GET TO KNOW YOUR SKIN

IT’S EASY TO OVER­LOOK OUR SKIN’S HEALTH, BUT IT PLAYS A VERY IM­POR­TANT ROLE IN KEEP­ING YOU WELL. IT PRO­TECTS YOU FROM HEAT, LIGHT, IN­JURY, BAC­TE­RIA, FUNGI AND VIRUSES, SENSES PAIN AND PLEA­SURE, AND HELPS TO REG­U­LATE YOUR BODY TEM­PER­A­TURE

Good Health Choices - - Be Informed -

The skin is the largest or­gan of the hu­man body so it’s im­por­tant that we take ex­tra good care of it. Yet while there are shelf-upon-shelf of skin­care prod­ucts out there, not to men­tion a plethora of treat­ments and ad­vice, this abun­dance of choice can make it hard to know where to start. So we’re here to help with our handy skin­care guide. Over the next nine pages, we’ll give you the lowdown on skin­care prod­ucts; help you es­tab­lish life­style habits for healthy, ra­di­ant skin; and ex­plore some com­mon skin con­di­tions and how to treat them. Plus we’ll equip you with in­valu­able in­for­ma­tion and tips to help you best man­age ex­ist­ing prob­lems and pre­vent new ones from devel­op­ing. There are sec­tions on skin cancer and tips for age­ing grace­fully so you can love the skin you’re in.

ALL ABOUT MOIS­TURIS­ERS

The type of mois­turiser that is best for you de­pends on many fac­tors in­clud­ing your age, your skin type and whether you have any spe­cific con­di­tions, such as acne. Some mois­turis­ers sit on top of the skin to slow wa­ter loss while oth­ers in­crease the skin’s abil­ity to hold in mois­ture. Your doc­tor can help you choose one that is ideal for your skin type and in­di­vid­ual con­cerns. In gen­eral:

Bath and shower oils de­posit a thin layer of oil on the skin.

Lo­tions are best ap­plied af­ter a bath or shower while skin is damp to seal in the mois­ture. They are ideal on hairy ar­eas and to treat mild skin dry­ness.

Creams are thicker and have more stay­ing power than lo­tions.

Oint­ments are pre­scribed for drier, thicker, scalier ar­eas of skin. They con­tain pure oil prepa­ra­tions and can be very greasy and dif­fi­cult to re­move.

ECZEMA

What is it? A chronic, non-in­fec­tious in­flam­ma­tory con­di­tion that can cause a lot of dis­com­fort. Symp­toms in­clude:

Moder­ate to se­verely dry, itchy skin Re­cur­ring rash

Wet, weepy patches of skin

Rough, thick, some­times cracked skin

What causes it? The ex­act cause is un­known, but it’s a sign that your skin is lack­ing in sub­stances that usu­ally keep it sup­ple and in­tact. When dam­aged, mois­ture evap­o­rates from your skin, caus­ing cracks. Al­ler­gens and ir­ri­tants can get in and th­ese may make your skin feel itchy.

Trig­gers in­clude:

Wool or man-made fi­bres next to the skin Soaps, de­ter­gents, chem­i­cals, per­fume Be­ing too hot or too cold

Ex­ces­sive dry­ing out of the skin Al­ler­gens like dust­mites, mould, pollen or pet dan­der

Hav­ing a cold or flu

Stress

Cig­a­rette smoke

Try this:

Try to iden­tify and avoid trig­gers.

Try to keep your home at an even tem­per­a­ture.

Use a hu­mid­i­fier in dry or heated rooms to keep air moist.

Mois­turise skin reg­u­larly.

Ask your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist about med­i­ca­tions like cor­ti­cos­teroids that work by sup­press­ing in­flam­ma­tion and oral an­ti­his­tamines to re­duce the itch.

Pre­scrip­tion medicines that weaken the im­mune sys­tem and/or light ther­apy may be needed to con­trol se­vere chronic eczema.

PSO­RI­A­SIS What is it?

Pso­ri­a­sis oc­curs when the im­mune sys­tem sends the wrong mes­sage to skin cells, caus­ing ac­cel­er­ated growth. New skin cells start to de­velop over a pe­riod of days in­stead of weeks and an over­abun­dance of skin cells builds up, form­ing red, thick scaly patches.

What causes it?

Ex­perts be­lieve it is a mix of ge­net­ics and en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors that trig­gers the con­di­tion. Our genes can pre­dis­pose us to de­velop pso­ri­a­sis and many suf­fer­ers have a fam­ily his­tory; how­ever, not ev­ery­one with a pre­dis­po­si­tion will de­velop the con­di­tion. Stress, al­co­hol, smok­ing, in­fec­tion, in­jury to the skin and cer­tain med­i­ca­tions all have the po­ten­tial to trig­ger pso­ri­a­sis if you have a ge­netic pre­dis­po­si­tion.

Try this:

Speak to your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist about pre­scrip­tion creams, oint­ments and/or oral med­i­ca­tions used to treat pso­ri­a­sis. See a der­ma­tol­o­gist for light ther­apy, which works by slow­ing the growth of af­fected skin cells.

BE KIND TO YOUR­SELF

Be­cause pso­ri­a­sis is so vis­i­ble, suf­fer­ers are also at risk of devel­op­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal is­sues such as poor body im­age, low self­es­teem, and de­pres­sion. Ask your doc­tor about how best to deal with th­ese is­sues or head to The New Zealand Psy­cho­log­i­cal So­ci­ety web­site (psy­chol­ogy.org.nz) and use the Find a Psy­chol­o­gist ser­vice.

ROSACEA What is it?

Rosacea is a chronic, in­flam­ma­tory skin dis­or­der that causes red patches, pim­ples, bumps and burst cap­il­lar­ies on your face. The con­di­tion tends to ap­pear be­tween the ages of 30 and 50. The first symp­tom is usu­ally a ten­dency to blush, which be­comes more fre­quent and more no­tice­able. Even­tu­ally the fa­cial red­ness be­comes con­stant, only chang­ing in in­ten­sity.

What causes it?

The pre­cise cause is not known but cer­tain things can ag­gra­vate symp­toms, such as:

Spicy foods

Hot drinks

Al­co­hol

Sit­ting close to an open fire

Sun and wind ex­po­sure

Hot baths and saunas

Try this:

If you have mild rosacea, avoid­ing th­ese trig­gers may be enough to im­prove the con­di­tion. Oral an­tibi­otics are ef­fec­tive in sup­press­ing the con­di­tion in most cases but the ef­fect is of­ten tem­po­rary – some­times a top­i­cal an­tibi­otic helps. Hy­dro­cor­ti­sone cream may be pre­scribed and laser ther­apy can be ef­fec­tive in treat­ing red­ness and skin thick­en­ing.

( 30 per cent of peo­ple who suf­fer from pso­ri­a­sis have a fam­ily his­tory of the con­di­tion

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