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Skin conditions

Everyone gets the odd spot, but longer-term skin conditions can affect your level of self-confidence, especially if they are on your face. If you are suffering from acne or dry skin, don't worry. There are lots of easy treatments around that can help.

Spots

Most people get spots, and they do always seem to break out when you really don't want them to. They're caused by chemicals in your body producing too much sebum - a substance that your body produces naturally to stop your hair drying out. Too much sebum makes your skin oily and causes spots.

Spots usually go away, but there are some things you can do to make them disappear a bit quicker:

  • wash with an anti-bacterial face wash, instead of soap or shower gel, until the spots have gone
  • as tempting as it is, don't squeeze them - this can spread the infection and cause more spot outbreaks
  • drinking a couple of pints of water a day can help

If your spots don't seem to be clearing up, you may be suffering from acne, which is a more serious condition and you should make an appointment with your doctor.

Acne

Acne is different from getting a few spots - it can appear on your back, shoulders and chest as well as your face and can sometimes be painful. Suffering from acne doesn't depend on your level of personal hygiene. It can sometimes run in the family or it can be caused by high levels of stress.

Some people can get relatively mild forms of acne, where outbreaks are months apart. Others can get quite serious forms of the condition that can lead to scars. Acne disappears for some people by their early 20s, but others with very sensitive skin can still have the condition a number of years later.

Acne can also affect you emotionally. Sufferers of the condition can often get teased or bullied in school or college. It can also affect someone's self-confidence or body image and can cause stress - which in turn can make acne outbreaks even more severe.

Although special face washes and creams can help some people, serious acne usually needs to be treated with specialist medical treatments. These treatments are only available with a prescription. Make an appointment to see your doctor who can diagnose how serious the acne is and decide the best course of action.

Your doctor will also be able to talk to you about how to deal with any emotional distress you've suffered.

Dry skin

Patches of dry skin can affect anyone, especially when the weather turns colder and the wind starts to gust. Dry skin can form anywhere, but it's most common on your face as that's the area that exposed to the cold air.

Using a moisturiser can help, as can using a lip balm if your lips are chapped. If your dry skin lasts for a long time and is itchy or feels hot when you touch it, go and see your doctor. They may be able to prescribe special creams that help more serious forms of dry skin like eczema or dermatitis.

Shaving rash

Guys who shave may find that they get a rash on their chin or neck after shaving. Although it's not painful, you may find it becomes itchy and irritating.

Using moisturiser after you've finished shaving stops your skin from drying out and using an aftershave that doesn't contain any alcohol can also help if you've got particularly sensitive skin.

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