Ugh, not now! Pretty much nothing is worse than spotting a skincare emergency the day of that big event you’ve been prepping for, whether it’s a wedding, reunion, business interview, or first date. It’s as if you’re cursed, as if someone up there has it out for you. Well, maybe you can sidestep the skin disaster before it starts. In fact, you just may be able to do so within 24 hours if you follow these smart beauty tips.
5 Common Skin Disasters and How to Treat Them
Skin Disaster 1: Hives, Redness and Allergies
Solution: When you realize a certain food, beverage, cream or cosmetic triggered an allergic reaction, discontinue use or consumption immediatly. Treat with a hydrocortisone cream, which you’ll find at any drugstore. Also take an allergy medication such as Claritin or Zyrtec. Try a cotton compress of apple cider vinegar which is an anti-septic and anti-fungal that pulls any toxins out of the skin. A compress with whole milk is also very soothing.
Skin Disaster 2: Puffy Eyes
Solution: Cool tea bags and cold cucumber slices work wonders to constrict blood vessels and reduce swelling when applied for 10 minutes. You don’t need to see a dermatologist for any kind of treatment for this beauty issue but be sure to invest in a good eye cream and keep it in the fridge. Applying eye cream at both morning and at bedtime will help.
Skin Disaster 3: Cold Sore
Solution: Most dermatologists will offer cortisone injections to tame a cold sore given its ability to rapidly address inflammation. This doesn’t take very long to do so many dermatologists will tell you to come in the same day. If you can’t get an appointment, ask for a prescription for Famvir, Acylovir or Valtrex. Also, applying a lemon tea compress, witch hazel oil or peppermint are some natural ways to treat a cold sore.
Skin Disaster 4: Cystic Acne Breakout
Solution: Resist the urge to squeeze and soak in rubbing alcohol. This is such a common response and people end up making the pimple worse, not to mention scarring their skin. Cystic acne is deep and if treated correctly beneath the surface, it could remain a bump and not a red, scabbing mess.
The secret to destroying a deep cystic pimple is to get a steroid or cortisone shot. What the dermatologist will do is inject a diluted glucocorticoid right into the pimple. You’re basically getting a concentrated dose of steroid molecules that are naturally produced by our bodies responsible for regulating metabolism, inflammation and immunity. Within one or two days of injection into a cyst, the steroid will shrink the inflammation producing relief of pain and almost immediate cosmetic improvement.
If you cannot get to the dermatologist, apply a paste of baking soda with water then remove it within 20 minutes. Natural clay can also work very well as could a sea salt compress. Sea salt, especially directly for the ocean only takes 20 minutes to dry up skin.
Skin Disaster 5: Chapped Lips
Solution: Use lip balms, not waxes, and go natural with ingredients such as almond oil, vitamin E or A and make an at-home paste of sugar and honey to use as an exfoliator. You want to exfoliate lips in the shower when temperature is warmer.
Dry lips are always a beauty bummer especially when they crack and bleed. If chronic chapped lips are an issue, you may experience flare ups when lips are especially sensitive. Your lips lack a tough outer skin layer which is why they are a darker colour from the rest of your skin. Plus, there are enzymes in our saliva made to break down fats and proteins which is why when we lick our lips it makes matters worse.
Dr. Margarita Lolis, M.D. is a cosmetic, medical dermatologist and surgeon who regularly addresses common skin concerns such as acne prevention and treatment, sun damage, skin discolouration, wrinkles, changes to skin texture and loss of volume.