For many of us, the positives of a lovely sunny day may be negated by the thought of baring skin that we’re not quite happy with, so let me help by advising on how to clear up three of the most common skin spoilers…
KERATOSIS PILARIS OR KP
What is it? KP can be identified as small, red bumps mostly found on the upper arms and sometimes the thighs and cheeks. Due to its raised, rough looking appearance, it’s often called ‘chicken skin’.
The cause: Mostly hereditary and extremely common, KP is a build up of protein in the skin called keratin which plugs the hair follicles leading to bumps.
The treatment: Avoid extremes of temperature wherever possible as although KP often gets worse in the winter when skin naturally loses hydration and dries out from central heating and being covered up, its redness can also be exacerbated by heat. I recommend a gentle exfoliation in the shower everyday with a soft flannel or loofah followed by a suitable body lotion such as Ameliorate Body Lotion which has high levels of Lactic Acid to naturally remove excess dead skin cells and provide intense moisturisation to improve the skin’s appearance.
What is it? A cluster of spots or acne on the back but the chest can suffer from outbreaks too.
The cause: There are a lot of sebum producing glands on the back and chest which means that it’s important to keep the area clean – especially after sweat inducing workouts or in hot weather. Spots can get worse when they’re covered up with synthetics materials so keep the body cool in cotton.
The treatment: If you’re not usually prone to breakouts on the back or chest, I’d suggest you consider whether you could have an allergic reaction to washing powder, fabric conditioner or body washes. I would also advise patients to avoid anything with fragrance and look for sulphate-free body washes to avoid irritation. If you’re suffering from severe acne you should visit your GP for further investigation.
DRY, FLAKY SKIN
What is it? Patches of skin which has become dehydrated and rough, causing scaling and flakiness – often on the legs, feet and arms.
The cause: Being covered up in heavy clothes over winter means skin hasn’t had a chance to breathe and so come spring, it needs some TLC. Hot water in showers and baths is often tempting on colder days but this can also lead to dehydration.
The treatment: Regular body brushing can really improve the texture of the skin and keep flakes at bay. While skin is slightly damp, apply a thick layer of rich body lotion. My favourites which I find effective are Aveeno Skin Relief with Triple Oat Complex for extra dry and sensitive skin or Ladybug Jane Luxe Lotion with a host of replenishing and soothing ingredients such as Cocoa Butter and Organic Aloe. If you prefer to use oil, I like Clarity Oil Over My Body Balancing Body Oil for a really luxurious treat. It’s blended with super hydrating organic essential oils such as lavender and ylang ylang to keep skin soft and smooth.