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Categories > Skin and Scalp Care > Treating skin problems

Facing skin problems

Skin care is a high priority for many women, who baby their skin with cleansers, lotions, creams, moisturizers and other products. So when skin starts misbehaving, a fast fix is a must. Read on to find solutions to some common skin problems women face.

Problem: Super-dry skin

Dry skin isn’t only a winter problem. Air conditioning, swimming in chlorinated pools and sun exposure can make skin feel tighter than a snare drum and leave you peeling and red. Excessively dry, red, itchy and blistery skin could actually be a condition called eczema.

Solution: Use a moisturizer with lactic acid and urea after showering or bathing with warm—not hot—water. If you have eczema symptoms: Talk with your dermatologist and try to avoid anything that irritates your skin (harsh soaps, household cleaners, certain cosmetics); take cool showers only and wash with mild soap; wear cotton or cotton-blend clothes; and use moisturizer with more of a greasy texture (creams tend to have more preservatives, which can irritate skin).

Problem: Scaly skin

You may have psoriasis, an autoimmune disorder that causes skin cells to grow too quickly and build up, resulting in raised, red patches or lesions covered with silvery white skin cells, which may be painful, itchy or sore. The condition has been linked to diabetes, heart disease and depression.

Solution: A dermatologist may recommend topical treatment, light therapy, medication shots (in severe cases) or a combination of any of these. To ease symptoms, take daily lukewarm baths to help remove scales, apply ointment- or oil-based moisturizers, avoid alcoholic beverages and learn what triggers your psoriasis (stress and smoking are two examples), then avoid it. Ask your provider about alternative treatments such as aloe vera and capsaicin cream, which may help ease your symptoms.

Problem: Itchy feet

The tinea fungus causes that telltale itching and burning between the toes known as athlete’s foot. You may also see dry skin, scaling, inflammation and blisters in the area.

Solution: Wash your feet every day, taking care to dry them well, and always wear clean socks. If you have to walk in areas where water collects, such as around pools or in locker rooms, wear flip-flops to avoid stepping in these fungus breeding grounds. Over-the-counter antifungal creams can help, but they don’t always kill the fungus. Consult a podiatrist if the problem doesn’t clear up after a couple of weeks.

Problem: Red skin

What looks like sunburn on the cheekscould be rosacea, a condition that causes redness or flushing of the face; small red lines under the skin; pimples or raised areas called plaques; a swollen nose; thickened skin on the forehead, chin and cheeks; a swelling and burning sensation; roughness and scaling; and sometimes red, dry, itchy eyes.

Solution: Your dermatologist might prescribe topical or oral antibiotics or steroid eye drops, if rosacea affects your eyes. Surgery is an option to remove red lines and reduce any swelling of the nose.