At Home with Chris Jessen 2018 - 221
BEAUT Y ▲
our skin is an amazing feat of
engineering. Not only is it the largest
organ in your body, it keeps out
health-damaging bacteria, helps
maintaining an even body temperature
and protects you from danger by
Unfortunately, skin conditions are
remarkably common. Studies suggest
that over half the the UK population
experience a skin condition every year. While most of us
self-care, around 14% seek further medical advice. In fact,
skin conditions are the most frequent reason for people to
consult their GP with a new problem.
Here's the lowdown on some of the most common skin
conditions - and what you can do about them...
Avoiding things that may worsen urticaria, such as heat,
tight clothes, alcohol, medicines that contain aspirin
and ibuprofen can help, but in the majority of cases
no external cause can be identified.
'Oral or topical antihistamines can be bought over the
counter from the chemists, and they will help to relieve
itching,' says GP Dr David Rodgers.
Painful, tingling sensations followed by a rash of red spots,
which turn into fluid-filled blisters, break, then form crusts.
The rash is usually confined to a limited area and affects
only one side of your face or body; you may also experience
a fever, headache, and feel unwell.
A tendency to blush easily, which can develop into
persistent red patches on your cheeks, chin, forehead and
nose. Small, red, pus-filled bumps may also appear and
your skin may also feel sensitive and sting. Rosacea also
sometimes affects the chest and scalp.
Also known as herpes zoster, this painful blistering rash
is causes by the same virus that causes chickenpox. About
20% of people who have had chickenpox will have an attack
of shingles later in life.*
'Whilst the cause is not fully understood, many experts
think that the defect lies in the blood vessels in the skin
of the face, which dilate too easily,' says Matt Gass of the
British Association of Dermatologists (BAD). The condition
is more common in women, and in those with pale skin
who flush easily.
As it is viral, there is little you can do to prevent an attack,
although stress and underlying illness that weakens the
immune system (such as Hodgkin's disease or HIV) makes
an attack more likely.
WORDS: KIA HANSEN AND TRISH LESSLIE, IMAGES: GETTY IMAGES
on the skin, and other physical factors, as well as by
certain foods, drugs and infections.'
'Individuals should avoid triggers that may worsen
their own symptoms such as alcohol, too much exercise,
extreme temperatures, spicy foods and stress,' says Gass.
Sunlight can also make rosacea worse, so wear a sun
block on your face every day.
Topical creams can help to control mild cases. Most people
with rosacea, however, may need to take oral antibiotics
from time to time. In severe cases, beta-blockers may also
be prescribed to reduce flushing. Laser treatment VBeam is
great for reducing facial redness caused by the condition.
'Usually shingles will clear up by itself without any
treatment,' says Dr Rodgers. 'However if you are
immuno-comprised or it affects your eyes, you should
see your GP straight away as you will need antiviral
medication, which is only available on prescription.'
Shiny, slightly raised purple-red spots that are usually itchy.
They usually occur on the fronts of the wrists, the ankles
and lower back, but can spread more widely.
Lichen planus is a fairly common, non-infectious type of
rash that usually occurs in adults. It's thought to be linked
to a lowered immune system.
A raised, red/pink rash that looks like a nettle rash and
which may be itchy. The bumps, called weals, will usually
disappear after a few hours, and can reappear somewhere
else on the body. In rarer cases, the rash can last for
several months. Hives can affect as many as one in five
people at some point in their lives.
'A healthy, balanced diet can help to boost your immune
system,' says dietician Juliette Kellow. 'Include foods
rich in zinc (meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese, nuts
and seeds), selenium (seafood, vegetables, brown rice, egg
yolks, lamb chops, garlic and Brazil nuts) and vitamin C
(blackcurrants, berries, green leafy veg, tomatoes,
peppers, kiwi fruit, citrus fruits).'
'Hives, also known as urticaria, appears when histamine
is released from cells in the skin,' says Gass. 'This can be
triggered by many factors, for example exercise, pressure
'A potent steroid cream can benefit severe cases, but in most
cases the rash will clear by itself,' says Dr Rodgers. >
www.athomemagazine.co.uk FEBRUARY 2018 | 221