Archives for posts with tag: skin conditions

Itchy and irritated skin is not only uncomfortable, it’s a hassle! There is nothing worse than being in the middle of a conversation with someone and have an unbearable itchy sensation. Scratching may provide a temporary relief but within a few seconds that annoying sensation will come back to taunt you.

So what can you do when you develop a rash and need some sort of relief?

An important first step is to understand the cause of your rash. If you have an allergy or reaction to products touching your skin, discontinuing use or contact may offer immediate relief. The type of rash you develop could be a generalized rash (all over the body) or appear only on discrete areas. Area specific rashes may be the result of new product use or contact with an irritant.

Depending on the source of the rash you may have itching, redness, tingling, burning, pain or inflammation. A rash is a general term that refers to an outbreak of bumps on the body that alter the way the skin looks or feels. There are common categories for the types of rashes people develop including:
 Scaly patches of skin not produced by infection
 Scaly patches caused by infection
 Red, itchy bumps or patches on the body

A rash should be evaluated by a health care professional to determine cause and proper treatment options. Home treatments can be an effective choice for many rashes and one of the most popular is a topical cortisone treatment. These are available over the counter or by prescription, depending on the strength needed.

Cortisone is a steroid hormone that can be administered orally, topically, intravenously, cutaneously or intraarticularly. Cortisone works to suppress the immune system (thus reducing inflammation). Cortisone, like any steroid, can be risky when used long term.

What are the side effects of cortisone?

Cortisone can lead to a permanent thinning of the skin in the areas it is used most frequently. Since cortisone suppresses the immune system it should not be used by people suffering from kidney/liver diseases, heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers, osteoporosis or other medical conditions. Consult with your health care provider regarding any specific questions.

Benefits of Cortisone

While it may not be a long term solution, cortisone is a wonderful option for quick relief of those annoying rash symptoms! Over the counter cortisone treatments are a much lower dosage and may need to be applied more frequently to relieve symptoms.

Final Thoughts

Cortisone is one of those popular treatments that are frequently used as a “cure all” for skin conditions, especially the rash. While it may provide temporary relief, long term treatment should be under the consultation of a health care provider. Cortisone has many benefits but should be used with caution by people with any type of chronic health condition.

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What’s Up with Freckles Anyway?

Have you ever stared into the mirror and wondered why your face and arms are covered with freckles? Depending on your skin type and sun exposure, the number of freckles may increase every year. If you are frustrated with the freckles and looking for ways to reduce their appearance, there may be options available for you to try!

First, the biology!

A freckle is a cluster of concentrated melanin and they are most visible on people with fair skin. Although a freckle can appear on anyone, they are genetic and are an inherited trait. The formation of freckles is triggered by exposure to sunlight. Freckles are also referred to as “ephelis”.

Social & Psychological
Some people consider freckles to be cute but others view them as an embarassment. The fact is that no one likes looking different from their friends and freckles can really make you stand out in a crowd. Freckles, although naturally occuring, can make children and teens feel different from their friends and perhaps even unattractive.

Where do freckles form?

Many people develop freckles in the areas most commonly exposed to the sun. The face including the nose and cheeks are usually the first to form patches of freckles. Other areas of the body such as the hands, back and arms may begin to develop freckles as exposure to sun and age increase. Freckles rarely form in fold areas of the body such as the armpits.

Are they dangerous?

It is easy to become concerned that spots on the skin may be a signal of another underlying condition. Freckles are not a skin disorder that requires treatment. They are a result of a lower concentration of photoprotective melanin in the skin and increased susceptibility to the damaging effects of UV radiation.

NOTE: It is important to consult with a dermatologist to determine if any new brown spots that form on your skin are dangerous or not. Skin conditions (such as skin cancer) may reveal themselves as new or irregular spots on the skin and should not be ignored. Consult with a doctor if you have any concerns.

Types and Appearance

Ephelides (simple freckles) are typically flat, round and light tan or brown. They appear most commonly on fair skinned people although they can appear on other skin types. Although the color and appearance of freckles tend to be uniform from person to person, colors may vary from reddish to yellow or even black. Most freckles are no larger than the head of an average nail.

Sunburn freckles are the result of increased exposure to the sun and burning of the skin. These will be much larger than their every day counterparts in that they are larger and have irregular borders. They appear most commonly on the back and arms (areas of the body more prone to overexposure).

How to Minimize the Appearance

Some freckles may gradually decrease in appearance over time. This is especially true during the colder months when exposure to the sun is minimized. Many people have freckles that just stay the same in appearance all year round. Minimizing the appearance of these can be a time consuming and frustrating process.

A skin lightener can be effective choice for helping to counter act the effects of hyperpigmentation in the skin. Skin lighteners decrease the appearance of brown spots of the skin to more closely match the surrounding coloration. Although these will not make freckles (or moles) disappear, they may greatly decrease their appearance.

Note: Some products may contain ingredients that can cause harm with extended use. Consult with an esthetician or dermatologist for recommendations if you are unsure or need additional information.

Prevention

Learning to prevent freckles from ever occurring is the best defense. Start by taking small steps:
Wear sunscreen (at least SPF30) daily – even in the winter!
Minimize exposure to the sun and tanning (especially burning)
Protect the skin by covering it up and wearing a brimmed hat

By taking these simple steps you may begin to see your freckles fade naturally over time. Remember that proper skin care takes dedication and determination but is achievable over time.


Like most common but harmless skin problems, rosacea is a chronic (ongoing) condition that is characterized most commonly by facial erythema (redness). Although it is harmless and mostly a cosmetic problem, rosacea can flair up frequently without warning and may require repeated treatment to keep under control. The good news is that several topical treatments are available today to help calm this inflammation and reduce the appearance over time.

The “What”

Rosacea is actually broken down into four “subtypes” that may occur on their own or in combination with each other:
1) Erythematotelangiectatic rosacea: This type is permanent redness in people with a tendency to appear flushed or blushing easily. Small blood vessels may be visible along the skin surface and in some cases; the skin may experience an itching or burning sensation.

2) Papulopustular rosacea: This type is most easily confused with acne as it is classified by red papules (bumps) on the skin that may be pus filled.

3) Phymatous rosacea: This type is actually associated with another condition called rhinophyma which is an enlargement of the nose. This has many symptoms such as thickening skin, irregular surface nodularities and enlargement. This can affect the chin, forehead, nose, eyelids and ears. Small blood vessels may be visible along the skin surface as well.

4) Ocular rosacea: This will cause red, dry and irritated eyes and eyelids.

Although these are the four main subtypes that occur in most people, there are variations and any condition should be consulted by a doctor (such as a dermatologist) before pursuing any treatment options.

The “Why”

It is natural to want to understand why a certain condition has developed. Although some conditions can be prevented with proper skin care and diet, others are inherited or develop because of factors beyond our control. Rosacea has many sources that have been identified by researchers over the years including: sun exposure, emotional stress, hot weather, wind, heavy exercise, alcohol consumption, hot baths, cold weather, spicy foods, humidity, indoor heat, certain skin care products, some foods, etc.
It is easy to see that sometimes identifying the exact source of rosacea can be problematic. But since it is an inflammation of the skin, most topical treatments can assist in controlling the condition and reducing the appearance and symptoms. Severe conditions may require prescriptions from a doctor for treatment.

The “Who”

Rosacea primarily occurs in Caucasian or fair skinned people of North Eastern European descent but it is not restricted to this. It occurs in both men and women but women are three times more likely to develop this condition. Primary onset occurs between the ages of 30 and 60.

The “How”

So how can you treat rosacea once it occurs? From the list of causes you have probably surmised that the initial onset will need to be treated after the fact and not as a preventative approach. Topical treatments are most common and applied directly to this skin to reduce the inflammation and soothe any irritation. Depending on the severity of the condition, normal cosmetics may be sufficient to cover the redness with no additional treatment required.
Rosacea is not a “curative” condition and may go through periods of inflammation and flair ups. Short term treatments may provide short term relief but the condition could reoccur as soon as treatment has been discontinued. Long term treatments are usually required to maintain control over rosacea.

What to Try

Try a simple but effective topical treatment that is applied directly to the face for relief from the inflammation. A wonderful choice is the RosaCalm, a unique marine complex combined with willow herb and oat beta-glucan help to reduce the appearance of facial redness and calm reactive skin with continued daily use.

Final Thoughts

Although rosacea is an irritating an ongoing condition for most, there are ways to control the problem and find relief. Remember that proper skin care is a lifelong commitment and needs to be fine tuned and developed for your individual skin type and needs. Consult with a dermatologist or esthetician to find the products that will best suit your needs and take control of your rosacea today!

Have you ever even heard of milia? Probably not, although it is a very common skin condition that effects everyone from infants to the elderly. Basically it is tiny white bumps on the skin. Just like any other skin condition there are several different types and treatments available to help you banish the bumps from sight!

Milia are asymptomatic and usually occur around the eyes in children and adults. Up to half of infants in the United States develop milia at some point. In appearance they are small skin lesions (bumps) that range from pearly white to pale yellow in appearance.

Primary milia are most typically seen in infants but may occur in adults. This type typically forms around the nose and eye region. Secondary milia are seen in different blistering disorders or following dermabrasion. Milia are tiny epideremoid cysts that may be may be derived from the pilosebaceous follicle.

Causes

Primary milia may be the result of sebaceous glands that are not fully developed (thus explaining its massive occurrence during infancy). Secondary milia form following blistering or trauma and disruption to the sweat glands. This type can also develop following skin treatments such as dermabrasion or radiotherapy.

Treatment

The most important thing to remember about milia is that they are completely harmless. As a parent it may be tempting to seek treatment for your child’s skin but left alone it will treat itself over time. Basically it is tiny pockets of dead skin cells on the surface and through the natural exfoliation process and building of new skin cells, skin will heal itself and the tiny bumps will disappear.

It is important to remember that milia is not like acne and should not be “pinched” or “popped”. This could lead to significant scarring when done, especially at home. If you are very concerned over the bumps on your skin or wish to seek treatment, consult with your dermatologist.

Prevention

The best way to treat milia is to prevent it from ever developing. This is not true in the case of infant milia – an infants skin is very delicate and should not be exposed to excess cleansers or treatments. Consult with your child’s physician before taking any action.

For teens and adults a gentle exfoliation can help in the prevention of milia but will not clear up the condition once it has developed. A gentle exfoliant will help soften the skin and ease the natural exfoliation process and prevent the build up of more dead skin cells. Remember that your skin is sensitive and should not be exposed to harsh chemicals or rough scrubbing as this will only cause more damage and trauma. (Over exfoliation may actually increase the occurrence of milia on the skin so use good judgment when developing a skin care routine).

Want to learn more about proper skin care? Find us online at http://www.bellaninainstitute.com.