Skin, your body’s largest organ, is complex. Its intricacy can make caring for it difficult and confusing, especially when you consider the environmental factors—sun, dirt, chemicals, humidity and more—you encounter daily.
“The fact is: Dermatology is really frustrating,” says Diana Hermann, an acupuncturist and herbalist, and owner of Zi Zai Dermatology in Fort Collins, Colorado. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re using Western medicine or natural medicine, skin varies greatly from one human to the next, so it’s challenging to know what to do.”
Well, never fear: You asked, and we listened. We talked to dermatologists, aestheticians, natural health practitioners and professors to find the definitive answers on all things skin. Whether you’re concerned about dryness or oiliness, eczema or psoriasis, or simply steering clear of chemicals, click on any of the questions below to get all the information you need.
1. With every change of season, the skin on my hands and around my nails gets really dry and cracked. It’s so painful. What can I do to prevent this?
2. Why doesn’t my skin feel like it’s absorbing moisturizer?
3. Since being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, my husband has experienced extremely dry and cracking skin. What is going on, and what can he do?
4. How can I keep my skin dewy, soft and moisturized?
5. I recently moved from a dry climate to a humid one. What can I do to ease the stress on my skin?
6. As I’ve aged, my skin has lost some of its elasticity. What can I do to reverse this?
7. How do I prevent blackheads?
8. Now that I’m over 50, I’m dealing with brown spots and wrinkles. What is the best way to take care of these issues?
9. I recently changed birth control from the one I took for more than 10 years. Suddenly I feel like a teenager with bad acne. What’s going on?
10. What is the best way to balance skin protection and sun exposure?
11. I’ve heard that certain things I eat, such as dairy foods and nightshade vegetables, can affect my skin. Is this true? And how so?
12. What’s the best way to go about using sunscreen without causing breakouts? I want clear skin and sun protection!
13. How do I prevent varicose veins in my legs, and why do I have them in the first place?
14. My eczema has been flaring up, and topical treatments simply mask the underlying systemic issues. How can I treat eczema from the inside out?
15. What are the side effects of long-term use of pharmaceuticals, steroid ointments and creams used to treat acne or eczema?
16. Why does my scalp sometimes really hurt, for up to 24 hours, after wearing my hair pinned up or in a ponytail?