Help for problem areas on your body

Don't just hide your not-so-pretty bits under winter woollies! Here's how to deal with it

02 June 2006
by Leigh van den Berg

Chicken-skin arms

Do people ever ask you if you’ve got goose bumps, even when you’re not cold? Chances are you’re suffering from keratosis pilaris (KP), a common skin condition that tends to play up in the cold winter months. It’s easily diagnosed by the appearance of chicken skin-like bumps on the upper arms, but can appear on thighs, buttocks, torsos and cheeks too. It’s caused by the skin's inability to shed dead skin – the bumps are hair follicles that have become blocked with dead skin cells. KP is really easy to treat.

Simply exfoliate the affected areas using a body scrub. Ask your Clicks Pharmacist to recommend a good alpha hydroxy acid cream and apply it to your bumps twice a day. You should see an improvement in about two weeks.

Nose à la Rudolph

If you’re suffering from the drips, you’ll know the discomfort, not to mention embarrassment, of a sore, swollen nose. To prevent this from happening, you can blow it using Johnson’s Baby Extra Care Wipes. Each wipe is enriched with aloe and willowherb, to protect against redness and dryness.

Also, get your hands on a trusty tin of Zam-buk. A quick slick of this herbal balm directly onto the area will prevent it from drying out and, because it contains camphor, its vapours will help keep your nose clear.

Body acne

If you’re prone to pimples you’ll know that sunshine seems to have a positive effect on acne. Without it, you may find you get more blemishes not only on your face but on your body too. When it comes to blitzing pimples, the number one rule is this: do not squeeze them, no matter how much you might be tempted. Picking is the quickest way to create a nasty infection that causes them to take longer to clear and picking could leave you with scars.

Instead, gently exfoliate the area at least once a week to stop dead skin cells from building up, then apply a spot cream that contains bezoil panthenol twice a day. This fabulous blemish-blitzing ingredient kills the bacteria that lead to spots and dries out pimples fast.

Cracked heels

Just because it’s cold and your feet are tucked away in boots and closed shoes, it’s no excuse to let your heels become dry, cracked and ugly. If your heels are simply dry and the cracks aren’t too deep or painful, get a pumice stone or scrub such as Feet First Rough Skin Remover to smooth away as much hard skin as you can.

Then, just before bed, slather on a deep conditioning foot treatment like Feet First Heel Balm, slip into a pair of cotton socks and hit the sack, repeating as often as necessary. If your cracked heels actually hurt, it’s time to see a podiatrist. He or she may recommend a strapping to hold your heels together while they, er, heal, and can prescribe a more intensive ointment.

Down in the mouth

Dry, flaky lips? Using your toothbrush, gently buff off as much of the dead skin as you can, apply a dot of aqueous cream, let it sink in, then seal it in with a nourishing lip treatment like Labello's Milk &, Honey lip balm. If you're suffering from a cold sore, there’s not too much you can do by way of a quick fix, but you can prevent future blisters.

Doctors advise that you don’t let your body get run down and avoid common cold-sore triggers such as stress, sun, sugar, alcohol and arginine – an amino acid found in peanuts, chocolate and most cereal grains that helps the herpes virus that causes cold sores to reproduce. You can also supplement your diet with 500-1 000mg of L-lysine, another amino acid that stops your body from absorbing arginine, to lessen your chances of another breakout.

Calloused, corny feet

Are winter’s fashion staples – sky-high pointy-toed shoes – creating lumps and bumps on your tootsies? If you’re suffering from a callous (a thickening of the skin often on the bottom of your foot), soak it in warm water to soften the skin. Gently buff it with a foot file or pumice stone to remove the dead skin layers, then apply a moisturising foot cream such as Feet First Nourishing Foot Food.

If, however, you’re afflicted with a painful corn, doctors advise that you don’t try and shave it off yourself, nor should you experiment with any of the over-the-counter acid treatments – if used incorrectly they can do more harm than good. Rather purchase circular corn pads like Scholl Corn Cushions. These will take the pressure off the bump, while you book an appointment with your nearest podiatrist.

Did you know?

Dry, warm air (from indoor heating) can worsen dry skin and eczema. Keep moisture levels up by drinking enough water and using a humidifier.