The human skin is a remarkable organ. In covering the exterior of our bodies, it is by far the largest human organ, and it’s also one of the most crucial. It provides our first line of defence against a range of infections, and keeps us warm when the temperature drops. It’s worth raising all of these points anyway, but it feels particularly important to bring them up here and now, because let’s face it, we all have our complaints about the skin we’re in.
For some of us it’s a monthly concern, for others it’s all year round, while even the lucky ones who don’t have regular breakouts will tend to have the occasional issue. As we’ve seen, acne can be a constant curse requiring a lot of focus and patience to get rid of, but it’s just one of many complaints that can cause flare-ups on your skin. To get to the bottom of what’s going on, it is useful to know the “why” and the “what” of some of the other problems, three of which we’ll look into below.
For sufferers of rosacea, the troubling thing is just how sensitive it can be; sometimes it’s not there at all, and then suddenly appears on the skin, radiating heat when nothing has been applied. The truth is that it’s a condition that seems to be “triggered” by any of a number of actions: eating spicy food, confusion over whether you cleanse or exfoliate first, as a medication side-effect or even climatic conditions. If none of these seem to track to one of your breakouts, try keeping a rosacea diary noting details such as diet, environment and skincare routine, including showering. Rosacea can be idiopathic, so if you can’t track a cause and prevent it, it may be possible to lessen breakouts with medication or lotions.
Although it’s rare that psoriasis would break out on a person’s face, it can impact your beauty routine in any case, not least if it affects the scalp or elbows, as it is prone to do. While it is true that smoking and drinking can provoke the condition, the truth is that it’s as likely, or more so, to be down to cold weather, stress or an existing condition. The latter may be an infection or response to medication, or could also be related to an injury to the skin such as a bee sting, a bite or a scratch. It is usually treated with corticosteroid creams, which tend to be effective – but make sure you discontinue use as the issue clears, as corticosteroids can thin the skin.
Eczema can affect you more or less anywhere, including facially, and how it looks is really secondary in importance to how it feels. Eczema, after all, itches – a lot. You will be tempted to scratch it, and that’s bad news because it only makes things worse. As for a cause, the bad news is that there are so many possibilities it’s impossible to list them here. The good news is, we can say that it happens in reaction to an external stimulus, so tracing cause to symptom shouldn’t be too arduous. Common stimuli are harsh soaps, itchy fabrics and excess humidity, as well as foods. As with psoriasis, the most common treatment is corticosteroid cream, although other ointments are available if the cream is not tolerated.