While many skin issues can be treated at home, visit a doctor if the problem persists Image Credit: Shutterstock

Adult acne

Top causes: Adult acne can be caused by various factors including excess sun damage, pollution, stress, an unhealthy diet, hormonal changes, menopause and poor lifestyle choices. Some medications can also react with the skin and trigger acne, while health conditions relating to hormonal imbalance such as polycystic ovarian syndrome can also lead to acne.

Common treatments: Be sure to visit a dermatologist to try and understand the causes for acne and work towards correcting the condition. A dermatologist can also suggest products that you can use on a daily basis to cleanse your skin. Also keep in mind that popping pimples by hand is a strict no no as this usually leaves scars.

Preventive care: Follow a healthy skincare routine — this includes washing your face twice daily and toning and moisturising. Use a gentle cleanser to wash your face and always remember to pat dry and never rub. Sodium, found in food products, tends to impact the skin resulting in acne, so try to stick to a low-sodium diet. Tea tree oil has antibacterial properties and is known to reduce skin irritation, so you can opt for skincare products infused with tea tree oil to reduce your chances of getting acne.

Hyperpigmentation

Top causes: In this condition, melanin is produced in excess in certain specific areas of the skin. From overexposure to the sun and vitamin deficiency to genetic factors, hormonal imbalance and after-effects of hormonal treatments, anything can cause hyperpigmentation.

Common treatment: Some dermatological procedures can help treat hyperpigmentation, including chemical peels and laser skin therapies. These are invasive treatment techniques and can have implications on the skin, particularly in dark-skinned people.

Other options: Apply sunscreen whenever you are outdoors to avoid sunburn, maintain good personal hygiene, shower daily in cold water instead of hot, and eat lots of green leafy vegetables to boost your immunity.

Eczema

Top causes: Eczema can occur due to a combination of hereditary and genetic factors, manifesting itself as red, inflamed patches and dry, itchy skin. Certain allergens, nuts, hormones and the weather can also cause eczema. Henna tattoo and some hair colours, especially black and dark brown, contain a chemical called para-phenylenediamine, which can cause skin irritations.

Common treatments: Again, a dermatologist can help diagnose the condition and prescribe medication. The first line of treatment would be moisturisers to keep the skin hydrated and soft. A dermatologist may also prescribe antibiotic creams to reduce bacterial infection. In severe cases oral doses of medication may be given, although this is not intended for long periods given their side effects. Procedures such as wet dressings and light therapy can also be used to treat the condition. Wet dressings involve wrapping the infected area
with wet bandages to hydrate the infected area of the skin. This technique can also be performed at home.
Light therapy is usually resorted to when the other treatments fail. The skin is exposed to controlled amounts of light including natural sunlight and UV rays to reduce itchiness and increase vitamin D production.

Razor bumps

Top causes: Due to shaving with razors, the hair-end becomes sharp and that re-enters into the skin. This happens when the shaved hair gets trapped inside the follicle or grows back into the skin because of the sharp edge. It can cause inflammation, redness, swelling and sometimes scarring.

Common treatments: While ingrown hair usually disappears on its own, if the problem persists, stop shaving in that area until it recedes. You can also treat the area with a warm compress, or opt for a gentle exfoliation.

Preventive care: Wash the area with a mild soap before shaving, then rub on a lubricating shaving cream or gel. Treat the area before shaving to ensure the razor glides easily, reducing your risk of ingrown hairs. Finally, use a moisturising cream at least once on your face to maintain suppleness.

Sunburn

Top causes: Melanin in our skin gives it its colour. People with darker skin have more melanin while those with lighter skin have less. Exposure to UV rays from the sun causes skin to change colour, either by tanning or by a burn. Your body makes melanin to protect the skin’s deeper layers, but excessive exposure to UVB and UVA rays can lead to sunburn. Swimming in chlorinated water, exposure to fragrance or deodorant makes the skin more sensitive to the sun.

Preventive care: Avoid excessive exposure to the sun. Apply sunscreen with SPF higher than 30 before going out, and use an umbrella or a hat with a broad rim when out in the heat.

Easy remedies: Place a cold damp towel on your skin after long exposure to the sun — do this for at least 10 to 15 minutes. Use a moisturiser with aloe vera to soothe the affected area. Drink more water than usual to hydrate the skin and expedite healing.

Answered by Dr Sonia Achilat Kunnumal, Specialist Dermatologist, Aster Clinic, Abu Shagara, Sharjah and Dr Ganesh Bingewar, Specialist — Dermatology at Burjeel, Medical Centre — Shahama