Worried about that dodgy rash or funny looking blister? We've got the low down on the types of skin rashes men are most likely to suffer from and how to resolve them.
Some of the most common skin rashes can be found on the feet, with athlete's foot and psoriasis both being common examples. Over two-thirds of the population have had athlete's foot at some point in their lives.
"Athlete's foot, or Tinea Pedis, is a fungal infection on the soles of the feet usually caused by the trichophyton rubrum fungus," explains New York-based dermatologist Dr Eric Schweiger. "It can have many symptoms, but most commonly appears as scaling on the soles of the feet and between the toes."
Wear protective footwear - eg sandals in communal areas such as changing rooms - to prevent infection, and dry feet thoroughly after showering, especially between the toes. Anti-fungal powders and sprays are the best solution, but must be used inside socks and shoes as well as being applied directly to feet.
Sweat, seasons and stress
Another common rash that can appear on the feet is dyshidrotic eczema. Although excess sweat production is thought to be a cause, it's now believed the condition can also be caused by other factors including seasonal changes, stress, or allergies.
"Dyshidrotic eczema is a type of eczema commonly seen on the feet, which is often caused by dyshidrosis - moisture imbalance due to excessive sweating," says Dr Eric Schweiger. "Symptoms include small vesicles (bubbles or blisters) on the feet which can be very itchy."
Cases of dyshidrotic eczema can usually be treated with prescription creams -visit your GP for a proper consultation.
Sensitive types are especially vulnerable to this next type of foot rash: contact dermatitis, which is caused by a range of factors, including wearing shoes that are too small or a reaction to chemicals within certain products designed for use on the feet.
"Contact dermatitis is an inflammatory reaction caused by contact with an allergen," explains Dr Eric Schweiger. "It's often caused by new shoes. Symptoms include redness, flaking and blisters which often appear in the areas where a new shoe rubs the foot. Contact dermatitis on the foot may also be caused by allergens, including ingredients used in food creams. Removing the offending factor is the main method of treatment, though prescription creams can give fast relief."
Seborrhoeic dermatitis is a common skin inflammation that's most commonly seen in young to middle aged men, with one in 25 adults developing the condition during their lifetime. This condition, which usually affects the scalp area, isn't contagious and is caused by the malassezia furfur germ that lives in the sebum within our glands; however some people react to this germ in a way that causes inflammation.
"Seborrhoeic eczema is more common in men due to the fact that it's caused by an overgrowth of yeast on the skin," says Dr Jennifer Yell, consultant dermatologist at Spire Cheshire Private Hospital. "Yeast lives within grease glands and grease glands are bigger and more active in men than in women."
Arms and hands rashes
Surprisingly, men are more likely than women to suffer from rashes on the hands and arms.
"Two skin complaints men suffer regularly from are hand eczema and irritant hand dermatitis," says consultant dermatologist Dr Mabs Chowdhury. Both of these conditions are commonly associated with manual labour and can be triggered by chemicals such as those used in concrete. Regular use of moisturiser can help, whilst steroid creams can be used to treat patches of eczema which have become infected.
Hair follicles rashes
Folliculitis is another example of a rash men are more likely to suffer from, due to the increased number of hair follicles found on men's bodies. The condition is caused when individual hair follicles are infected with the staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Symptoms include red, itchy patches of skin, swollen, red lumps and small pus-filled swellings, or pustules.
"Men are more likely to suffer from folliculitis and the condition is usually found in dense hair-bearing sites such as the face, chest and back," explains Dr Chowdhury. Folliculitis will normally clear up within 10 days but if symptoms persist, your GP will be able to prescribe an antibiotic cream.
Skin and stress rashes
If you often finding yourself breaking out into a rash before an important exam, job interview or meeting, you're not alone.
"It's difficult to define the exact role of stress in skin conditions," admits Dr Chowdhury. "However, there's no doubt that stress can aggravate conditions such as general eczema, hand eczema, psoriasis and rosacea."
Some studies suggest that cortisol, the chemical released during times of stress, can lead to a decrease in your skin's natural lipid or fat barrier. These lipids keep your skin protected and prevent it from drying out. If you're prone to stress-related rashes, regular exercise can help regulate cortisol levels, but it's also a good idea to steer clear of soap-based cleansers and shower gels, and regularly use a lipid-based moisturiser.
Just a rash or something more?
With so many different types of rash, how do we differentiate between a mild skin complaint and something much more serious?
"Warning signs that a rash could be indicative of something more serious would be a rash that is rapidly spreading, painful or blistering," says Dr Alun Evans. "Medical advice should also be sought if a rash affects the lips, mouth or eyes, or if it's accompanied by symptoms such as fever, shivering, wheezing or breathing difficulties."
Rash or food allergy?
It's usually quite easy to tell if a rash is the result of a food allergy.
"Food allergies are usually detected in childhood and therefore rarely cause rashes in adults," points out Dr Tim Clayton, a consultant dermatologist based in England. "However, if you've developed an allergy to food you should expect a reaction to occur in the skin within 20 minutes after eating. The rash to look for is an itchy, raised, bumpy rash that looks like a nettle rash or hives." This kind of rash, known as urticaria, normally disappears within 24 hours but more serious cases can be effectively treated with antihistamines.
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