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Today in Health & Wellness
HEALTH CONDITIONS

Skin Care

Overview
Symptoms
Risk Factors
Treatment and Management
Doctors to Consult
Overview

The skin is the largest organ in the body. It is made up of three distinct layers, each serving a special function. The epidermis is the top layer of the skin. The epidermis acts as a first line of defense against toxins, foreign bodies, and the sun. Skin renewal occurs at this layer and the whole process takes about four weeks. The dermis is the middle layer of the skin. Sweat and sebaceous glands and hair follicles are found in this layer. Sebaceous glands produce an oily substance, called sebum, which lubricates and protects the skin.

Sweat glands are part of the body's cooling system; as sweat evaporates, body temperature drops. The subcutaneous layer is the deepest layer of the skin. This layer specializes in fat production, and is also key to the manufacture of vitamin D.

Symptoms
  • DRY SKIN occurs when the dermis does not secrete enough oil, or sebum. The result is tight, drawn, flaky and dull complexion. In more extreme cases, dry skin lacks elasticity and can be extremely sensitive to the sun, wind, and cold temperatures.
  • OILY SKIN usually has a lot of shine to it and the pores are generally enlarged. It is more prone to pimples, black-heads, and whiteheads than other skin types and is coarser in texture.
  • COMBINATION (Normal to oily). People with normal to oily skin generally have normal skin on their cheeks and oily skin with enlarged pores on their T zone, the area that stretches across the forehead and down the nose and chin.
  • COMBINATION: (Dry to oily). This skin type is marked by oily skin in the T zone and dry, taut skin on the cheeks.
  • SENSITIVE SKIN irritates easily and is often red and blotchy. This type of skin can have allergic reactions to beauty products and is usually sensitive to the sun, wind, and cold weather.
Risk Factors

AGE SPOTS. Also known as liver spots, are flat, brown discolorations of the skin which usually occur on the back of the hands, neck, and face of people older than 40 years of age. They are caused by aging, exposure to the sun or other forms of ultraviolet light. Tretinoin and alpha-hydroxy acids may be applied to reduce the appearance of age spots. Sunscreens should be worn every day to prevent skin damage due to sun exposure.

FINE LINES AND WRINKLES. These are due to loss of skin's elasticity, tension, and fluid content. The best prevention is staying out of the sun and large intake of fluids. Many products are available over the counter that has their claims as "skin revitalizer." Tretinoin cream and other tretinoin preparations, AHA or a-hydroxy acids are also widely promoted against wrinkles, spots and other signs of aging.

SUNBURN. This is produced through extreme exposure to UVB of the sun. Erythema is the first manifestation followed by soreness and swelling. A known prevention of this is the use of sunblocking agents with SPF or Sun Protection Factor. Treatment includes the application of zinc lotions to sooth the area.

SCARS. These are formed when the dermis or the deep, thick layer of the skin is damaged. Often than not it is removed along with the complete healing of the wound. Vitamin E and C are known supplements that help fasten scar healing

SKIN INFECTIONS. Bacteria, fungi or viruses may cause skin infections. Breaks in the skin are favorite habitats of these microorganisms. For each specific skin infection, an appropriate anti-infective therapy is often given.

Commonly Prescribed Drugs
Treatment and Management
  • Taking care of dry skin: Wash face once a day with a very mild cleanser and warm water. Rinse with cold water and pat the skin dry. Use heavy, oil-based moisturizers and makeup. Avoid toners and makeup that contain alcohol as alcohol-based products have a drying effect on the skin.
  • Taking care of oily skin: Oily skin tends to attract more dirt than dry skin. Experts recommend washing the face several times a day with a light, non-greasy liquid cleanser soap and warm water. Rinse with cold water. Use toners and astringents containing alcohol to help dry the skin. Buy water-based moisturizers and make-up and use powder to minimize shine.
  • Taking care of normal to oily skin: Find products that will keep the skin hydrated, while minimizing breakouts and shine in the oily areas. Look for cleansers designed for combination skin and use a water-based moisturizer, applying it less frequently to oily skin. Products that contain alpha hydroxy acids and vitamin A retinols can help balance combination skin. Use oil-absorbing makeup to reduce shine.
  • Taking care of dry to oily skin: Wash the face with cleansers designed for combination skin. Use a toner, diluted with water before applying to the cheeks. Apply moisturizer more frequently to dry skin.
  • Taking care of sensitive skin: Look for soap, makeup, and moisturizers that are fragrance-free and hypoallergenic. Wash face once a day and avoid using skin exfoliants. Use a hypoallergenic toner on oily areas, but discontinue if it causes irritation.
Home Remedies
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