We’ve all had a pimple at some point in our lives, but something you may not know is skin conditions are estimated to affect one in four Americans for those under the age of 65, and up to half of the population for those over the age of 65.
Skin conditions is such a broad term, however, many people don’t recognize how many different types of skin conditions there are. Some of the more common include eczema, psoriasis, ichthyosis, rosacea, and several other conditions that I’ll go over in-depth throughout this article.
A common misconception regarding skin conditions is that they only affect adults, In actuality, adults, children and pets (dogs and cats) are affected as well.
As a tween (10-12 year old) I developed a painful raised spot on my face. It was larger than a silver dollar and very prominent. It was itchy, scaly and red. I didn’t yet wear makeup or even moisturize my skin so it clearly wasn’t a reaction to something that I had put on my face. We went to visit my grandma who was a nurse and she diagnosed it as eczema. I tried everything from cleanser, moisturizes, and scraping. Nothing seemed to ease the itching or the redness.
Eczema, probably one of the more commonly known skin conditions, is usually characterized by red, itchy and painful skin. While scientists have not been able to nail down a specific cause for eczema, the current theory revolves around a combination of genetics and triggers, which makes keeping eczema under control a tricky endeavor. Since you can’t really change your genetics, let’s talk about some of the triggers that you can try to limit in order to help keep your eczema under control. It is important to note that eczema affects everyone differently, so not all of the triggers will affect everyone the same or at all.
One of the best places to start to avoid flare-ups of eczema is by keeping your skin moisturized. One of the most common triggers of eczema is dry skin, which can lead to brittle, scaly, rough, or tight skin. There are also some very common irritants, like metals (specifically nickel), cigarette smoke, soaps and cleaners, fragrances, certain fabrics, formaldehyde, and some ingredients found in antibacterial ointments like bacitracin, Cocamidopropyl betaine, and others.
Believe it or not, stress can also be a trigger for eczema, often contributing to a vicious circle of stress leading to eczema and flare-ups leading to more stress, leading to an even more painful flare-up of eczema.
Oftentimes the climate you live in can contribute to your eczema symptoms as well, but not always in the way you might think. For example, a humid environment can aggravate your skin and cause irritation between your clothes and skin, as well as prevent skin from regenerating normally. This can also transfer over to adverse effects from taking too long or hot showers or baths.
Not surprisingly, there are many allergens in our environment that contribute to eczema flare-ups. Often the culprits here are pollen, dust mites, dander, mold, and dandruff, some of which can be somewhat easy to avoid, such as pet dander, but mold, pollen, and dandruff can be much more difficult to avoid.
Finally, another trigger that is much more difficult to control is your hormones. Women, in particular, suffer from hormone-induced skin changes including eczema. The main ingredient in Emuaid, emu oil, is a powerful moisturizer that penetrates skin and locks in moisture. Emuaid also contains tea tree oil to kill any bacteria or fungus living on your skin.
Psoriasis, as I discuss in-depth in my article from a couple of years ago, is an autoimmune condition that results in the overproduction of your skin cells. Normally, your body continuously makes skin cells to replace all of the cells that die and fall off throughout the day. But, with psoriasis, your body produces too many skin cells, and you can’t get rid of them fast enough, so they start to stack on top of each other, resulting in thick and raised areas of your skin.
The resulting patches end up being itchy and can crack, bleed, and produce pimple-like blisters. Normally, psoriasis occurs on your hands, feet, knees, and elbows, but they can show up pretty much anywhere on your body. Unfortunately, psoriasis can lead to an increased risk of infection, on top of discomfort, with the infection being able to gain access to the rest of your skin, allowing for the spread of the infection far more quickly than would be otherwise possible.
Even within psoriasis itself, there are different types with some of the main types of psoriasis including plaque, nail, guttate, inverse, pustural, and erythrodermic psoriasis. Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for psoriasis, but there are some things you can do to help keep your condition manageable and as comfortable as possible.
There are a variety of treatment options you can explore, including corticosteroid cream and ointment. Emuaid helps reduce inflammation and itching associated with psoriasis. Finally, stress can also be a contributing factor to psoriasis, resulting in another cycle of stress and increased flare-ups.
Similar to psoriasis, acne is an inflammatory condition, usually caused by bacteria. The influx of bacteria causes an increase in blood flow and white blood cells, attempting to wall off and contain the invading bacteria, resulting in that nasty pus buildup that is symptomatic of your acne. Most teenagers and adults have experienced some level of acne in their lives. Many people can track their breakouts to food.
Sugar has to be one of the biggest factors when it comes to inflammation, but there are some differences in the types of sugars you can ingest, with simple sugars such as those found in fruit, being much better for you than processed foods like donuts and candy.
Some other common inflammatory agents include dairy, wheat and gluten, Omega-6 fatty acids, alcohol, and stress. Outside of controlling these inflammatory agents, your skincare routine can prevent some outbreaks. The colloidal silver and tea tree oil in Emuaid kill bacteria that cause acne, while the emu oil heals the surrounding tissue.
Ichthyosis; no, it’s not a new dinosaur, it’s a skin condition that causes dryness and scaling, resulting in dry, flaky, and itchy skin. Actually, Ichthyosis is a family of about twenty skin conditions leading to dry skin, with the name coming from the Greek word for fish. Unfortunately, this is another skin disease that doesn’t have a cure, but there are some treatments you can use to help relieve the itchiness and dryness.
Ichthyosis can be contracted in one of two ways, either by inheriting or acquiring it. Obviously inheriting the condition is related to genes passed down by your parents, but you can acquire the condition through a variety of different conditions, such as kidney disease, hypothyroidism, HIV infection, and potentially cancer and cancer drugs. There are some restrictions as to where the dry, scaly skin can form, however, with the portions affected being the trunk, stomach, buttocks, legs, and face and scalp.
Other symptoms can include skin redness, blisters, itchiness, pain, and tight skin that makes it hard to move. Many people who have ichthyosis also have eczema. Emuaid is helpful for dry skin and cracks that can develop. Emuaid also has the same effects on ichthyosis, with the antibacterial and antifungal properties being the main focus, but with the cream acting very quickly, to offer fast calming effects on inflammation, itching, and pain and discomfort.
Rosacea is a chronic condition that affects a person’s cheeks, nose, chin, eyelids, or forehead which becomes inflamed and red, often producing small pimples and noticeable blood vessels. Unfortunately, this condition also currently does not have a cure, but, with the right lifestyle approaches and medication when needed, you can keep your rosacea under control and keep it from affecting your everyday life too much.
Most of the symptoms of rosacea include small red bumps or pustules (different from acne), small, spider-like blood vessels, a red, bulbous nose, a tendency to blush or flush easily, and/or a burning or stinging feeling in the face.
A complication of rosacea that can develop is ocular rosacea -- burning, irritated, or bloodshot eyes -- which can lead to conjunctivitis, an inflammation of the inner eyelids. While the cause of rosacea is unknown, it would appear to be genetic, with the disorder being more commonly seen in descendants of Celtic cultures or Northern Europe, specifically those with fair complexions.
Some things to avoid to help symptoms from worsening include alcohol, spicy foods, coffee and caffeinated beverages, strenuous exercise, chronic stress, and sunlight or a history of sunburns. Most conventional treatments of rosacea revolve around avoiding the triggers I mentioned before, as well as by protecting the face from winter weather and using natural and anti-bacterial creams.
Vitiligo is a disease-causing loss of skin color in blotches that can affect the skin on any part of your body, including your hair and the inside of your mouth. Vitiligo occurs when the cells in your skin and hair that produce melanin (the chemical which colors your hair and skin) die or stop functioning. This condition tends to be more noticeable in people with darker skin, but is not contagious.
The main symptoms include patchy loss of skin color, premature whitening or graying of the hair on your scalp, eyelashes, eyebrows or beard, and loss of or change in color of the retina. The causes have not been concretely nailed down yet, but the most acceptable conclusion is autoimmunity.
In this case, it is likely a disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the melanocytes in the skin. This process could be triggered by an event, such as sunburn, stress, or exposure to industrial chemicals. Most conventional treatments use makeup and dyes to cover up the discolored areas, but these are only temporary measures.
Some other more permanent measures include depigmenting agents, light therapy, surgery, and some nutritional changes, like increasing your zinc, copper, beta carotene, and aloe vera intake and usage.
Hives are itchy welts on the skin, usually caused by an allergic reaction. Hives may also be caused by a physical trigger such as cold, or a medical condition such as an infection or autoimmune disease. While many people may think that hives only look red or round, hives actually can be red, pink, white, or skin-colored, and they can appear as tiny spots, blotches, or thin, raised lines. They can also be as small as a pinprick or as large as a dinner plate, there really is no standard size when it comes to hives.
Normally, they show up and disappear within a few hours, with some people having one flare-up and then never having hives ever again, but this is not a hard and fast rule. Some people have chronic hives, or hives that show up daily or almost every day for six weeks or longer.
If you have what you think is chronic hives, doctors recommend you keep track of your flare-ups and what you ate, came in contact with and did before you noticed your hives, so you can start to keep track of what might be causing the hives.
When it comes to relieving the itch, there are some things you can do at home to provide some temporary relief. You can try to avoid overheating, wear loose-fitting cotton clothes, apply a cold compress unless the cold triggered your hives. You can use an antihistamine or calamine lotion, and prevent dry skin by using a fragrance-free moisturizer several times a day. Emuaid is not only a moisturizer but includes colloidal silver and tea tree oil to reduce fungal or bacterial infection that can be caused by scratching.
Seborrheic dermatitis is a skin condition that mainly affects your scalp, causing scaly patches, red skin, and stubborn dandruff. It can also affect oily areas of the body, such as the face, sides of the nose, eyebrows, ears, eyelids, and chest.
Sometimes seborrheic dermatitis can go away without treatment, but often you may need to perform many treatments before the symptoms go away. Even then, the symptoms may return at a later time. Daily cleansing with gentle soap and shampoo can help to reduce the oiliness and dead skin buildup.
For infants, this condition is known as cradle cap and causes crusty, scaly patches on the scalp. Most of the symptoms include skin flakes in your hair, patches of greasy skin covered with flaky white or yellow scales or crust on the scalp, red skin, and itching.
If you’re stressed or the weather is cold and dry, your symptoms tend to flare up a little bit. Again, while the exact cause of seborrheic dermatitis is unknown at this time, some of the suspected causes include a yeast called Malassezia and an irregular response of the immune system.
So what can you do to treat your seborrheic dermatitis? In mild cases, you can use topical emu oil or soap that includes emu oil. Other treatment options include alternating between using your regular shampoo and a medicated dandruff shampoo, when dealing with your scalp’s seborrheic dermatitis.
When your case is very severe, there are some prescription-strength topical ointments you can get from your doctor to help reign in the symptoms. One study showed that emu oil along with prescription clotrimazole or hydrocortisone provided relief and tissue healing faster than prescriptions alone.
Emuaid is a topical remedy for external skin irritations, the primary ingredients of which are emu oil, tea tree oil, argentum metallicum (colloidal silver). There aren’t any side effects and no contraindications. Because of the healing ingredients in Emuaid, I recommend it for basically all skin issues from a simple hive breakout to a chronic condition like eczema.
While skin conditions can be complex, they are usually all itchy, uncomfortable, and prone to bacteria. Emuaid may not be a cure-all but it can be an important and soothing part of your skin routine.
Carly Neubert BA, NC
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