Dermatology series: Skin sensitivity
The chances are that most people have suffered sensitivity with their skin at some point. Whether we're talking about a little itch, a sudden patch of red or lumps and bumps which won't clear up, it's annoying. The cause is inflammation, so this week we've got the lowdown on what that actually is from our crack team of dermatologists.
"A skin reaction occurs when the skin is in contact, either from within or externally, to a chemical or molecule that causes symptoms usually of redness, swelling or itch," Dr Emma Craythorne of Cedars Dermatology explained to Cover Media. "Common things that may cause this externally would be infections; bacterial, viral or fungal; sunlight may inflame the skin. Allergies to certain chemicals or UV radiation or irritation from chemicals that may upset the normal skin barrier function. Internally, common things that may cause skin reactions are to do with our genetics and we may be predisposed to common conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, or rare conditions such as lupus."
On top of this, you might suffer reactions when you have certain food or take some prescription medications. The key will be talking to your dermatologist about exactly what's happened to you and how you've noticed your skin change.
"Your dermatologists will be able to give your skin a full examination and determine the type of reaction you are suffering from and the likely cause, they may then perform some investigations to confirm this and then commence on treatment if necessary," Dr Craythorne added.
It's also possible that your hormones could be having an impact on your skin. Being completely clear about your medical history, and that of your family, can also help you get help which provides results quickly.
"Treatments to counteract redness and inflammation would be prescribed depending on the individual’s skin condition - for example – treatment of rosacea will often be treated with a light source such as IPL," Dr Toni Phillips, Clinical Director at DestinationSkin, explained. "This would also be combined with skincare products to repair the skins barrier."
It's difficult to say exactly how sensitivity and inflammation will be treated, as it really depends on the cause of the issue and how it's manifesting. Over the next couple of weeks we'll look at three of the most common - eczema, psoriasis and rosacea - and explain how doctors approach alleviating them.