If you want to know the best treatments for eczema, age spots and rosacea, read on.
This skin condition is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Irritation and itching
- Fluid-filled blisters
Often associated with asthma and allergies, eczema comes and goes in alternating cycles of flare-ups and periods of remission.
How to treat
Unfortunately, no treatment can completely cure eczema. However, medications prescribed by a doctor can reduce inflammation and itching.
Various creams containing a corticosteroid can prove beneficial, depending on the severity of the condition. Creams with a lower steroid formulation can be applied once or twice a week. More potent ones can be used only for a short period of time since they can thin the skin.
If eczema is one item on your long list of allergy symptoms, then antihistamines are advised.
Ultraviolet light therapy
In some cases, UVA or UVB therapy will be prescribed. However, the treatment can increase two risks: skin cancer and solar dermatitis.
Tips on how to prevent flare-ups
- Reduce stress, such as through cognitive-behavioural therapy
- Minimize exposure to allergens
- Avoid food allergens
- Use natural rather than industrial soaps
- Apply moisturizing cream immediately after a bath or shower, when the skin is still damp (note that, during an eczema flare-up, dry skin can often be a sign that the eczema symptoms are subsiding).
- Do not take more than one bath a day
- Add colloidal oatmeal to bathwater
- Pat, rather than rub, skin dry after bathing
Age or brown spots
Age spots (also called brown or sun spots, or lentigos) are the result of exposure to the sun and the over-production of melanin.
They can start to appear at around age 40, on areas of the body that have seen the most sun:
- Upper chest
Generally speaking, age spots are not dangerous. However, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist to check any marks that appear as a result of sun exposure or other skin lesion.
Regularly check age spots for changes in size, colour, bleeding, thickening, etc. These can be the first signs of melanoma (skin cancer).
Dealing with brown spots
If your age spots are not melanoma, you might want to have them removed, for cosmetic reasons.
Your doctor might prescribe a cream to reduce the pigmentation of brown spots. However, be sure to apply sunscreen before heading out into the sun.
Laser treatments destroy the melanin, making brown spots fade over time.
Sunbathing is strongly discouraged after laser treatment. Rashes after the treatment can change into other pigmented spots when exposed to the sun.
This treatment is the same as for warts. With brown spots, the liquid nitrogen discolours the mark. The procedure is not advisable for people with darker skin.
As with laser treatment, it is best to avoid exposure to the sun immediately after treatment.
An acid-based treatment is applied to the skin to exfoliate the deep layers of the skin and eliminate old age spots.
Tips on preventing brown spots
Brown spots are caused by exposure to the sun.
To prevent them, adopt a few preventive measures when spending time in the sun:
- Apply sunscreen every two hours (more often if you swim)
- Stay out of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays between midday and 4 p.m.
- Wear a hat
The signs of rosacea start to appear around the age of 30.
Starting as red patches on the cheeks, nose, forehead and chin, they eventually become permanent, like dilated blood vessels and red pimples (papules).
People with fair skin and light eyes, and those who blush easily are more prone to suffer from this skin condition.
Caring for rosacea
The quicker you act, the greater the chance of calming the redness and delaying the appearance of dilated vessels. There is no treatment that will completely heal rosacea.
Several types available on the market, each with different active ingredients:
- Creams containing metronidazole (the most-prescribed treatment)
- Oral tetracycline antibiotics
- Azelaic acid in cream form
Often prescribed for acne, Accutane® can sometimes help severe rosacea sufferers. The treatment is not without side effects and close medical monitoring is needed.
Two types of surgery can help: electrocoagulation and laser, which leaves fewer scars. Consult a healthcare professional to find out which option is best for you.
A rapidly rotating brush is used to “sand” the skin, removing the outer layers and stimulating the growth of new skin cells.
Keep a diary to identify what triggers your rosacea outbreaks. This will help you reduce the intensity of the symptoms.
Ways to prevent flare-ups:
- Avoid spending long hours in the sun, and use effective protection from UVA and UVB rays
- Stay away from food and drink that dilates the blood vessels such as alcohol, coffee and hot spicy food
- Protect your skin from the cold and violent winds
- Learn how to manage stress better
- Avoid spending too much time in a sauna or long hot baths
- Do not use corticosteroid creams on your face
- Use face products that are recommended for skin that is prone to rosacea
Your best ally
If you suffer from any of these three skin conditions, a health professional is the most competent person to diagnose your situation and advise you on appropriate treatments.