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8 Tips To Get Rid of Dry Skin

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8 Tips to Get Rid of Dry Skin

Dry skin during winter is common as the temperature and humidity levels drop. We cover up in layers and probably take less time and effort to properly look after our skin.

What causes dry skin?

Cold weather, harsh winds, dry indoor heating in your home and office can leave it dry, cracked, flakey and scaly.

 

Here are the best ways to keep your skin hydrated during the cold months of winter:

Avoid hot showers

It’s tempting to have a steaming hot shower in the mornings to warm up, or at the end of the long day to wind down. But did you know this does more damage to your skin than you think? The hot temperatures can rob the skin of its moisture, causing drier, flakey skin.

healthmint treat your dry skin in winter by avoiding hot showers

Exfoliate your skin

The life cycle of your skin is approximately 90 days long, so it’s important to help get those dead skin cells off your body to make way for new, softer skin. Just be careful not to rub too harshly, or you may end up with sore, red skin!

Use a thicker moisturiser

Thicker creams are better than thinner lotions during the winter months. Cocoa butter, shea butter, coconut oil and products that are high in lactic acid will help keep your skin moisturised for longer. Slather it on immediately after you hop out of your (not too hot) shower or bath.

Check the labels on your skin products

Many products contain alcohol – an ingredient known for drying out the skin. Opt for products free of parabens, sulphites and alcohol. And guys, check your labels too – there are many mens skin products out there that wont dry out your skin.

Use a humidifier

Bring some moisture back into the air you breathe with a humidifier. These are great at counteracting the harsh dry air that circulates throughout your home and office.

Minimise the use of soaps

Soaps contain lots of ingredients that can dry out your skin. Swap your slippery bar of soap for a moisturising shower cream.

Eat lots of skin friendly foods and keep up the H2O

Eat plenty of your favourite warm winter foods like soups, casseroles, and avoid foods high in sodium. Include lots of good fat foods like avocados and nuts, which also help to retain the moisture.

Don’t forget to drink tons of water and limit your intake of coffee, teas and alcohol, which are all diuretics that can cause dehydration.

display of healthy foods diet healthmint

Be aware of skin flare ups

Chronic skin conditions are more likely to flare up during the winter months with more layers of clothes added, and less breathable materials causing friction on your skin and aggravating exisiting skin issues.

Skin conditions can also flare up due to stress and cause redness and itchiness. Try meditating or practicing yoga – it will help your mind and soul, as well as keep you fit during the colder months.

 

yoga lady pose healthmint

Making sure you look after your skin during the cold winter months will help ensure your skin is in tip top condition for the warmer months ahead.

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here
healthmint blog series acne skin medical

Acne

By | Body Systems, Skin | No Comments

The Causes of Acne and What You Can Do About It

Acne is a common condition, but it is a medical issue that can range from mild to severe. While not dangerous, acne can leave sufferers with low self-esteem and cause long-term issues such as scarring. It’s not always just a matter of washing your face – acne has many causes and it can be difficult to budge. Here are some facts about acne and what you can do to treat it.

What is acne?

Our skin is covered in pores that connect to oil glands under the surface. Follicles connect the glands to the pores. When the pores become blocked, oil (or sebum) builds up under the skin. Acne is a chronic and inflammatory skin condition. Acne can come in the form of whiteheads, blackheads, pimples, cysts and nodules. It is most often seen on the face, shoulders, back, neck chest and upper arms.

Acne often comes during puberty due to changes in hormones and the activation of sebaceous glands, but it can come at any age. It affects both males and females. Acne is not dangerous, but it can leave scars and be traumatic for people who are concerned about acne’s effect on their appearance

What causes acne?

The basic cause of acne is blocked pores. However, what causes the pores to become blocked is slightly more complicated. The glands that produce oil are stimulated by hormones. When the gland becomes blocked, the surrounding area can become infected and then swollen. The bacteria that contributes to acne is called Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes).

However, not all bacteria give people acne – one strain even helps keep skin acne free. Genetic factors can also increase the risk of acne. Other factors that can cause or increase the likelihood of acne include the menstrual cycle, anxiety and stress, oil-based cosmetics, squeezing pimples and sweating.

How is acne treated?

Acne has a number of treatments ranging from mild to very strong, depending on how severe and persistent the acne is. There are a number of home remedies that can be tried, although for most options the research shows limited effect. Changing diet (especially increasing vitamins A, E and zinc, or switching to low GI),using tea tree oil, the topical application of green tea, and moisturisers (especially containing witch hazel or 10% aloe vera) are common home remedies from mild to moderate acne.

Over the counter medications are usually the next step, and are available from the supermarket or pharmacy. The most effective contain ingredients such as benzyl peroxide, salicylic acid, Retin-A, Azelaic acid and Resorcinol. People with sensitive skin should use cream-based instead of alcohol-based gels (which can be drying). People with acne should start with a lower concentration as these medicated preparations can cause skin irritation. The benefits are usually seen after six to eight weeks.

For acne that does not respond to these methods, the help of a specialist will be required. Your GP will be the first stop, so they can make some suggestions or refer you on to a dermatologist if necessary. The most intensive treatments include corticosteroid injection, oral antibiotics, hormonal birth control, topical antimicrobials and isoretinoin. These treatments need to be taken under the strict supervision of a medical professional.

Managing acne from home.

Wherever possible, prevention is the best option for people with acne. Some tips to avoid breakouts include:

  • Don’t pop, squeeze or disturb pimples
  • Avoid washing your face too frequently, and use mild soap and warm water
  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before putting products on your skin, and avoid touching your face as much as possible
  • Clean things that touch your face such as your glasses, phone and razor
  • Loose clothing can let the skin breathe and reduce pimples on the body
  • Clean hair, free of oily products like cocoa butter, will be less likely to cause acne
  • Be conscious of the cosmetics you use, and remove makeup before bed
  • Avoid sweating too much wherever possible

There are many options for people who are looking to manage acne, but if you can’t get it under control from home, you should talk to your GP and get professional help. Acne is a very common condition, but it can be hard to shift. If you’re concerned about your acne, have a chat with a medical professional and start the journey towards clear skin.

Want more information?

Call (03) 5611 3365 to speak to a friendly patient concierge

or book an appointment here
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Eczema: What is it? HealthMint Skin Series

By | Children's Health, Family Planning & Parenting, Men's Health, Skin, Women's Health | No Comments

Skin Series – All About Eczema

Skin is the largest organ in the body, and it works as a barrier to keep the body safe. When that barrier is broken, eczema can occur. Let’s look at what eczema is, how it occurs and steps you can take to avoid an eczema flareup.

What is Eczema?

Eczema is also known as atopic dermatitis. It’s an irritating, and sometimes painful skin condition that occurs when the skins barrier becomes compromised. The skin becomes red, dry and itchy, and over time rough patches might develop. The most common areas to have an eczema flare-up include the creases of the elbows, behind the knees, across the ankles and sometimes on the face, ears and neck. There are many triggers that might cause eczema to flare up, and with careful observation most people are able to identify them to help manage their condition.

Who is Affected by Eczema?

Eczema can occur in people of any age, but it is most common in children. Around one in five children under 2 years old will have the condition. It can also occur in older children and adults, but for most people it improves with age. Even adult eczema normally goes away by middle age, although a small number of people might need to manage the condition for the rest of their lives.

What Causes Eczema?

We don’t really know why some people get eczema. Eczema seems to go along with other issues like allergies, hayfever and asthma, which appears to show that genetics influence the risk of someone developing eczema.

When the skin barrier is damaged, it allows moisture to evaporate and lets irritants and allergens past the skin. In turn, the skin releases chemicals that make the skin itchy, and scratching makes the skin release even more. That creates an irritating and painful cycle that makes the problem worse.

Known irritants that can trigger eczema include:

  • Dry skin
  • Infections
  • Chlorine from swimming pools
  • Sand (especially in sandpits)
  • Scratching
  • Sitting on grass
  • Chemical irritants like soap and perfumes
  • Changes in temperature
  • Pollen sensitivity

If a person has allergies, then coming into contact with allergens can cause eczema to occur. Constant exposure to water, soap, grease, food or chemicals can also damage the protective barrier function of the skin, which often causes eczema.

Sometimes because an allergic reaction to food and an eczema flare-up can happen around the same time, people assume that the food has caused the eczema, causing them to remove the food from their diet. In some cases, removing foods can help with eczema management but it should only be attempted under the supervision of a doctor.  More often, food issues are unrelated to eczema flare-ups and don’t need to be removed from the diet.

What Treatments are Available?

Unfortunately, eczema can’t be cured. However, it can be treated and managed. Staying away from allergens can help avoid flare-ups, and keeping the skin moisturised and protected can help stop the skin barrier from breaking. People with eczema need to work together with their doctor to identify triggers for their eczema, and work on minimising flare-ups.

People can help manage their own symptoms by:

  • Keeping baths and showers lukewarm
  • Moisturising every day, preferably within a few minutes of bathing
  • Wearing soft, natural fabrics
  • Using mild cleansers, preferably non-soap
  • Gently drying skin after bathing by patting or air-drying
  • Avoiding sudden changes of temperature
  • Using a humidifier when the weather is dry

Your doctor might prescribe:

  • Corticosteroid creams and ointments
  • Systemic corticosteroids
  • Antibiotics, antivirals and antifungals if a skin infection has occurred
  • Barrier repair moisturisers
  • Phototherapy – UV A or B light can be used to treat moderate dermatitis.

Managing eczema is an ongoing battle. Even adults who have outgrown childhood eczema can find their skin is easily irritated. Once an area of skin has healed, it still needs ongoing care to ensure the barrier stays intact. People who struggle with eczema need to be proactive, and work with their doctor to identify their triggers, alleviate their symptoms and prevent further breakouts. A cure isn’t currently available, but good skin management can free eczema sufferers from irritation and discomfort.

 

ASCIA Guide to eczema (atopic dermatitis) management:

Click Here

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