areas. Eczema is most common in young children, who usually grow out of it by young adulthood, but can occur in adults.

Eczema tends to run in families, and commonly occurs alongside allergies and hay fever. A diagnosis is made based on the appearance of the skin and family history.

Keeping the skin moist is crucial in dealing with eczema. Use moisturizers that contain no alcohol, scents or dyes, and moisturize several times a day during a flare up. If the air is dry, as it frequently is during winter, a humidifier can help keep the skin from drying out.

Stick to short cool baths, and use soaps sparingly. Avoid soaps with scents or dyes. After a bath pat the skin dry gently, and apply lotion or moisturizer while the skin is still damp.

Itching can be treated with antihistamines, or with a cold compress. A doctor may prescribe a cortisone cream to use when flare-ups occur. More severe flare ups may be treated with corticosteroids (oral or injected), or antibiotics to treat infection or allergy shots.

Rosacea

Frequent redness of the face, including an increase in the number of spider-like blood vessels is the main symptom of rosacea. Other symptoms include blisters or acne-like eruptions.

Unfortunately, rosacea is not curable and there are few treatments available. However, it can be managed and flare ups can be reduced or even eliminated by avoiding triggers and irritants.

Each person’s triggers for rosacea are unique, though common triggers include sunlight, stress, sweating and hot, spicy foods. Keeping a journal can help identify triggers and prevent further exposure.

Long term rosacea can lead to a red, bulbous nose which can be very damaging to the appearance and self-esteem. However, enlarged nose tissue may be surgically reduced. Antibiotics and medications similar to vitamin A may be prescribed to control and treat eruptions. These eruptions are not acne, and will not respond to over the counter acne treatments.

Acne

Acne is the medical term for pimples, zits, and other skin eruptions that are caused by blocked pores and hair follicles. Contrary to popular belief, acne is not caused by eating greasy food, or chocolate. However, greasy substances on the skin, including heavy make-up can clog the pores and lead to acne.

Acne can also be triggered by hormonal changes, and friction or pressure on the skin from items such as phones, helmets or backpacks.

There are a number of treatments available for acne, both over the counter and by prescription. Treating acne quickly and appropriately can prevent a break out from getting worse, get rid of the breakout faster, and prevent scarring or other side effects.

 

Every person’s skin is unique, with unique needs. Taking proper care of the skin, from a basic regimen to keep the skin healthy to treatment for skin conditions, should be a part of everyone’s daily routine. A dermatologist can help identify problems, treatment goals, and the best skin care products for a person’s individual skin care needs.

They say that beauty is only skin deep, but that skin is a pretty important layer. Taking care of the skin, and keeping it clear leads to both health and beauty, a pretty wonderful combination.