Maintaining perfect skin is no easy task. All of us have some kind of blemish whether it be a pimple or a cold sore. Whilst you can hide these imperfections with makeup, there may be times when you want to take more drastic action to remove these skin issues altogether. Here is a guide to some of the most common skin problems, their main causes and their most effective remedies.
Spots & acne
Almost everyone experiences the odd pimple at some point in their life. They are the result of pores in the skin getting blocked with oil and dirt combined with insulin spikes that cause inflammation. Spots are most common in teenagers as a result of hormonal shifts. Other causes can include stress, eating lots of sugary foods and not cleaning one’s face daily. Some people are naturally more prone to spots due to having oilier skin, which can sometimes develop into a more serious condition known as acne – an inflammatory condition that can lead to permanent scarring if not treated.
You can get rid of spots and acne by washing your face twice a day with a special solution. Witch hazel and tea tree oil are two common natural treatments used to unblock pores and combat spots. When it comes to more serious cases like acne, you may be better off using a special face wash with benzoyl peroxide in – this chemical attacks acne-causing bacteria. You may even be able to ask your doctor for a prescribed face wash with antibiotics in to fight infection.
It’s also possible to seek professional treatment to help take more instant action against spots. Beauty spas may be able to offer facial cleansing treatment and facial peels that help unblock pores and prevent the growth of new spots. A more expensive but effective option meanwhile could be laser treatment or microdermabrasion. There are procedures that you can get for acne scarring too once acne has cleared up.
Dry and flaky skin
The on the opposite end of the spectrum, dry skin is most common in people who naturally have less oil in their skin. This can sometimes cause skin to flake as is the case with dandruff. Overwashing skin, being exposed to cold temperatures regularly and being in places with low humidity can also cause dry skin by sucking out the oils. Malnourishment and dehydration can also cause skin to become weak and flaky, so check you’re eating and drinking enough.
Moisturising regularly is the best way to ward off dry skin. There are all kinds of moisturisers and skin creams on the market to choose from, each with different strengths depending on the level of dryness. Meanwhile, there are many shampoos that can prevent dry skin on the scalp. When it comes to going out in cold temperatures, you may want to protect your face with something more heavy duty like Vaseline. For more serious cases of dry skin, you’re best seeing your doctor who may be able to prescribe a steroid cream to help the healing process.
Warts and verrucas
Warts are actually a type of virus. You’re most likely to catch a wart by coming into contact with someone else who has a wart (you don’t catch them from touching toads!). Usually, the virus finds its way into the skin through a cut, although warts can sometimes appear without the skin being broken beforehand. You should be careful once you have a wart or verruca as to not spread it others – covering it up with a plaster and avoiding activities like swimming can prevent this. You should also be careful not to pick at it as this can help to spread the virus more easily – not only might you spread it to others, but you could spread to other places on your body.
There are wart removal creams on the market that you buy over the counter at your local pharmacy. Another more drastic option is to get the wart frozen with liquid nitrogen – this can kill the virus and the wart and can be done by your doctor.
Like warts, cold sores are the result of a virus (they’re actually a form of herpes) and can be spread by coming into contact with someone else who has a cold sore. After an initial breakout, cold sores may disappear naturally on their own, however the virus may lay dormant in the body for years afterwards. Stress, hormonal changes and illness can all cause these sores to then flare up again.
Cold sores clear up naturally by themselves in a few days, but if you can speed this healing process up. Hydrogen peroxide disinfects cold sores causing them to dry up and fade quickly – you need only use a small dab of this liquid on a cotton ball. Aloe vera gel is also a popular and effective remedy that help to clear up these blisters.
Hives and rashes
Hives and rashes come in all manner of forms. They are usually the result of an allergic reaction to a plant, animal, material or skin product and may go away naturally once no longer exposed to the cause of the allergy. Hives are identifiable small bumps that can be very itchy. Rashes are characterised more by redness of the skin and can also be accompanied by itchiness, infection and flaky skin – known as dermatitis (this if often the result of an allergy too). Conditions such as eczema, psoriasis and rosacea can also cause rash-like inflammation, which may not always be allergy related and could simply be genetic.
The best way to treat hives and rashes is with a cold wet flannel or ice pack. Taking a warm bath may also relieve some of the inflammation and could also help to fight the itchiness. You should avoid using soaps and products that could aggravate the skin further – consult your doctor before using any kind of cream. For example, aloe vera can effective at treating many rashes, but could make some conditions such as contact dermatitis much worse. If the rash is the result of a known allergy, you’re best option is to buy some antihistamines from your local pharmacy. These can be taken as oral pills or as a lotion (calamine lotion is known to take some of itchiness out).
If hives or rashes are accompanied by difficulty breathing, dizziness or severe swelling, you should take immediate medical action as the allergic reaction you’re having could be serious. You should also see your doctor if a rash remains for over a week.
These unwanted lumps on the skin are caused by fatty deposit underneath rising to the surface. Cellulite is most common in women and affects largely the thighs and buttocks. It’s not always the result of weight gain – many women develop cellulite after childbirth or during menopause due to hormonal shifts in the body causing an abnormality in the way the body stores collagen. Bad habits like smoking and eating too much salt have also been linked to a greater risk of cellulite.
Exercise is thought to be effective at fighting cellulite. There are also skin creams such as retinol which can toughen the skin and help to hide this condition.
There’s also the option of cosmetic surgery, which is the most immediate way to remove cellulite. Procedures such as fat freezing and body contouring are popular methods of getting rid of these unsightly lumps. Laser treatment and acoustic wave therapy are two less invasive options, although they’re not always as effective.
Moles are often caused by sun exposure, although some people are born with them. When in the sun, our skin releases a darkening pigment called melanin which is evenly distributed throughout the skin – sometimes this ends up getting accidentally concentrated too much in one area causing a mole. Almost everyone on this planet has a mole somewhere, however some people are more prone to moles and can develop huge clusters of them. Whilst the majority of moles are harmless, there are also some which are worth being wary of as they could be a sign of skin cancer – these are often ragged and blurred in appearance and can be identified using online guides.
There’s no need to get rid of most moles unless they’re dangerous or you feel they’re unsightly (such as a large mole on the face). The safest way to remove a mole is to get it professionally removed by a dermatologist. This could involve surgery or it could involve freezing it off. Some people swear by DIY methods such as applying apple cider vinegar or baking soda, but these methods may not work for everyone.