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Common Skin Conditions You should be Familiar with – Part 2

September 20, 2017 No comments

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Let us familiarise you with rosacea, warts, impetigo, and cold sores

Welcome to part 2 of this article on common skin conditions, here is Part 1 if you haven’t read it yet. Let’s first look at some statistics to show you how common these skin conditions are:

Skin Condition No. of people affected Worldwide
Also called acne rosacea.
  • Estimated to be 1 to 22% of the world population.
  • More common in women than men (3:1).
Includes all types of warts.
  • 7 to 12% of the general population.
  • 10 to 12% of school-aged children.
Impetigo also known as school sores.
  • Global estimate of 162 million children.
Cold sores
Also called Herpes simplex type 1 (HSV-1).
  • Worldwide prevalence in those 0 to 49 years is 67% or more than 3.7 billion.
  • 600,000 new cases occur every year.
  • 1% of primary care visits are for cold sores.
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Unfortunately, no reliable data exists for individual countries like New Zealand and Australia, but studies are currently being conducted.

Rosacea. Rosacea is a chronic inflammatory skin condition common among light-skinned people. It’s most common target is your face. The lesions are usually pustules, bumps, or red patches of skin that are inflamed. These areas can be painful with stinging or burning sensations. There are four different types of rosacea.

Research consistently shows that inflammation is the main causative factor of rosacea. Conventionally, the inflammation is treated with topical corticosteroids. But you have to be careful with long periods of corticosteroid treatment because it can functionally knock out your immune system. This leaves your body, especially your skin vulnerable to skin infections.

Don’t leave home without your sunscreen if you have rosacea. Excessive sunlight is a common trigger. Just imagine how it feels when you get sunburnt! Other factors which seem to trigger rosacea include alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, dairy products, spicy foods and foods high in trans fats. Rosacea is not contagious so don’t be afraid to touch or kiss the face of a loved one with it.

Because inflammation is a predominant factor in this condition, you can also try these natural products:
  • Omega-3 essential fatty acids have natural anti-inflammatory actions throughout your body and they are also great for your skin’s health.

  • Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Include it in your cooking, try our Turmeric Latte recipe or take it as a supplement.

  • Topically you can try pure aloe vera gel to soothe your skin. Manuka honey applied directly to the skin may also help because of its natural healing and antibacterial properties.

  • Following an anti-inflammatory diet helps to reduce inflammation in your whole body. This diet is rich in a variety of fresh organic vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy fats and avoids inflammation-promoting foods like seed oils, trans fats, refined sugars and carbohydrates.

Rosacea has also been linked to other conditions including Helicobacter pylori infections and leaky gut syndrome. So investigating these areas may help to get to the bottom of it, especially if the above tips aren’t helping.

Warts. Warts are benign growths that appear on your skin and are caused by a virus. The naughty virus that causes your warts is called human papillomavirus (HPV). There are several members of this viral family. Your skin is especially vulnerable to HPV if you sustain a cut or a wound. It’s essential to remember that warts are contagious and they can spread easily through person-to-person contact. So don’t touch the wart of another person with your bare hand.

Warts appear like thickened skin and are most commonly rough to the touch. They can be located in various body parts like hands (common warts), feet (plantar warts), genitalia (genital warts), and others. The type of wart is determined by its location on your body.

Nobody is immune to warts. Anybody can get them, but unfortunately some people are more prone to developing warts than others. People with weakened immune systems (those with HIV or cancer), children, and those who consistently make a meal out of their nails are especially vulnerable.

If you suspect you have a wart, make an appointment with your primary healthcare practitioner. There are several available medical treatments for your warts:

  • Cryotherapy is a method of super-freezing the wart tissue to kill it.
  • Electrosurgery (burning) and curettage (scraping)
  • Excision
  • Cantharidin is a substance derived from the blister beetle that causes the wart to blister and lift off the skin. This method has been used for thousands of years by the Chinese.

While there’s no absolute cure for warts, they do not always reappear once they have been removed. But do not attempt to remove the wart by yourself.

Impetigo. The most common signs of impetigo are crusts, blisters, and pustules on a child’s face. It’s highly contagious and spreads easily among children. It’s caused by bacteria (Staphylococcus aureus or Streptococcus pyogenes). Your child will be needing antibiotics and a trip to your doctor.

Common Ways Your Child May Get Infected With Impetigo:
  1. Your child scratches the rash of chickenpox or an insect bite.
  2. Sharing of clothing or toys is a common source of transmission in day care centres.
  3. Any situation where there’s skin to skin contact.

Medical treatment is advised to avoid complications. Without treatment, the infection can spread to adjacent skin or into deeper skin. In both situations, it can be serious. The antibiotic prescribed to you may be topical or taken by mouth depending on the severity of the infection. From 24 to 48 hours after starting antibiotic treatment, impetigo is no longer contagious.

Natural things you can do alongside the medical treatment:
  • Boost immune function to support your body to fight the infection. Great immune-supporting herbs include echinacea, olive leaf and garlic. Other nutrients that are vital to a strong, healthy immune system include vitamins A, C, D and zinc.
  • Tea tree oil combined with other essential oils including lavender was shown to be effective against S. aureus when applied topically to the skin.
  • Other natural antibacterial agents that have shown effectiveness against S. aureus include Goldenseal, Turmeric and raw Manuka Honey.

Cold sores. Cold sores are most commonly caused by a virus called herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Though they can sometimes be caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), the virus more commonly associated with genital herpes. Most people with cold sores don’t feel or see any symptoms. If they do occur, the person may feel a burning, tingling, or itching sensation around the mouth before the blisters appear. Fluid-filled blisters soon breakout around the mouth, nose or on the lips. The blisters break, release their fluids, and crusting soon follows.

Cold sores are highly contagious. They will emerge between 2 to 20 days after contact with an infected person. You may also experience flu-like symptoms while having a bout of cold sores. These can range from swollen and tender lymph nodes on your neck to muscle aches and fever. The first outbreak of infection is the toughest and most painful. As time passes, the symptoms lessen in severity, occurrence, and duration.

There is no cure for cold sores, the virus simply lies dormant in the facial nerves and can become active at any time. But you can decrease the severity and duration of symptoms and increase the length of time between recurrences.

Topical or oral antiviral medications can be used and you can also apply ice to the blisters to ease the pain. Besides medication, there are certain triggers that you can avoid. Triggers include sunshine, wind, cold weather, physical injury to your lips or mouth, emotional stress, lowered immunity and menstruation.

The following natural products can also help:
  • Lysine is an amino acid which helps to speed recovery from cold sores and prevent their reoccurrence by taking 500-1000mg per day. Lysine is thought to prevent the herpes virus from replicating.
  • Garlic has natural anti-viral properties against the herpes simplex virus so eating garlic fresh or as a supplement can help to ward off cold sores and boost your immune system.
  • Bee propolis’ natural anti-microbial and healing properties can help keep cold sores at bay and aid their healing.
  • Immune enhancers such as vitamin C, zinc, colloidal silver, echinacea and olive leaf help to boost your immune function to combat the cold sore virus.

That completes part 2 of this two-part series on common skin conditions. As you noticed, these common skin complaints can easily be managed through both medical and natural approaches. Though it is always best to consult your healthcare practitioner first so that you can get a diagnosis for your skin condition.

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