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 managing them. 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’ve got some helpful skin care tips that can alleviate certain skin disorders or prevent them from happening at all, and maintain a healthy complexion.
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 the collagen and elastin fibers from healing properly. 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. Not only is the discoloration an issue but their rough texture is also a problem. While some stretch marks are very difficult to fade completely (even with professional treatments) texture of these markings can be treated at home and your skin tone may even out as well. Using a physical scrub like a sugar or salt scrub is an exfoliation method that can smooth the texture of stretch marks within a couple weeks. Using a salt, coffee, or sugar scrub with added moisturizers is an ideal exfoliation because this can help nourish your skin while you are stimulating the cells. An exfoliation method that does not provide any moisture, like dry brushing, is also super helpful for restoring skin. You’ll always want to make sure to moisturize after dry brushing for best results; keeping skin nourished is key to managing stretch marks.
scrub me secret: When stretch marks are a pink or reddish color they can be treated more easily and you may see them fade with treatment. 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.
Chemical exfoliants like retinols also help to smooth and fade stretch marks and restore the skin’s barrier. Finding a high strength, stable retinol serum or cream to use for a stretch mark spot treatment is something you can incorporate into your body care routine.
Prevention: Preventing stretch marks is all about keeping skin healthy and hydrated. Always make sure to moisturize skin after cleansing. If your skin gets stretch marks easily it’s best to avoid very hot baths and showers as they can be very drying. If you plan on gaining or losing weight quickly you should keep skin as hydrated as possible at all times and load it up with antioxidants like vitamin C and E for protection. Shea butter contains vitamin E and vitamin C can be found in serums and other hydrators. Daily stimulation, like exfoliation, can also help increase cell turnover and blood flow to the area, which helps prevent stretch marks and damage.
scrub me secret: Daily exfoliation is something that we recommend for smoothing and fading stretch marks. This daily scrubbing routine is also something we suggest for stretch mark prevention! Exfoliation provides the skin with stimulating circulation and oxygen flow, and helps moisturizers work better by clearing away dead surface cells. The skin on the body is more resilient than our face, therefore it can handle daily exfoliation.
2) Eczema and atopic dermatitis:
These two skin disorders cause skin to be itchy, red, inflamed, dry, bumpy, and flaky. Sometimes rashes and inflammation reoccur in certain areas of the skin. Eczema and atopic dermatitis are very similar; what differs them is that atopic dermatitis symptoms are triggered from use of products (skin care, cleaning, bath and body). The cause of eczema does not come from one specific source. Some think genetics play into it. Eczema has also been shown to be triggered by internal or environmental factors. This disorder is triggered by allergens, stress, diet, and topical items.
Treatment: Keeping the skin’s barrier (acid mantle) balanced and retaining moisture is the most important part of managing this disorder. We discuss prevention below. Products for sensitive skin and calming/anti-inflammatory products are best to use while having a flare up. Items with lavender essential oil, oats, and chamomile have great anti-inflammatory properties; using a body butter, serum, or soap with these ingredients aids in healing a dermatitis or eczema flare up. We suggest our lavender shea butter, balancing treatment bar, or soothing powder mask for treatment.
scrub me secret: always be careful when choosing skin care products to treat your inflamed, sensitive skin. avoiding ingredients like fragrance oils, alcohols, & irritating preservatives is key. these ingredients could possibly make the condition worse.
Applying a cold cloth before moisturizing can help draw some heat from the area making it less irritated. Eczema tends to leave skin so dry and raw that it seems incurable. Using rich, moisture and nutrient binding moisturizers as often as possible help to soothe and soften the area. We advise you to apply your shea butter and then a few hours later, do it again! Daily treatment with these types of products can help clear flare ups quickly. Having an anti-inflammatory diet and keeping stress levels low is also helpful to clearing a flare up.
Prevention: One of the main things that can be done to prevent eczema is to use soaps, cleansers, scrubs, and other skin care items that keep your acid mantle balanced and healthy. Plant-based oil based soaps with no fragrance oils (some essential oils are okay) are recommended. We love plant-based bar soap the best because we can really refine and limit the ingredients. Since eczema 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 flare ups. Other environmental factors such as excessive cold, wind, or sun can also have a negative effect. Always keep skin protected and healthy.
scrub me secret: if you would like to determine if your eczema is caused by something you’re eating or drinking, doctors may suggest an elimination. this is where you eliminate certain eczema & inflammation causing food from your diet. then, after a certain amount of time foods are added back into your diet to determine what may be causing the flare ups.
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 experience 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: Chemical exfoliating items like glycolic, lactic, or alpha hydroxy acid can help smooth small bumps and even skin tone. Using pads or lotions with these ingredients in the evening, before hydrating is what we suggest. Body peels can also be performed in the treatment room by your esthetician to help your skin shed cells and renew itself. Daily use of our sea salt body scrubs also smooths and evens tone over time.
Prevention: Similar to the prevention of most other skin disorders, keeping your skin strong and barrier balanced is a big key to preventing this. Keratosis is a build up of cells so your skin benefits from daily cell turnover. Gently daily exfoliating like dry brushing is something we love! 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.