Our face plays a very important part of our day to day lives. It is the first thing people notice when they see us. It is what we are remembered by. It is how we are identified.
Caring for our face is therefore important. The skin on our face is more sensitive than skin on other areas of our body. It is important that we look after it and ensure it is well moisturised and protected from the sun and wind. Dry, sun exposed skin will age prematurely and is more prone to irritation.
Daily moisturising using a moisturiser containing a sunscreen will help to protect the skin as will wearing a hat when outdoors. Also select make up carefully and only use good quality products that suit your skin. Wash make up off at the end of the day to ensure the skin has a chance to breathe and recover.
Regardless of how well you care for the skin on your face some people will still develop skin conditions affecting their face. This is often due to an hereditary condition or simply bad luck.
Common conditions affecting the skin on the face include eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and perhaps the most common of all acne.
Eczema – Chronic, Itchy and Irritating
Eczema is a chronic inflammatory skin condition most common in children but also prevalent in adults. The skin becomes dry, red and inflamed however the most irritating symptom of all is the uncontrollable itch that accompanies the rash.
Keeping the skin well moisturised using perfume and preservative free moisturisers that have been designed for sensitive skin will help. The condition may worsen when the skin is exposed to certain elements including dust mite, pet dander, chemicals, climate changes and certain foods. However the triggering factors will vary from person to person making the condition difficult to treat.
To best control the condition you should avoid using soaps on the face and never wash with hot water as this will aggravate the condition. Avoid make up as much as possible but if it must be worn use products that are designed for sensitive skin and ensure it is washed off at the end of the day and a moisturiser is applied.
Use an emollient that has been designed to control eczema and its symptoms. These can often be bought as an over the counter product. If the condition persists and is resistant to the methods you are using you may need to try an alternate treatment or consult a doctor who will prescribe you a stronger cream.
Rosacea – Blushing and Flushing
Rosacea is a chronic condition affecting the blood vessels of the face. It is most common in both men and women aged between 30 and 40 and results in red blotches with hard swollen pimple like bumps appearing on the face.
The superficial facial blood vessels become enlarged and dilated resulting in the hot, inflamed rash that is common in rosacea. Rosacea is most common in people who are prone to blushing and is triggered by any condition that will cause the blood vessels to dilate.
Treatment is therefore aimed at avoiding conditions that will cause dilatation of the superficial facial blood vessels. These conditions include:
• Stressful, anxious or embarrassing situations
• Allowing the skin to overheat (sauna’s, sunburn, overcrowded rooms, washing in hot water)
• Some medications and foods (always consult your doctor before using a new medication)
It is also important to remember that rosacea is not related to eczema or acne and the treatments normally used for these conditions may worsen rather than improve the symptoms. Treatment is aimed at treating symptoms and avoiding trigger situations.
Psoriasis – The Silvery Scale
Psoriasis is yet another chronic condition that may affect the face. It more commonly affects the scalp and extends from the scalp down onto the face. Psoriasis is uncommon in young children, frequently first appearing in mid to late teens and carrying on through life.
Psoriasis is an hereditary condition resulting from on overproduction of skin cells. This causes the affected areas of skin to become red, scaly and itchy. The most distinctive symptom of psoriasis is the thick, silver scales that develop on the skin over the rash.
There is no cure for psoriasis. Treatment is aimed at controlling the symptoms. Warm, moist conditions tend to improve psoriasis hence many psoriasis sufferers will move to warmer climates where they are able to enjoy an outdoors life.
Treatments range from topical creams through to internal and ultraviolet light therapies. Mild cases are usually managed quite effectively by avoiding environmental triggers and using topical creams. More severe cases often require a variety of different treatment options being used in conjunction. Close medical guidance is therefore needed in these cases.
Acne – A Teenage Nightmare
Acne is an inflammatory condition often affecting teenagers during puberty. It is the result of a build up of sebum behind blocked hair follicles. The blocked pores create small pustules (pimples) on the skin surface. If left untreated the pimple will build up in pressure and eventually burst causing bacteria and dead skin to spread across the skin. This causes the skin to become oily and further hair follicles to become blocked and so increasing the problem.
Acne is best treated early to prevent scarring and to allow treatment to have the best chance of being effective. There are many acne treatments available. It is important to remember that not all treatments will help everyone.
If your acne is not clearing up after several weeks of using a treatment you may need to readjust your treatment. Along with medicated treatments it is important to gently clean your skin twice a day with a mild soap and pat dry.
The Stress Of Facial Skin Conditions
All facial skin conditons carry with them a degree of emotional stress as we all know people can see our belmishes. There is no hiding our face.
Being consistent with treatments and avoiding factors that are known to worsen the condition will help. If the emotional side of the condition is weighing you down you should seek professional advice to help you overcome the problem.