04 Nov 6 common skin problems and the best creams to fix them
From winter dryness to eczema or bothersome breakouts, Vicky Hadley talks to the experts and finds the best creams to help.
The Problem: Eczema
How common is it? One in ten adults and one in five children suffer with eczema, from severe, dry, red and itchy patches that can bleed to symptoms that resembles chicken leg skin, a less severe bumpy rash that doesn’t seem to disappear.
What are the symptoms? Whilst some symptoms of eczema are caused by allergies to a substances such as perfumes, hair dyes, skin creams a very high proportion is actually due to genetics, explains Hywell Williams, professor of dermato-epidemiology and director of the centre for evidence-based dermatology at the University of Nottingham. But it is cureable? ‘Indeed, around 90 per cent of eczema is treatable with the correct use of creams and emolients,’ Professor Williams states.
What can we do to help it? ‘Use a wash without too many preservatives or sodium laurel sulphate as it’s an irritant’, says Professor Williams. Avoid aqueous cream too, one study showed that 56 per cent of children actually have an reaction to it.
Healthista’s favourite cream? Purepotions Skin Salvations Intensive Moisturising Ointment This moisturising Ointment can be used on any part of the body where extremely dry skin occurs. It’s the original salve developed to treat eczema. It is perfect for cracked skin on heels as it is such a deep moisturising formula. Rubbing some of the product on your heel at night before going to bed will make the skin on your feet softer over night. Available from Amazon for £19.99.
The problem: Psoriasis
How common is it? Psoriasis affects around two per cent of people in the UK. It can start at any age, but most often develops in adults under 35 years old. The condition affects men and women equally.
What are the symptoms? Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin covered with silvery scales.These patches normally appear on your elbows, knees, scalp and lower back, but can appear anywhere on your body. Psoriasis occurs when the immune system is out of balance usually from a condition commonly known as ‘leaky gut’.
What can we do to help it? Psoriasis is not an infection nor is it contagious but we are yet to discover a cure. Controlling aggravating factors such as stress, diet, medication and using treatments such as emollients, steroid creams and light therapy are the most common ways to relieve symptoms.
Healthista’s favourite cream? Hope’s Relief, intensive dry skin rescue cream. The cream is a thick texture containing active ingredients such as calendula, manuka honey, aloe vera and liquorice root. Apply 3 to 4 times a day for best results. Available for £12.25 from Hope’s Health.
The problem: Acne
How common is it? Around 85% of the population will have acne at some stage however it is more frequently found in adult women.
What are the symptoms? Small red bumps, cysts, redness around the skin and whiteheads and blackheads.
What can we do? ‘Choose non-comedogenic products’, says Dr. Nick Lowe ‘Comedogenic products have oil included and oil will cause acne so try to opt for products without oils including, coconut oil, soybean oil or cocoa butter’, recommends Dr. Lowe. ‘Hormones changing are often one of the main causes of acne,’ says Dr. Lowe. ‘To work at balancing your hormones you can try to reduce the amount of dairy in your diet, the hormones that cause spots are called androgens, which are really male hormones, but both men and woman have these androgens circulating in their bodies,’ says Dr. Lowe.
‘The androgen levels vary during female monthly cycles and also increase in response to other stimuli, such as stress and certain medications including some oral contraceptive pills,’ he asserts. ‘By lowering your GI and following a healthier diet you can also help to improve your skin, Dr. Lowe says.
Healthista’s favourite cream: Dr Nick Lowe’s range of skin creams, acclenz, is specially formulated to act against spots, blemishes and irritated skin. The blemish serum helps to tighten the pores and reduce excess oil on the skin by stimulating skin cell shedding. Available for £49.00 from Dr.NickLowe.com.
The problem? Dry skin
How common? Nearly half the British population (47 per cent) suffer from dry or very dry skin on their body, yet only a quarter (28 per cent) are actually aware that they have dry skin at all.
What are the symptoms? The key symptom of dry skin is itchy skin. People who have dry skin can often find rough, dry patches on their skin and these patches are often itchy. Dry skin can also crack and cause the skin to split in serious cases.
What can we do to help? ‘With dry skin you should avoid hot showers and instead have warm showers’, says Dr Lowe. ‘ It is also best to avoid soaps and detergents as these can effect the skin, as do exfoliators and toners’, warns Dr Lowe. So what would help out? Natural products are best with gentle ingredients.
Healthista’s favourite cream? Egyptian Magic is an amazingly thick moisturising cream for everyday use. Filled with natural ingredients including Olive Oil, Beeswax, Honey, Bee Pollen, Royal Jelly and Propolis Extract. Available for £21.09 from Amazon.
The problem: Rosacea
How common? Rosacea affects around one in 10 people, and around one in 600 people are diagnosed with it in the UK according to the NHS.
What are the symptoms? Rosacea is a very common, chronic facial skin problem with spots that many patients mistake for acne. More symptoms include increased red acne like pimples and red skin that commonly effects the cheeks.
What can we do to help? As well as following your prescription topical or systemic medication programme, it’s also important to look at your individual lifestyle habits and to be aware of aggravating factors such as sun, spicy food, alcohol and coffee. ‘Avoid using any topical over the counter hydrocortisone creams, spicy foods, alcohol and over the counter soaps and detergents,’ says Dr. Lowe.
Healthista’s favourite cream? Dermalex is an incredible option if you suffer from rosacea. Dermalex works by restoring the skins barrier to prevent flare ups and improve the visibility of redness and dryness on the face. Dermalex is a very gentle cream and does not contain any perfumes, corticosteroids or parabens. Available for £19.45 from Amazon.
The problem? Oily Skin
How common is it? Various studies have shown that around 66% to 75% of young people between the age of 15-20 suffer with oily skin.
What are the symptoms? Oily skin is pretty self-explanatory, the skin can appear greasy and shiny and can often lead to the development of acne. The skin will often have large pores too.
What can we do? ‘Look for products that are non-cosmogenic’, advises Dr. Lowe. Similar to causing acne, products and creams containing oil can cause oily skin to get worse which can lead to breakouts. ‘Aim to use an oil control cream in the morning and in the night especially on the sebaceous glands in the T-Zone (Forehead, nose and chin) which are most likely to get excess oil’, says Dr. Lowe.
Healthista’s favourite cream? Dr Nick Lowe’s acclenz™ range has stormed to the top of our list once again. The Oil Control Day Cream acts directly against excess surface oil on the skin leading to reduced shine and is the perfect base to use before applying make-up. Available for £48.00 from Dr.NickLowe.com.