Did you know that our largest organ is our skin? For adults, the skin weighs approximately 8 pounds and measures 22 square feet! Many people experience problems with their skin and, because the skin is such a large and important organ, it is important to know about the different medical conditions that can affect it. Listed below are three common skin conditions, along with some suggestions for how to treat them.
Eczema is the term used to describe a series of conditions that inflame and irritate the skin. 10-20% of children experience eczema, significantly more than the 3% of adults who deal with it. If your child is currently struggling with eczema, you can rest assured that they'll likely outgrow it, but it is still important to treat it properly. If your child is frequently scratching itchy places on the body, they can end up scars and infections. Eczema is most often treated with over-the-counter creams like hydrocortisone, but antibiotics may also be prescribed if there is a concern or signs of infection. Eczema flare ups can be prevented by moisturizing frequently and avoiding sudden, significant changes in temperature or humidity.
Contrary to popular belief, acne is not a skin condition that only teenagers experience. Many adults in their 20s and 30's also struggle with this conditions, which is caused by the pores (tiny holes in your skin) becoming blocked with oil, bacteria, or dead skin. Depending on the severity of your acne, there are many different treatment options available. Taking time to cleanse the skin regularly (without over-washing, which can lead to an increase in oil production) is an effective method for some people. However, many acne-sufferers benefit more from stronger acne medications (both oral and topical) that are prescribed by a dermatologist.
3. Ingrown Nails
Yes, your finger and toenails are also considered part of the skin. Ingrown toe and fingernails occur when the sides of the nail grow into the skin surrounding it. They are painful, irritating, and quite common, affecting all kinds of people including athletes, dancers, and people who wear improperly fitting shoes. Ingrown nails are easily treated, though, and usually don't require medical attention. Soaking the affected foot or hand in warm water and epsom salt is a common and effective treatment method. Additionally, wearing shoes that fit correctly (not too tight) and proper hygiene goes a long way in preventing ingrown nails. Trim the nails regularly, and cut them in a straight line rather than a curve, which allows the nail to grow down and into the skin more easily.
If you or someone close to you is suffering from any of the skin conditions listed above, give the suggested treatments a try or contact a local dermatologist. Your skin works hard to protect your body, so it's important for you to work hard to protect your skin.