Your skin is one of the first things other people see when they look at you, so you want it to look its best. If you’re like most people, any type of skin problem is not only annoying but it can cause you to feel self-conscious about your appearance. In some cases, certain skin conditions can lead to other medical problems if they aren’t properly treated. You want your skin to look clear, beautiful and youthful so that you feel your best.
Here are five of the most common skin problems and the treatments for them.
What is acne? Acne is one of the most common forms of skin problems with 80% of people experiencing some form of acne at some point in their life. Acne develops due to clogging of the passages that run between the oil glands and the pores on the skin. When these passages clog with dirt and oil, pimples or blackheads can form on the skin. This type of acne may not be attractive, but it is not as likely to leave scars as the more severe type of acne, known as cystic or nodular acne.
How do you treat acne? There are multiple types of treatments for acne and it will depend on the type of acne you have and how severe.
- Mild acne – Your doctor may have you wash your face with warm water and gentle cleanser such as Dove soap or Cetaphil. Benzyl Peroxide might need to be applied to the areas or salicylic acid.
- Moderate to severe acne – For more moderate and severe cases of acne, your doctor may recommend a combination of treatments. He may prescribe an oral antibiotic as well as recommend using Benzyl Peroxide, or use a topical antibiotic lotion or gel on your blemishes. Oral retinoids are also used for more moderate acne. For deep acne such as nodules or cysts, your doctor may need to physically drain them.
Skin tags are unwanted small skin bumps that can grow pretty much on everywhere on the skin, most commonly, on the neck, in arm pits, groin folds and under breasts. These skin growths can appear any time. They’re so common that almost everyone will get one or more at some point in their life.
There are various techniques for removing skin tags including freezing and tying or cutting them off. For treatment of skin tags, there are many over the counter products or kits that can be very effective. But it is advisable that you have it looked at by your dermatologist first.
What is Psoriasis? Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition where the skin tissue builds in an area so thick that it is red and forms silvery scales on the top layer. It is debilitating for those that suffer with this condition because it is a disfiguring look and creates a self-conscious outlook on life. Psoriasis typically starts by building on the elbows and knees but can eventually spread to other areas like the trunk and scalp.
How do you treat Psoriasis? There are several different types of treatments for Psoriasis and what may work for one person may not work for another, which is why it’s always best to talk to your doctor about your options.
- Biologic medications – Biologics are injectable or IV treatments that treat moderate to severe Psoriatic arthritis symptoms and primarily when other treatments haven’t worked. They target specific areas of the immune system.
- Systemics – Systemic medications are taken orally or are injected but instead of targeting specific areas of the immune system, they work through the entire system and are used for moderate to severe Psoriatic arthritis.
- Phototherapy or light therapy – These types of treatments target individual Psoriatic areas on the body. This therapy can be done in a doctor’s office, a clinic or at home with a light therapy unit.
- Orals – These are taken by mouth and work to inhibit the growth of certain molecules that cause inflammation. These are usually given to those with more mild cases of Psoriasis.
- Topicals – These are lotions and ointments that are used on specific Psoriatic spots on the skin. They can be given to you by your doctor and many can be purchased at the pharmacy. They are typically used on mild cases of the disease.
What are stretch marks? Stretch marks are silvery-looking lines, or striations, that develop due to skin being overstretched, such as you’d see with excessive weight gain and pregnancy. They typically form in areas like the thighs, buttocks, arms, abdomen, breasts, armpits and groin. Stretch marks most often start as red lines that over time, will turn to a white color and appear more depressed in the skin. There is still some controversy on how they actually develop, but the basics behind the cause of stretch marks lies with the elastic fibers of the dermis, which is the deeper layer of the skin. When skin is overstretched, these elastic fibers become damaged and inflamed and a scar-like appearance is left behind.
How can you treat stretch marks? Generally speaking, there is no cure for stretch marks. There are treatments that can help stretch marks look less noticeable on the skin, and possibly help them to fade. But there is no guarantee, as each person and their skin is different and will react differently to different treatments. The most common forms of treatments for stretch marks include:
- Retinoid cream – Retinoid is derived from vitamin A and is known to help rebuild collagen in the skin which can help improve the appearance of the skin and stretch marks. Tretinoin is a form of Retinoid used and can be irritating to the skin, as a note of caution.
- Microdermabrasion – This procedure is performed by a trained clinician or doctor and uses a hand-held tool that blows crystals into the skin. The crystals remove a fine layer of skin in a gentle manner which promotes the growth of a new layer of skin that is more elastic.
- Light and laser therapy – There are a variety of laser and light therapies available and choosing one with your doctor or skin or spa clinician will help choosing the right one.
What is Eczema? No one has a true answer for what causes eczema but it is believed to be related to an abnormal functioning immune system. There are also types of this skin condition that are triggered by substances in the environment such as soaps, detergents, chemicals, clothing or anything else that may come in contact with the skin. Natural allergies can cause eczema outbreaks; allergies to grass, pollen, or even changes in temperature or stress in your life.
The skin becomes red, irritated, itchy and dry and flaky. Scratching is a big issue with eczema, but scratching can cause the skin to bleed or become infected. There are treatments for eczema that can help calm the skin and reduce the dryness and itching.
How do you treat Eczema? The most important thing with eczema is to help control the dryness and itching to help prevent open sores from scratching and infection from developing.
- Lotions – Applying soothing lotion and creams on your skin daily will help to keep your skin moist. Benadryl cream can help itchy patches of skin that regular lotions won’t soothe.
- Mild soaps – Use mild soaps like Dove as opposed to harsher soaps, when washing your body and air dry as opposed to towel drying which rubs the skin. Mild detergents for washing your clothes can help reduce eczema outbreaks as well.
- Avoid rapid temperature changes – When you help control your body’s temperature, this may help irritating the skin, such as sweating or getting too cold and dry. Use a humidifier in your home to keep your air cool and moist.
Freckles and brown spots
Freckles and brown spots develop due to a couple reasons. Freckles can appear on the skin due to genetics, sun exposure or a combination of both. They may be cute when you’re young, but as you get older if big browns spots appear on your face or other areas as you get older, you may not find them so cute. You can help diminish the appearance of some freckles or brown spots with a number of beauty products and treatments. A combination of treatments may be needed.
How do you treat freckles and brown spots? The first line of defense for freckles and brown spots is limit sun exposure. Other forms of treatment include:
- Fading creams – Some fading creams, including tretinoin, alpha hydroxyl acids and hydroquinone are types of skin pigmentation faders that can lighten brown spots.
- Light therapy – Intense light therapy and lasers can help brighten the skin and pigment discolorations.
- Liquid nitrogen – This can be done by a doctor and applied to brown spots to help reduce the look of brown spots or freckles and fade them.