How to reduce skin diseases
There are so many common skin disorders which affect us. Although getting certain skin diseases are beyond our control, there are so many things which you can do to prevent getting certain skin diseases and to reduce them if you have one.
Prevention of Contact Dermatitis
Contact dermatitis is identified by itchy red color rash and also known as one of the common skin disorders caused by contact with a substance which is allergic to that particular person. Many substances are commonly found to cause an allergic reaction to certain individuals.
If you know that you are allergic to a certain substance make sure you take necessary precautions to avoid it. It may be due to cosmetics, perfumes, soaps and detergents, plants like Poison Ivy, jewellery, shoes, watches, and rubber. You may also be allergic to some foods or substance in the food, simply known as Food Allergy.
If a doctor suspects that your rash is due to an allergy, he may suggest that you undergo a patch test or an allergy test to identify which substances you are allergic to. Following the test, you may be given a list of trigger substances for you to avoid. As prevention is better than cure, by avoiding the triggers you will be safe from allergic contact dermatitis.
If you are allergic to rubber make sure you do not touch anything made of rubber. For example, if you are allergic to rubber slippers, wear slippers made of leather or plastic. If you are allergic to certain foods try eliminating food from your meal and reintroduce after some time monitor effect on your skin condition, if rashes reappear than avoid that food.
If you develop a reaction to cosmetics, perfumes or hair color never use it again, as it can lead to life-threatening reactions. Try changing the brand. Just because a product works for your friend it may not be so for you.
If you are coming into contact with the allergen at your workplace (occupational exposure) make sure you wear protective clothing, gloves, and boots to avoid the substance thus getting the contact dermatitis rash. Factory workers, salon workers, nurses, attendants, and labourers are particularly at risk. Make sure that you are protected.
Home Remedies to reduce the rash due to contact dermatitis
- If you are known to be sensitive to a certain substance, and if you come in to contact with it, wash your skin thoroughly with soap and water, dry the skin and apply an emollient to moisturize the area
- If the rash is mild, can try the following home remedies
- Use soothing creams like calamine lotion
- Cool compresses or cool baths
- If itching is unbearable can apply hydrocortisone cream which can be bought over the counter
- Over the counter antihistamines like fexofenadine, loratadine, chlorpheniramine or cetirizine can be tried to reduce itching but should be cautious about the dose and frequency of administration.
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol) can be used for pain and burning sensation
- Do not scratch the lesions – to avoid the possibility of infection due to damaged skin
How to prevent Poison Ivy rash?
- Wear protective clothing, boots, and gloves when doing outdoor activities like fishing, camping, hunting etc. If your occupation is related to outdoors like gardening, farming, forestry and construction work make sure that you take measures to protect your skin from contact.
- Do not burn poison ivy creepers as the fumes can spread the irritant to the air
- If you find Poison Ivy in your garden remove those using gloves or use a herbicide to kill them.
- There are over the counter products which can be applied on the skin that will act as a barrier between your skin and the Uroshiol resin oil which is the irritant of the Poison Ivy plant.
- Clean all contaminated objects and clothing with detergent while wearing gloves or ideally in a washing machine.
Prevention of skin infections
Skin infections occur due to various germs getting into the skin, these are the common skin disorders which can be viruses, bacteria or fungal infections. Mainly skin infections occur by touch. So for prevention proper hand washing (hand hygiene) is the most important precaution to prevent the spread of skin infections.
Proper hand washing technique
- Wet hands with clean water (warm water is better)
- Apply soap and rub hands together to make a lather
- Continue rubbing hands and scrub all surfaces of your hands, for about 20 seconds.
- Rinse well with clean water
- Dry hands with an air dryer, paper towel or a clean cloth.
In the instances where water and soap are not available, use a hand sanitizer which is preferably alcohol based.
After applying sanitizer to your palm, rub hands together to cover all surfaces of your hands until dry.
Some tips to reduce skin infections:
- Proper personal hygiene is a must to prevent skin diseases.
- Always wear clean clothes and fresh underwear
- Do not share personal equipment like towels, razors, combs, brushes etc. Do not share your clothes, shoes, and socks with others.
- Do not walk barefoot in areas like common rooms, dormitories, pools etc., as there is a risk of getting viral warts.
- If you are an athlete make sure that the athletic gear and equipment are washed and disinfected as instructed.
Home remedies for skin infections
- Apply cold compresses several times a day to the affected area to reduce inflammation
- Antihistamines which are available over the counter can be taken in correct dose to reduce itching.
- Keep skin clean and dry
To prevent “Athletes foot” which is a common fungal infection of feet wear clean and dry socks and shoes. After a shower makes sure you wipe in between toes to prevent dampness which can exacerbate fungal infections.
There are certain groups of people who are more prone to skin infections such as the elderly, certain medical conditions (Diabetes, chronic kidney disease, and immunity disorders). These people should be extra careful. If there are signs of skin infections like redness, pain, swelling and oozing seek help from a doctor.
How do you reduce chronic skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema?
- Identify exacerbating factors which worsen the disease or trigger factors which lead to new lesions. Some such factors are excessive sun exposure, stress, smoking and contact with irritants.
Use sun protection with a good sunblock (at least SPF 30)
Stress can be reduced by practicing meditation techniques, yoga, having proper sleep etc.
Quit smoking if you do. It is good for the prevention of many diseases.
Avoid contact with irritants or chemicals, strong detergents which can exacerbate the diseases.
- Both psoriasis and eczema are associated with dry skin. Moisturize your skin with a good emollient to prevent dry skin. Emollients are absorbed well to skin when applied to damp skin right after a bath.
When skin is properly moisturized exacerbations are reduced.
- Do not scratch – damage to the skin can worsen the lesions
Eczema is known as “Itch that rashes”, so if you scratch it will worsen
Psoriasis is known to occur in places of trauma to the skin. To avoid any form of skin damage to prevent new lesions occurring at the trauma site.
Acne is caused by overactivity of the sebaceous glands in the skin. When the pores which bring the natural oils (sebum) to the skin surface from the sebaceous glands get blocked, bacteria multiply in trapped sebum leading to acne.
How do we prevent getting Acne or reduce the condition?
- Avoid eating excessive amounts of chocolates, sugary foods, and oily foods
- Avoid eating or drinking excessive amounts of dairy products
- Avoid stress, practice relaxation techniques
- Proper personal hygiene – Wash hair regularly to prevent dandruff
- Keep skin clean, cleanse with a medicated cleanser for acne prone sensitive skin
- Use quality creams and makeup products which suits your skin type
- After using make up cleanse the face well
- Avoid using greasy creams