First Aid for Skin Problems
It always happens; your skin is smooth and radiant for weeks and then you wake up on that all important day with a pimple on your nose. And if it isn’t a pimple, then the bags under your eyes (not had enough sleep), red patches, dry flaky skin, or the peeling skin on your lips can considerably spoil your fun. The advice on my blog can help a lot, but be aware that most of the tips require quite a bit of patience. But what can you do if you are suffering? Here’s some First Aid for skin problems.
The Quick Fix!
First Aid for a Pimple
The most important tip: leave it alone! Squeezing it will produce more swelling and redness. White heads are the only ones that you can carefully prick with a sterile needle and squeeze out.
To reduce the swelling and redness you can take an aspirin, diclofenac or dissolve voltaren in a little water and dab the pimple with the solution. If you have a tube of hydrocortisone lying around (e.g this is prescribed for eczema) this can also be used in an emergency situation. And if you have ever bought eye drops abroad for red eyes (with tetrahydrozoline hydrochloride) they will now come in handy. Nose spray with xylometazoline can also temporarily reduce the redness of the spot. A recent study showed that it also works with Rosacea.
If your problem is less acute then you can tackle it with Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid or possibly Vitamin A Acid (Treinoin). This can prevent the spot from becoming enormous. A cream with a high concentration of Vitamin C (around 5%) can also help. Vitamin C has an inflammatory effect, kills bacteria and can accelerate the healing of the wound.
First Aid for Bags
In my experience getting a good night’s sleep before an important day doesn’t usually happen. The result, you feel worn out and there are dark circles and bags under your eyes. There are a number of steps you can take to limit the damage. For example, it will help if you sleep with your head a little higher than normal, this will help the fluid to sink down instead of settling in your bags. If you still have “puffy eyes” in the morning then massage the skin under your eyes towards your cheekbones. With a bit of luck, the fluid will drain away via the lymphatic vessels.
First Aid for Peeling Lips
I have already spoken about this in my last blog, peeling skin on your lips is disastrous when combined with a lovely red or pink lipstick. It is best not to scrub them as scrubbing damages the skin on the lips, whereby you end up in a vicious circle. If you do have real peeling lips then apply some vaseline and gently rub the peeling skin off with a flannel. Afterwards apply another layer of lip balm, oil or Vaseline.
First Aid for Dry Skin
I’ve given this tip more often, but it is one which is well worth the effort. If your skin is rather dry then before you go to bed apply a good cream containing high concentrations of active ingredients onto your skin and then on top of that apply a layer of Vaseline or lanette cream. The following day you’ll see that the fine lines have disappeared and your skin will look beautifully hydrated.
…For Red Patches
If you suffer from distressed skin with red patches, you can soothe the skin with a compress of warm green tea. An extract of liquorice root can also calm your skin down. While your skin is still damp apply a good hydrating cream onto your face (eg. dimethicone based, this is also a good base for make-up).
…For Static Hair
Your hair can become static in these dry cold months. A guarantee for a bad hair day! But if you have tumble dryer wipes in the house, rescue is close at hand… Just wipe it over your hair and brush and that’s it! Wearing shoes with leather soles (instead of rubber) also helps, just as using silicone based haircare products.
And for Dull Skin
If your skin is dull, then the best way of getting rid of these dead skin flakes causing the dullness is with an Exfoliant. You will see a difference in just a couple of days. If you don’t have the time, then during the day I advise using a BB cream or foundation with light reflecting particles.
And if after all these tips it still hasn’t help then I would just advise you to crawl back into your bed. Just having a good sleep does wonders for your skin… I wish you all a Happy Easter!
(Dr. Jetske Ultee – Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology)