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Skincare Problems and Disorders

By: Julie Burns - Updated: 30 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Hormonal Imbalance; Skin Disorders;

Trying to keep skin looking lovely is one thing; but skin problems and disorders can happen when the body is stressed through occupational tension, illness, hormonal imbalance or pregnancy. Skin ailments can range from overly dry skin conditions to irregular pigmentation and severe reddening. Each requires specialist care and attention but here's a breakdown of each as a general outline.

Skin Disorders

Early tell-tale signs to watch for includes skin texture that coarsens and feels sore, rough or scaly. As it's the skin's moisture content that keeps skin soft and healthy, a distinct lack can make skin sorely chafed and itchy. This point is in effect a danger, as bacterial, fungal and viral infections can trigger.

About Irritant Eczema
Otherwise known as dermatitis, this is where external factors - allergies or irritants inflame skin and can adversely affect the protective layer. It can occur as scaling on the face, as an overly flaky scalp or as roughness on the hands or other parts of the body. Common culprits for this complaint can include household products across detergents, soap powders and cleaners; toiletries - especially hair dye, perfumes and cosmetics; jewellery rashes from nickel or gold alloys.

Atopic Eczema displays the same symptoms but is an internal inflammation of the skin. It can be inherited and lead to severe skin distress to the point of blistering, weeping and broken sleep as typically, the itching grows more aggravated at night.

Monitor possible causes such as diet - milk, eggs or fish can cause allergic symptoms; exposure to pets and dust; some 'irritating' fabrics such as wool and man-made and chafing underwear; over-heated conditions.

Soothing Eczema
Lavishing moisture back into the skin can calm and comfort a flare-up. The usual medical prescription will be anti-inflammatory creams with steroids to neutralise the inflammation plus emollients to re-nourish. A minimum effective strength is best as anything stronger can actually thin the skin. This is especially important on the face where unless specifically directed, they should not be used at all. Certain homeopathic and Chinese remedies may help add control but it's important to check your GP's opinion on this course of action first.

About Psoriasis
Characteristic skin areas affected are elbows, knees and scalp - sometimes in conjunction with nails and joint problems. Hereditary factors and stress are thought to be behind its overly fast rate of skin cell renewal. The results are red with white scale cells in clusters or psoriasis patches. Linked in with extremely dry skin, it is helped by emollient creams, topical steroids and sunlight.

About Icthyosis
This is a congenital skin disease where skin condition goes into excessively dry overdrive. Both scaly and itchy, it has an extreme fish-skin like appearance.

Tips for Extreme Dry Skin Conditions:
  • Use a good moisturiser and sunscreen lotion all year round. Moisturise skin before, during and after bathing with oils and emollients. Bathe in tepid water and don't soak for long. Avoid soap, especially perfumed, with tar or sulphur and common, household irritants such as detergents.
  • Fatty based emollients are this skin's best friends and will help to offset prolonged steroid use. Most hydrating but can cosmetically feel a bit thick on application. White soft paraffin is an example. Water-based creams are more pleasant but less potent as moisturisers - these include household names E45, Oilatum, Neutrogena.
A disorder of the blood vessels of the face. It begins with a flushed appearance, often triggered by stress, strong foods and alcohol. As the blood vessels in the area become dilated, over time, flushing becomes permanent. As skin temperature increases, so does sebum production which can lead to pustules and open pores. The over thirties and menopausal women are most frequently affected. It can be moderated by avoiding trigger conditions, using relaxation techniques and green tinted cosmetic creams mixed into the make-up base.

Pigmentation Disorders

These conditions require expert guidance but can be helped superficially by clever cosmetics and where necessary, remedial camaflage.

About Chloasma
A common occurrence, this hyper-pigmentation of brown patches, is due to increased production of the melanocyte stimulating hormone. The contraceptive pill can make this kick in, as can pregnancy. Exposure to UV radiation unfortunately makes it worse. Melanoderma is the general term applied to patchy skin pigmentation. In some cases, brown patches may fade over time. On the naturopathic front, the liver is seen as an important starting and clearing point by helping to detox any chemical build-up that may have contributed to the condition. Pomegranate is safe and recommended for use in supporting the liver's elimination process.

About Vitiligo
Otherwise known as leucoderma, this amounts to an absence of melanin pigment in small areas on the skin. The resulting look can be irregular skin colour to a lesser or greater degree. As there is no protective melanin in affected areas, skin here is extremely photo-sensitive and will burn with UV exposure. It is more common and more noticeable in darker skins.

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