3 of the Most Common Skin Problems (and How to Fix Them)

Skin conditions are at times painful and difficult to heal. While many can be treated with over the counter products, it should be checked out by a physician before any home treatment is attempted. Most skin conditions aren’t serious, however, they can be a symptom of an underlying medical issue. If your skin has been troubling you lately, here are three of the most common skin problems and how to soothe them.

1. Dry skin

A woman examining her skin problems

A woman examining her skin problems | iStock.com

One of the most common skin conditions that most of us are susceptible to is dry skin. Quite simply, it’s when your skin is depleted of moisture and needs to be re-hydrated. Symptoms of dry skin include uncomfortable itching and/or skin tightness. It can occur mostly during the colder and dryer months of the year when the humidity level drops, leaving your poor skin parched. Dry skin is characterized by the lack of the appropriate amount of moisture in the most superficial layer of the skin, the epidermis. One of the biggest factors that affects your skin is the amount of humidity or water vapor in the air.

When the winter season arrives and the humidity level plunges, your skin may be left gasping for water. “Once the weather starts to change, I see patients coming in complaining of dry, itchy skin,” Linda Stein Gold, MD, clinical research director for the dermatology department at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital told WebMD. For some, it can last for quite a while.

How to soothe dry skin

Man caring for his skin

Man caring for his skin | iStock.com

If the damage has already been done, you need to soothe that skin of yours and stat. Be sure to rub on a rich cream containing ingredients such as ceramide or other ingredients such as urea, lactic acid, dimethicone, or petroleum jelly for super dry skin, and be sure to apply while your skin is still damp for better absorption. Nanette Silverberg, MD, dermatology professor at Columbia University told WebMD that creams with these particular ingredients, “will seal moisture into the skin and create an effective skin barrier.” Keep in mind that your face needs different moisturizing than the rest of your body. Most of these products will clog the pores on your face, so go for a non-comedogenic moisturizer and/or face cream instead.

2. Eczema

young woman with clear complexion in the bathroom

Young woman with beautiful skin in the bathroom | iStock.com

Often dry or itchy patches of skin can be confused for eczema — also known as dermatitis — if you don’t know how to tell the two conditions apart. So, what’s the big way to tell the difference between dry skin and eczema? The main difference is your skin becomes red and inflamed, according to Patient. Another thing that differentiates the two is eczema is often genetic.

Exposure to irritants, allergens, and stress can trigger a flare-up. Eczema usually appears on the elbows, hands, and in areas created by bending like the inside of the elbows or back of the knee.

According to the National Eczema Association, there are nine different types of dermatitis, though the symptoms presented vary from person to person. The NEA also states that if you have eczema, your skin is usually less able to retain moisture and may have a more difficult time producing fats and oils. Generally in mild cases, the skin is dry, scaly, red, and itchy. It’s important to figure out if you have dry skin verses eczema so that you can go about treating your symptoms the right way.

How to soothe eczema

Man looking in the mirror

Man looking in the mirror | iStock.com

As far as treatment goes the NEA recommends taking warm baths and using moisturizer to sooth eczema. The overall goal of treatment is to prevent you from itching and scratching, which can often lead to an infection. Over-the-counter products, such as hydrocortisone cream, can help. Be aware though, it’s important to get a formal diagnosis if you suspect you have eczema.

3. Rosacea

A woman with skin problems

A woman with skin problems | iStock.com

According to the National Rosacea Society, more than 16 million Americans have rosacea. Rosacea is one of the more common skin diseases that is likely to affect people over the age of 30. In most cases, rosacea begins by the skin flushing easily, causing redness on your nose, chin, cheeks, forehead, and even the eyes — causing soreness or burning in your eyes. Some people even tend to get little pimples or bumps on the red parts of their faces. It can grow progressively worse over time.

While experts are not sure what causes rosacea, what they do know is that something irritates the skin, but it is not an infection that is caused by bacteria. Doctors are easily able to diagnose rosacea from the pattern of redness on a persons face, which means that for the most part, medical tests are not needed to determine diagnosis.

Rosacea tends to flare up when the blood vessels in the face expand and cause redness. Some common triggers for flare-ups include sun and wind exposure, exercise, stress, hot weather, alcohol, spicy foods, and hot baths or showers. Additionally, going from a hot to cold climate can also cause a flare-up.

How to soothe rosacea

Man applying eye cream

Applying eye cream | iStock.com

While there’s no consensus on what causes the skin condition, there are skin care tips that you can follow to avoid a rosacea flare-up. One of the biggest ways to prevent rosacea is to avoid common triggers than can cause a flare-up. Consider the triggers mentioned, though if you’re unsure as to what yours are, dermatologist Michele Green, MD recommends to keep a journal or make mental notes as to what may be causing your symptoms to flare-up. If you do experience an unavoidable flare-up, minimize your symptoms by taking a cool shower or gently cleansing your face with a rosacea skincare product. “Just don’t scrub, as this will make things worse,” she warned.

If your rosacea bothers you or is getting worse, it’s important to talk to your doctor. Getting treatment will not only help your skin to look and feel better, but it can also boost your confidence.