Almost everyone deals with skin issues: roughly 85 percent of people in the US between the ages of 18 and 24 deal with at least minor acne and roughly 10 percent experience dermatitis in their lifetime. Additionally, 7.5 million Americans have psoriasis, and 16 million Americans have rosacea. An even bigger stat? 3.7 BILLION people across the world under 50 years old (that’s 67 percent of that population) are carriers of the HSV-1 virus, which causes cold sores. So yeah . . . it’s pretty safe to say that almost everyone will deal with some kind of skin issue in their lifetime.
That’s why dermatologists have so many tricks up their sleeve and why it’s also important to have your own arsenal of go-to treatments, like reliable over-the-counter products. When it comes to cold sores, Abreva can help get rid of them in 2½ days1, when used at the first sign.
For advice on treating a slew of skin issues that plague billions of people around the world, we consulted New York City dermatologist Dr. Hadley King, MD, for her top tips (and the best kinds of products to have on hand).
Dealing With Dry Skin
Whether you live in a dry or cold climate, or just seem to suffer from dry skin in general, this skin condition is pervasive and quite common.
Keep showers and baths short and sweet
“Long or frequent baths and showers, particularly in hot water, can dry out the skin because they remove protective oils naturally produced by the skin,” said Dr. King. To make sure you’re keeping your skin supple, here’s her tip: “Keep baths or showers to under eight minutes, no more than once per day, and use lukewarm rather than hot water.”
Use a gentle soap
“Using harsh soaps and detergents exacerbates the drying effect because they are formulated to remove oil, so they consequently strip moisture from the skin. It's helpful to use gentle soap substitutes instead, which won't strip the skin of oil and moisture.”
Try a postshower oil or moisturizer
“Apply emollients immediately after a bath or shower to keep the skin from drying out,” says Dr. King. “Use cleansers and moisturizers that are cream-based rather than gel-based.”
Dealing With Acne
As mentioned above, acne is one of the broadest skin concerns, impacting millions every year. Here are Dr. King’s top tips for managing acne:
Use the right topicals
Dr. King’s recommendations? “A retinoid at bedtime, benzoyl peroxide cleansers or creams, and salicylic-acid cleanser or toner.”
Have a routine
“Find a regimen that works for you, and be consistent,” she says.
“As tempting as it can be, don't pick,” she said. “It increases the risk for scarring, discoloration, and infection and increases inflammation and prolongs healing time.”
Check your diet
Consider looking into how food affects your skin. “For some people, foods with a high glycemic index and some dairy products may contribute to acne.”
Work with a dermatologist
If the above tricks aren’t working for you, it’s time to see a professional. Your dermatologist can “discuss prescription options including topicals, hormonal treatments, and isotretinoin.”
Dealing With Cold Sores
This one has the simplest solutions of all the aforementioned skin conditions: a medication and a topical cream. While medication is sometimes recommended, an over-the-counter cream like Abreva can shorten healing time and get rid of your cold sore in 2.5 days, when used at the first sign1!
1 Median healing time 4.1 days 25% healed in 2.5 days