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The ugly truth about skin conditions

Joli NSC

03 June 2021

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The ugly truth about skin conditions

Top left: eczema on face. Top right: eczema on shoulder.

Bottom left: different type of eczema on face. Bottom right: eczema & scarring on torso.

There is so much pain and anguish that goes with having an ongoing skin condition. It won’t go away. You don’t know what’s causing it though you’re trying your hardest to figure it out. You don’t know how to fix it though you’re trying many things – doctors, specialists, cortisol creams, lotions, oils, no soap, no wheat, no diary, no makeup, no sunscreen, no sunlight….

As hard as it is to admit, many of us feel flawed and unattractive due to our skin conditions. I know I felt like a freak as a little girl with eczema (scabbing, cracking, weeping wounds) in the crooks of my arms and behind my knees, unable to move properly because extending limbs meant cracking skin open.

 

Also, as awful as this may be to say out loud, I felt bad not being able to share images of my children because the eczema they had on their faces and bodies (and peeps on social media can be brutal).

As a beauty therapist and someone who has endured skin conditions, as well as having family members who have also endured skin conditions, I’ve tried a thing or 2 to help reduce and repair skin issues. Some things have worked amazing well, such as avoiding certain food and product additives, and some have worked so so, such as using petroleum based lotions.

 

Here are some ways to aid with reduction of various skin conditions which can help you and your skin look and feel better:

1. Eczema

Generally speaking eczema is the skins inability to moisturise itself. There are genetic and other components to eczema which can make treatment complicated. Just when you’ve gotten one flare up under control there are all manner of things that can bring on yet another flare up. This can be weather related: some people have said moving to different locations with different weather patterns can cause a flare up, while others have said moving to warmer, more humid climates can aid in reduction of eczema. A flare up could be food related, triggered by certain additives or preservatives (see the list of numbers to avoid below), or allergies to wheat, dairy, grass, dustmites or dust (as is the case with our son). In the case of allergies, antihistamines are very helpful.

 

One of the most beneficial things to aid with eczema is to keep skin moistutirsed with body butters, bath oils/lotions, and of course, Soothing Salve (a natural version of petroleum jelly) which also soothes itchy, irritated skin!

 

Additives that commonly cause problems:

102, 104, 110, 122, 123, 124, 127, 128, 129, 132, 133, 142, 143, 151, 155, 160b.

 

Preservatives that commonly cause problems:

200-203, 210-213, 220-228, 280-283, 249-252, 280-283.

 

Synthetic antioxidants that commonly cause problems:

310-312, 319-321.

 

Flavour enhancers that commonly cause problems:

MSG 620-625, 627, 631, 635.

2. Psoriasis & Dermatitis

Psoriasis  is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking healthy skin cells and can be triggered by infections and stressors such as: strep throat, weather (cold, dry), injury to skin, smoking and alcohol.

 

Psoriasis is treated in much the same way as eczema: hydration, moisturisation, covering affected areas with moist cloths, exposure to sunlight (our son’s exposed skin didn’t get eczema the way his covered skin did), ointments and creams and avoiding stress, smoking and alcohol.

 

Dermatitis – inflammation of the skin (also known as over-exposure), is usually a reaction to something (an irritant) your skin has come into contact with recently. This could be a new soap, detergent or solvent you’ve started using, hand sanitizer, wipes, a new cream, using gloves that are wet inside or you sweating while wearing gloves, grease and chemicals at work etc.

I remember my brother, a mechanic, getting dermatitis after his work switch the grease they were using.

 

I have heard professionals referring to eczema as atopic dermatitis and them being the same or similar to each other, thus suggested causes and treatments are similar. It’s true in the sense that eczema can be triggered by coming into contact with something such as dust, yet different in that dermatitis is usually caused by direct contact with a known skin irritant.

 

Some treatment ideas are: moisturising your skin, anti-inflammatory/anti-itch products, wet cloths, warm baths, medicated soaps and shampoos, bleach baths and cotton clothing. Steroid creams are often prescribed, however, if you’re still using the thing that is irritating your skin this may be a waste of time and money. The best way to stop dermatitis is to find the skin irritant and STOP using it.

3. Acne

Acne is by far one of the most prevalent and awkward skin ailments. Those with acne often feel paranoid about their skin, depressed, socially avoidant, stressed and anxious. Since acne is so noticeable and occurs more often than not with teens, this can result in bullying which can have long lasting detrimental affects. The only thing worse than having a skin condition is people being rude to you because of it.

 

There are all manner of potential causes of acne, number one being hormones (and genetics), as well as over active sebaceous (oil) glands, however there are also other potential causes such as: dairy, junk food, not washing your skin regularly, using too harsh a cleanser on your skin, and even sugar. Medications can also play a part, along with alcohol and stress.

 

Some people swear by cutting down/not eating sugar (from sugar cane as apposed to natural sugars in fruit). Others have similar results when they stop consuming dairy. No doubt bad diets play a part in bad skin, yet some people have terrible diets and great skin!

 

Acne often results in excess bacteria on the skin and, therefore, one of the best treatments is to use products that help reduce bacteria – at the same time you should avoid products that strip the skin of its natural protections and leave skin excessively dry and unprotected.

 

JOLI don’t have products to treat acne specifically, although we do retail products with essential oils to aid in reduction and treatment of acne.

4. Tinea

Tinea is a fungal infection and can be caught by touching and infected person – having a shower after someone with tinea has used the same shower, sharing items with someone with tinea (shoes, towels). Also, sweating in sports shoes, not changing socks or airing out feet etc.

 

Fungal infections grow in moist, warm conditions so it’s best to keep the area clean and dry. Air out your feet and keep in between your toes dry. It is best if you don’t walk around bare foot if you have tinea on your feet as you can spread it that way. Thongs are a good option.

 

Vinegar can help kill off the fungus while bicarb soda and/or corn flour will help keep the area dry.

 

One thing I have found works with stopping those sores/cracks under toes where water can sit is to dry off the area thoroughly, apply a small amount of salve (it will also soothe the sting from the cut), make a small band-aid sized strip using a tissue (multiple layers is good) and wrap the tissue around toe/wound and salve, secure with tape and leave on over night or during the day and replace when necessary. Do this regularly, while also airing and drying out the area often; it helps the wound be gone within a few days.

5. Rare conditions

Ichthyosis is drying and scaling of the skin. It is a genetic condition that is inherited from one or both parents and there is no cure, only management of the condition.

 

The best way to manage ichthyosis is keeping skin moisturised and exfoliating to reduce dry, scaly skin.

 

I could recomend products for this, however, without someone with the condition having used JOLI products, I wouldn’t suggest anything without first having received feedback regarding the success of the product(s).

 

PMLE/polymorphous light eruption is another non curable skin condition whereby people are photosensitive to UVA and it can be genetic though not often. PMLE occurs mostly in people who are under 40 and flares up in spring and summer when the sun is most prevalent.

 

Symptoms are redness, itching, pain, tiny bumps that merge into raised patches (much like perioral dermatitis), scaling, crusting, bleeding, blisters and hives.

 

Remedies for this condition are anti-itch creams, antihistamines, avoiding the sun, covering up, using an umbrella when outside on sunny days (so if you see someone doing this don’t laugh or tease them), taking vitamin D (researchers have found those with PMLE have lower levels of vitamin D3), using sunscreen and exposure to ultraviolet light via special lamp.

NOTE: I do not use the word UGLY in the title because people with skin conditions are ugly. NEVER!!! I use the word ugly because, sadly, sometimes those with skin conditions can feel awful in a world where unrealistic beauty standards are sold as the thing we MUST attain.

 

This also relates to the guilt and shame I felt when my children had eczema on their faces and people’s reactions to seeing them. People acted as though my babies were ugly… 🙁

 

Maybe the most ugliest truth about skin conditions is other people’s reactions to people who have them.

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