Skin problems? When skin goes into overdrive
If you suffer from spots, blackheads or itchy rashes help is at hand. For some people clear and calm skin is a far away dream, but there are things you can do to combat acne, eczema and contact dermatitis.
Many people don’t feel comfortable in their own skin, which has detrimental effects on their wellbeing, physically as well as mentally. Most people first encounter skin problems in their teens, suffering from big and painful pustules. However, as we get older, skin problems still occur. Stress has a negative affect on skin as well as lack of sleep and too many worries!
People who suffer from conditions such as eczema and psoriasis react particularly badly towards certain foods and environmental stresses. Most people have been suffering for years, often since their childhood. Skin rashes and contact allergies from synthetic fragrances and nickel are particularly difficult to deal with.
Acne – not only a teenage problem Acne is associated with hormonal imbalances, which activates oil glands in the skin. If glands are blocked by dead skin cells the oil cannot drain away, which results in blackheads and spots. The skin care market is flooded with products claiming to effectively combat acne, most however, can have detrimental affects not only on your skin but your health too.
The strongest ingredient found in European products is called Isotretinoin. It works by reducing the production of sebum, the oily substance produced by the skin, and is available in capsule form. Pregnant women should not use this medication as it can cause deformities in the foetus. Isotretinoin should only be used to treat severe acne and patients should be under constant medical supervision.
Other treatments include the ingredient azelaic acid, which can help with mild acne but it can also irritate skin. A more gentle treatment is fruit acid, however, these should only be used under medical supervision, as high concentration can harm skin. Anti-biotic creams should be considered carefully, as tests have found that germs can become resistant to them.
Modern, over the counter products, which use the ingredient benzoylperoxide, which has a broad anti-bacterial spectrum, have been found to be effective. In the past, this ingredient was believed to be cancerous, but tests have shown that this is not the case. Acne sufferers should keep in mind that some ingredients in cosmetic products encourage spots and blemishes. Watch out for cocoa and coconut butter, paraffin derivatives, lanoli, wax such as Isopropyl Myristate (causes blackheads), brome, iodine and tar preparations.
Some acne treatments contain resorcinol and sulphur; however, its effectiveness has not been proven. Sulphur is believed to worsen some skin conditions, so be sure to read the list of ingredients.
Natural ingredients, which have been used for centuries and do not have any side effects, include Calendula (calming and healing), Chamomile (soothing and anti-inflammatory) and Melissa (soothing), which is used in Aromatherapy to treat allergies. Contact allergies – Nickel and synthetic fragrances Contact allergies can be vicious at times and some people suffer from it throughout their lives.
This kind of allergy is caused by certain substances, which could have had no effect on someone’s skin for years. Suddenly, the immune system goes into over drive, trying to defend itself through the allergic reaction. The most common contact allergen is nickel and women seem to suffer more than men. Symptoms can include dry, flaky skin, itchy rashes, inflammation and eczema. Nickel is found in zips, buttons, coins, doorknobs, medical implants and costume jewellery, especially imports from outside Europe.
Synthetic fragrances are often associated with contact allergies. Symptoms such as red, swollen and itchy skin which can turn into a full blown allergic reaction where blisters form and turn into a response similar to wet eczema. Deodorants, with its concoction of different synthetic fragrances, are often associated with contact allergies. Often, rashes, which start around the underarm area, spread to other body parts.
Fragrances can even enter the bloodstream, which is then pumped around the entire body through the lymphatic system. The following fragrances have been classed as highly allergenic according to the IVDK (German association of dermatology clinics): Evernia Prunastri Extract Evernia Furfuracea Extract Isoeugenol Cinnamal Potential allergens are: Cinnamyl Alcohol Hydroxycitronellal Hydroxyisohexul-3-cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde (HPMCCC or Lyral) The following substances are known to be less allergenic, however, people who suffer from contact allergies should definitely avoid these: Amyl Cinnamal Citral Eugenol Farnesol Butylphenyl Methylpropional (Lilial) Mehtyl-2-octynate Eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis Many people suffer from one of the above, often since childhood.
Sufferers often react sensitive to environmental factors and skin develops itchy eczema. The predisposition is hereditary and triggers include dust mites, pollen, smoke, certain foods and stress. The psychological factors should not be underestimated. Hectic lifestyles and stress at work can add to the already nervous immune system and aggravate the condition. Furthermore, the wrong skin and body care can harm the already dry and sensitive skin further. Most treatments for such skin conditions contain cortisone, which should only be used under medical supervision. Cortisone has been linked to thinning the skin and some people prefer to use natural treatments. Sufferers should refrain from using skin care containing synthetic ingredients and beware of too many strong essential oils.
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