Oh, for a perfect world where we all have flawless skin.
The colour, texture, and folds in our skin help distinguish us as individuals.
Anything that interferes with our skin function, or causes changes in our appearance, becomes a skin disorder or skin condition.
For those dealing with troublesome skin, I know first-hand how this can really affect your confidence.
Because of my own problems with psoriasis, I made it my mission to successfully solve many of my client’s skin problems, which you can read about here.
The most valuable lesson I have learnt when treating skin conditions is that if you start early enough, many skin disorders can be totally avoided. I also find the old adage, “Prevention is better than cure“, is true.
- sun-damaged skin
Understanding skin disorders
The definition of a disorder is a skin condition that irritates, blocks or causes inflammation within your skin. This may include swelling, redness, itching, or burning.
There are many things that can set them off; from irritants, allergies, and genetics, to diseases and problems with your immune system.
Skin type versus skin disorder
Many of my clients get confused between skin types and skin disorders, especially when it comes to ageing and sensitivity; contrary to popular belief, there are only four skin types as discussed below; They often have characteristic conditions associated with them:
Normal: This is a perfect skin type that has no obvious skin conditions, the type we are all very jealous of. It is extremely RARE to find someone with a normal skin type; think baby’s skin.
Oily: An oily skin type is usually a result of an over-production of sebum – in some cases an excessively oily skin can cause acne.
This type of skin condition can be very difficult to treat, simply because there are so many conditions going on within the skin
Dry: A dry skin type can also be dehydrated, and there may be underlying sensitivity also apparent, which presents itself as redness and inflammation
Combination: A combination skin is characteristic of an oily T-zone, blackheads, papules. or even pustules around the nose, chin, or forehead.
Skin disorders are imperfections that occur for any number of reasons.
Some possible causes of skin disorders
There are obvious causes such as genetics, hyperpigmentation, and ageing factors, but there are also a number of other things that can impact the health of your skin.
Nicotine: This is a toxic chemical that interferes with cellular respiration and your oxygen intake.
- it slows down circulation
- it is linked to heart attacks
- it makes it harder for cells to absorb oxygen and nutrients
- it destroys vitamin C, which is required by the body to help form collagen fibres
Smoking also makes skin appear dry and dull, literally starving the skin of oxygen.
Alcohol: This is a toxin that deprives the body of essential nutrients and weakens capillary walls, it can cause broken capillaries, flushing, and in some cases, rosacea.
Alcohol also impairs the function of many other of our body’s systems.
Caffeine: This is a toxin that interferes with digestion and absorption of vitamins and nutrients.
Caffeine causes dehydration of the cells; drying out the skin, making it look depleted.
Stress: Chronic, relentless stress can cause sluggish circulation because the blood and lymph cannot circulate properly.
- it causes facial muscles to tighten
- disturbs sleep patterns
- triggers skin disorders, such as eczema and psoriasis
- the digestive system is unable to process nutrients correctly.
Diet and Exercise: Poor diet equals poor skin; what you put inside shows in your skin – it is, after all, the biggest organ on the body.
A lack of exercise creates poor blood flow and lymph drainage, causing our metabolism to slow down.
Drugs and medication: These can dehydrate your skin, whilst also causing concerns such as irregular pigmentation, skin sensitivity and swelling of skin tissue – for instance, aspirin depletes the skin of vitamin C.
Incorrect skin care: Strong alcohols and astringent products can dehydrate the skin, disrupting the acid mantle, breaking down the protective barrier function and causing premature ageing.
The climate: This can affect the skin much more than you would imagine:
- oil production slows down in winter, and in the summer months, skin loses water through sweating – but it produces more in the winter.
- UV rays can create broken capillaries
- leads to premature ageing
- humidity causes moisture loss and dehydration
- over-exposure to sunlight will destroy collagen and elastin, thicken the epidermis, and cause uneven pigmentation which can cause malignant melanoma
- environmental pollutants can upset your acid mantle – your skin’s delicate microflora that offers your skin protection, it can also damage your Langerhans cells (immune protecting) creating free radicals.
As you can see, there are many reasons why your skin may be off-balance.
Skin disorders are tricky to treat, your skin is always changing and requires regular maintenance with a good skincare routine, to help keep it healthy.
There are so many skin disorders, it is impossible to discuss them all in one article; the website derm net offers fantastic advice on many of the common skin disorders, which is you may find an extremely useful read.