Natural Remedies For Skin Problems

young woman washing face by face bowlYour skin is the barometer of your health, and lifestyle
choices literally make their mark on your face. No need to cover your face or
panic. Just follow the commonsense guidelines below for skin preservation, and
you’ll be sure to radiate vitality and vigor.

Everyday skin care—keep it consistent
Create a consistent
skin-care routine. Regular cleansing rids the skin of excess oils and dirt and
sloughs off dead skin cells.

If you have dry skin, use a mild exfoliant with a heavier moisturizing cream
that contains nut oils or aloe.

If your skin is oily, occasionally use an exfoliant with astringent
properties and finish with a light, water-based moisturizer. Tea tree and citrus
oils help tone skin between washings.

If you battle with problem skin, avoid using harsh exfoliants on breakouts.
Instead, apply a deep-cleansing mask and a moisturizer with antibacterial
ingredients such as tea tree oil and lavender.

Cover up—almost
Let the sun shine, but choose your
exposure carefully.

A face cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher should be a
mandatory part of your beauty regimen. Look for a cream that matches your skin
type and wear it even on cloudy days.

Your body does, however, need some sun exposure, as the UV rays from sunlight
trigger vitamin D synthesis in the skin. A 20-minute walk or bask in the early
morning or late afternoon sun should suffice; you might prefer to wear a hat and
let your arms and legs get the rays.

Let it glow
You are what you eat and drink and breathe,
so consider this:

A healthy diet full of antioxidants A, C, and E helps fend off free radicals
from everyday exposure to air pollutants, sun, and stress. Foods rich in vitamin
A and vitamin C include brightly colored fruits and vegetables, such as
squashes, sweet potatoes, carrots, leafy greens, tomatoes, strawberries, and
kiwi. Vitamin E is found in a variety of nuts and their oils and wheat germ.

Exercise increases circulation, which helps nourish collagen fibers that give
skin its appearance of plumpness, while perspiration from your workout cleanses
the skin.

Water hydrates the skin from the inside out, so practice drinking enough
water that you rarely get thirsty.

Avoid smoking and breathing secondhand smoke, which causes blood vessels to
constrict, inhibiting blood flow and starving the skin of oxygen.

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Psoriasis

african american doctor and nursePsoriasis is a skin disease that causes scaling and swelling. Skin
cells grow deep in the skin and slowly rise to the surface. This process is
called cell turnover, and it takes about a month. With psoriasis, it can happen
in just a few days because the cells rise too fast and pile up on the surface.

Most psoriasis causes patches of thick, red skin with silvery
scales. These patches can itch or feel sore. They are often found on the elbows,
knees, other parts of the legs, scalp, lower back, face, palms, and soles of the
feet. But they can show up other places such as fingernails, toenails, genitals,
and inside the mouth.

Who Gets Psoriasis?

Anyone can get psoriasis, but it occurs more often in adults.
Sometimes there is a family history of psoriasis. Certain genes have been linked
to the disease. Men and women get psoriasis at about the same rate.

What Causes Psoriasis?

Psoriasis begins in the immune system, mainly with a type of white
blood cell called a T cell. T cells help protect the body against infection and
disease. With psoriasis, T cells are put into action by mistake. They become so
active that they set off other immune responses. This leads to swelling and fast
turnover of skin cells. People with psoriasis may notice that sometimes the skin
gets better and sometimes it gets worse. Things that can cause the skin to get
worse include:

  • Infections
  • Stress
  • Changes in weather that dry the skin
  • Certain medicines.

    How Is Psoriasis Diagnosed?

    Psoriasis can be hard to diagnose because it can look like other
    skin diseases. The doctor might need to look at a small skin sample under a
    microscope.

    How Is Psoriasis Treated?

    Treatment depends on:

  • How serious the disease is
  • The size of the psoriasis patches
  • The type of psoriasis
  • How the patient reacts to certain treatments.

    All treatments don’t work the same for everyone. Doctors may
    switch treatments if one doesn’t work, if there is a bad reaction, or if the
    treatment stops working.

    Topical Treatment:

    Treatments applied right on the skin (creams, ointments) may help.
    Treatments can:

  • Help reduce swelling and skin cell turnover
  • Suppress the immune system
  • Help the skin peel and unclog pores
  • Reduce cell turnover and swelling.

    Bath solutions and lotions may feel good, but they rarely make the
    skin better. They are often used along with stronger treatments.

    Light Therapy:

    Natural ultraviolet light from the sun and artificial ultraviolet
    light are used to treat psoriasis. One treatment, called PUVA, uses a
    combination of a drug that makes skin more sensitive to light and ultraviolet A
    light.

    Systemic Treatment:

    If the psoriasis is severe, doctors might prescribe drugs or give
    medicine through a shot. This is called systemic treatment. Antibiotics are not
    used to treat psoriasis unless bacteria make the psoriasis worse.

    Combination Therapy:

    When you combine topical (put on the skin), light, and systemic
    treatments, you can often use lower doses of each. Combination therapy can also
    lead to better results.

    What Are Some Promising Areas of Psoriasis Research?

    Doctors are learning more about psoriasis by studying:

  • Genes
  • New treatments that help skin not react to the immune system
  • Laser light treatment on thick patches.

    For More Information on Psoriasis and Other Related
    Conditions:

    National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and
    Skin Diseases (NIAMS)

    National Institutes of Health
    1 AMS
    Circle
    Bethesda, MD 20892–3675
    Phone: 301–495–4484 or 877–22–NIAMS
    (226–4267) (free of charge)
    TTY: 301–565–2966
    Fax:
    301–718–6366
    E-mail: [email protected]
    www.niams.nih.gov