When the problem is skin deep

June 15, 2012
Dana K. Cassell

Dana K. Cassell, a frequent contributor to <i>Drug Topics</i>, lives in North Stratford, N.H.

A round-up of OTC products to help manage skin problems

Acne - Bugs - Chafing. The ABC's of skin troubles. Be nice if they stopped there. Unfortunately, the alphabet goes on - and so do skin troubles. DermWeb, at http://Dermatology.org/, lists 15 different "common" skin problems.

The largest organ of the body in both weight (6 to 9 pounds) and surface area (about 2 square yards), the skin separates our insides from the outside world. Among its many jobs, our hardworking skin protects us from bacteria and viruses that can cause infections, helps us to sense the outside world (e.g., hot or cold, wet or dry), and regulates our body temperature.

So it is understandably important to promptly treat or prevent conditions that might irritate, clog, or inflame the skin. In addition to hindering the skin at work, all that redness, swelling, burning, and itching can be downright irritating. Oh, yes, and it can look embarrassingly unattractive, as well.