5 DIY Skin Fixes
By Madeline Haller
Troublesome skin have you rushing to the doc? You’re not alone.
As it turns out, people most often visit their health care providers because of skin issues, according to a new Mayo Clinic Proceedings study. Researchers reviewed over 140,000 medical records from the Mayo Clinic between 2005 and 2009. The outcome: Over the course of 4 years, researchers found that skin disorders, joint disorders, and back pain were the top three reasons for the patient’s visits to the doctor.
Most skin issues, though, you can treat on your own—if you know how. Joshua Zeichner, M.D., dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, gives you the breakdown on five conditions you can handle from the comfort of your own home.
This condition is caused by a superficial infection of yeast in between the toes, says Zeichner. And considering it multiplies in public areas such as locker rooms and communal showers, the more you work out, the more your risk increases. But if you treat it early enough, you can prevent the infection from spreading to the sides of your feet and underneath the toenails. “Over-the-counter anti-fungal creams usually do the trick,” says Zeichner. In some cases, the rash can become very inflamed and even painful, in which case a prescription medication may be necessary. If it hasn’t improved after 2 weeks with over-the-counter products, then visit your dermatologist, Zeichner recommends.
Athlete’s foot and jock itch are actually caused by the same fungus, says Zeichner. And attention gym-goers: Fellas who sweat a lot are most at risk. The condition can be treated with an over-the-counter anti-fungal ointment, says Zeichner. But to reduce your risk, aim to keep your groin dry. That means always changing your drawers after a workout and washing the area well on a daily basis.
“It’s estimated that 85 percent of Americans will suffer from acne at some point in their lives,” says Zeichner. Most cases can be treated by picking up an over-the-counter face wash with salicylic acid, but if it fails to improve your condition after a few weeks, that’s when you should head to a dermatologist.
Another pro tip for active men: If you frequently work up a sweat while exercising, make sure you clean off your body as soon as you’re done with your workout. Although sweat itself won’t cause you to break out, the combo of sweat, oil, and dirt can clog your pores and lead to acne, says Zeichner.
Warts are caused by HPV, but there are many different strains that affect many different parts of the body. “The hands and feet are most commonly affected,” says Zeichner. And there are various treatments options, such as freezing, immunotherapy, salicylic acid, lasers, even placing duct tape over the site until it disappears. “Unfortunately, no single treatment has emerged as first line,” says Zeichner. “But the good news is that if you wait long enough—we are talking years—warts usually go away on their own.”
Not all men “burn” the same: For some, razor burn only lasts a few hours, leaving the face and neck a bit red. For others, the reaction drags on for days, leaving you with an irritated face decorated with infected blisters. But lucky for you, all this hassle is preventable. “Razor burn develops as a result of skin irritation from shaving, but shaving has as much to do about the skin as it does the hair,” says Zeichner. So you can save yourself a trip to the doc by having a solid routine.
“Shaving is best after a hot shower, when the hairs are soft and hydrated,” says Zeichner. Invest in a shave gel to further soften the hair, and use new, sharp razor blades. “Shave in a single direction along the grain (along the direction of hair growth),” says Zeichner. “And clean your razor every few strokes.” Last but not least, moisturize after shaving, because shaving exfoliates cells from your skin’ surface.