Skin is our body's largest organ; maintaining and treating it right can be an intensive and sometimes frustrating task. Our skin can be sensitive or temperamental due to genetics, changes in the body, and environmental reasons. Certain skin disorders are more common than most of us think. Issues such as stretch marks, rashes and bumps, or eczema can be embarrassing for us to talk about or ask for help on how to manage. It is our job to keep our skin healthy and balanced and sometimes we don't have the right products or information to treat it. We aren't perfect here at scrub me, I myself struggle with stretch marks and we also have a team member who suffers with dermatitis (eczema). Luckily, I have done my research and found that certain skin disorders can be treated, maintained, and even prevented at home.
1) Stretch Marks: These markings are essentially tearing of your skin's dermis (the lowest layer of your skin). When our skin grows rapidly or weight fluctuates frequently it can cause your skin to stretch more and more quickly than expected. Damage to the dermis prevents more collagen and elastin fibers from forming. This damage is what creates the scarring effect that we call stretch marks.
Treatment: Stretch marks are difficult to fully get rid of because of the damage our skin has already undergone. Struggling with them myself, I know they can be frustrating and embarrassing. Not only is the discoloration an issue but their rough texture is also a problem. Texture of these markings is easily treated at home and you may see color lighten as well. Daily or twice daily exfoliation can give you results in less than two weeks. Using a salt scrub with added moisturizers is an ideal exfoliation because this can help nourish your skin while you are stimulating the cells. If you use an exfoliation method that does not provide any moisture for your skin, make sure to moisturize after. Keeping your skin nourished is key to managing stretch marks. Antioxidants are great to add to your body treatments, this will help to protect the collagen and elastin that your skin still holds. You can find antioxidants in serums, scrubs, or moisturizers.
Prevention: Preventing stretch marks is all about keeping skin healthy and hydrated. Always make sure to moisturize skin after hot baths or showers because they can be very drying. If you plan on gaining or loosing weight quickly you should keep skin as hydrated as possible at all times and load it up with antioxidants for protection. Daily stimulation, like exfoliation, can also help increase cell turn over and blood flow to the area.
scrub me secret: When stretch marks are a pink or reddish color they can be treated more easily. We can rid skin of these types markings more easily if treated soon enough. White or "hypo-pigmented" are harder to treat and cannot be fully removed.
2) Eczema (dermatitis): The cause of this skin disorder does not come from one specific source. Sometimes it is in our genetics to develop this disorder and for others it is brought on by internal or environmental factors. Signs of eczema can include but are not limited to, inflammation of the skin, excessive dryness or cracking, and re-occuring rashes.
Treatment: Keeping from getting inflamed and staying moisturized is the most important part of treating and managing this disorder. Sensitive and anti-inflammatory products are best to use while having a flare up. Items with lavender and chamomile have great at taking down inflammation, you should be using a lotion or soap with these ingredients. Also applying a cold cloth can help draw some heat from the area making it less irritating. Keeping the areas affected by this disorder hydrated is also important. Eczema tends to leave skin dry and raw, using moisturizers with rich hydrating ingredients can help to sooth and soften the area. Daily treatment with these types of products along with keeping stress levels low can help clear flare ups quickly.
Prevention: Since this skin disorder can't be linked to exactly one source we need to keep in tune with our bodies to find our what causes eczema flare ups. For some, stressful or intense situations can cause eczema. Other environmental factors such as excessive cold, wind, or sun can also have a negative effect. Keeping skin and our bodies nourished and healthy is the best thing we can do to prevent further aggravation from this disorder.
scrub me secret: Atopic Dermatitis is a form of eczema that is brought on by allergies to food, medicine, or topical ingredients. Sometimes this can be confused with regular dermatitis, which has no particular cause. Atopic Dermatitis can be cured easily when the food, medicine, or product allergy is pin pointed.
3) Keratosis Pilaris: This is a common skin disorder that mainly affects the backs of the upper arms and backs of legs (although some people may see it in other places on the body). Keratosis Pilaris is recognized as rough, pink/slightly red bumps on the skin that may or may not be itchy. These bumps are caused by a buildup of protein that is blocking a follicle. This disorder is not harmful or even very noticeable but it can be irritating or esthetically unpleasing to people that struggle with it.
Treatment: Keeping the pH of your skin balanced is a big part of treating Keratosis Pilaris. When the pH of the skin becomes unbalanced it is harder for your skin's barrier to function properly and protect itself. Most commercial soaps and body washes throw the pH balance of your skin off, leaving it vulnerable and less able to function properly. Using a soap with a proper pH balance can help your skin from making the extra proteins that block the follicle. Also, exfoliation can help to slough off and smooth out the bumps that have already appeared on the skin's surface.
Prevention: Similar to the prevention of most other skin disorders, keeping your skin strong and balanced is a big key to preventing this. Always using the right pH balanced products and keeping a good skin care regimen will keep these bumps from occurring. Daily cleansing, exfoliating, and hydrating will keep your skin functioning properly and free of ailments.
scrub me secret: our skin has an average ph of 4.5-5.5, making it on the acidic side. we need our skin to stay at or around this ph for it to properly protect itself. most commercial washes and soaps are very basic, meaning they have a higher ph. these products are what unbalance your skin.
Skin disorders and ailments come in all different types. Even though we only covered a few common disorders today, the information given can be applied to many. The most important thing is to treat your skin right. Take time to treat and nourish it and make sure to use the right products. Like I said earlier, skin is our body's largest organ and we need to care for it as much as we do our others. Happy scrubbing!