Skin Care Column: Three Most Common Skin Problems

Skin Care Column
Three Most Common Skin Problems

What is the main reason people visit their doctors? It is not heart disease, diabetes or arthritis. It’s skin problems. Here are three of the most common:

Dermatitis (red, itchy skin)

Dermatitis is the name for inflamed skin that can be red, itchy and swollen. There can be oozing, crusting and scaling.

The cause is dryness and the microscopic cracks, tears and blisters that accompany it. It is the main skin problem plaguing people age 50 and older. The reason: Older people produce smaller amounts of skin-lubricating oil or Sebum.

But you can prevent, control and even reverse dermatitis by keeping your skin moist. Here’s what to do:

  • Soak for 20 minutes – taking a 20 minute bath once a day helps moisturize the skin.
  • Add a skin Colloidal oatmeal product to your skin.
  • Limit the use of soap (use gentle body washes)
  • Apply a moisturizer immediately after bathing (one with ceramides)
  • Humidify your bedroom
  • Take Vitamin D, to help reduce inflammation

Cysts (red, painful bumps under the skin)

Dermatologists call these pebble-like bumps under the skin epidermal inclusion cysts. They form when a hair follicle or an oil duct is blocked and fills with dead skin cells and debris. Once you develop a cyst, it never goes away unless it is surgically removed. But that’s typically not a problem, because these cysts are benign.

Sometimes, however, a cyst becomes inflamed, creating redness, swelling and a pus filled abscess that causes acute pain as it stretches the skin. Here’s what to do if your cyst becomes painful:

  • Apply a warm compress. Do this several times a day. It can reduce the inflammation.
  • See your dermatologist for an injection of Hydrocortisone, an anti-inflammatory medication that can calm the cyst and reduce the swelling.

Adult Acne

Women are the most common victims of adult acne, with one out of four suffering from the problem in their 40s and one out of seven having it in their 50s. Acne occurs when the hair follicles and ducts are plugged with oil (sebum) and dead skin cells, creating an environment in which bacteria can thrive.

There are countless drugs, cleansers and lotions available for treating acne. Some do work and others don’t. There are dietary changes that might prevent the problem in the first place. Try eliminating dairy products. They naturally contain growth factors and hormones that may stimulate acne.

It is always wise to check with your doctor before making any significant change in your diet.

June English is a licensed esthetician and owner of Professional Skin Care Choices LLC, at 127 East Gate Dr., in Los Alamos. For more information, visit or call 505.507.0124.

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