Skin Troubles? Causes & Solutions of the 3 Most Common Skin Concerns
Taking care of your skin is one of the first steps you can take when it comes to beauty. However, you may be surprised to find out the causes of your common beauty concerns.
Problem #1: Dry itchy skin
We all know that the drier, winter months tend to result in dry and irritated skin, but this is not the only cause. Studies reveal that there may be other underlying causes, such as hormonal imbalances, vitamin deficiencies or prescription medicine.
It has also been found that oestrogen, the female hormone that fluctuates during menopause, is linked to collagen production, which is responsible for the strength of our skin, as well as moisture retention. A lack of vitamin A is a primary cause of dry, itchy skin, as it is a key component in normal skin growth and mucus cell production. Those taking antibiotics, narcotic medications and anti-fungal drugs over an extended period of time run the risk of experiencing very itchy skin.
You first need to identify the underlying cause of your concern, but changing your diet can help. Experts at WebMD.com believe that essential fatty acids – found in salmon, walnuts and fortified eggs – will help to improve your skin, and a shortage of these will have the opposite effect. Also look to include more sardines, soy and flax seed in your diet for healthy omega-3s. If you are entering menopause, speak to your healthcare provider regarding healthy hormonal replacement alternatives.
There are a number of oil-based or ultra-rich creams on the market that can alleviate dry, itchy skin without irritation.
Product: Try Vaseline Intensive Care Advanced Moisture Repair (contains a specially designed blend of glycerine, Vaseline Petroleum Jelly and dimethicone to lock moisture in), Eucerin Dry Skin 10% Urea Lotion (provides intensive moisturisation for the treatment of dry, itchy, flaky skin conditions) or Nivea Rich Nourishing Body Moisturiser (contains almond oil and Hydra IQ, and is suitable for dry to very dry skin).
Problem #2: Rosacea
Doctors who specialize in the treatment or rosacea, a skin condition that leaves the skin around the cheeks, eyes and chin swollen, red and burning, say there are a number of reasons why rosacea can arise. Local experts at Skin Renewal add that the condition affects mostly adults between the ages of 30 and 60, and is more common in women and those with fair hair. Left untreated, rosacea can be progressive.
In most people it is cyclic, so it will flare up for a few weeks or months, then lessen for a period, before flaring up again. It is often misdiagnosed as skin allergies or eczema, but, once diagnosed, is very treatable. The cause is unknown, but some researchers believe it could be a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Some identified triggers include sun exposure, emotional stress, hot weather, heavy exercise and alcohol.
Hot baths, spicy food, humidity, the chlorine in swimming pools, corticosteroids and certain blood pressure medications can also lead to an unexpected flare-up in those who suffer from this skin ailment.
Nutrition experts explain that rosacea sufferers should stay away from dairy products such as yoghurt, sour cream and cheese, as well as vegetables such as eggplant, avocados and spinach, and fruits such as tomatoes, bananas, red plums, raisins and figs. There are topical therapies (such as azelaic acid) and prescription medications for severe cases. Speak to your dermatologist or doctor regarding the best course of therapy for you.
Product: SkinMedica’s Redness Relief Calmplex (helps to reduce the appearance of visible redness by addressing the underlying causes) or Dermalex Rosacea (free from steroids, parabens and fragrance, this specially formulated product calms, soothes and protects against future flare-ups).
Problem #3: Chapped lips
Chapped lips are a minor (and very common) form of lip inflammation known as cheilitis, which causes our lips to either crack or peel. Los Angeles dermatologist Jessica Wu told WebMD that lips have thin surface layers of skin, so they are more likely than the rest of the face to dry out. “You lose up to 10 times more moisture through your lips than you do elsewhere on your face and body.”
Some people have a tendency to unthinkingly bite, chew or lick their lips, often when feeling stressed or when their lips dry out due to the weather. What we don’t realise is that this seemingly harmless habit is severely damaging our lips. Our lips have a very thin coat of oil, which locks in the moisture to keep them moist and warm. When we apply saliva to our lips by licking, chewing or biting on them, we unintentionally remove this very thin, but very important layer of oil from the lips. This in turn leads to loss of moisture, which can result in chapped lips. It is therefore very important to constantly apply a moisturiser to lips, especially when they start to feel dry.
Your lips need a protective shield, and a balm provides the perfect buffer between your skin and the environment. Chapped and cracked lips heal better when they are moist, so opt for an emollient balm or ointment rather than a waxy stick, recommends Wu. The aim is to seal in moisture and protect with beneficial oils and vitamins. The barrier will help to seal deep cracks and splits, and protect from further irritation.
Product: Eucerin Intensive Lip Balm (reduces redness around the lips due to dryness, is perfect for sensitive skin and provides immediate relief for extremely dry and cracked lips) or Blistex Lip Medix (contains medicated ingredients to deliver a noticeable and immediate cooling effect, provides fast relief from the hot, itching sensation, and restores a healthy moisture balance to lips)
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