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Skin

Acne

Cold Sores

Skin Rash

Athlete's Foot

Eczema

Impetigo

Molluscum Contagiosum

Pityriasis

Poison Ivy

Scabies

Sunburn

Acne

Symptoms

Acne is a common skin condition of the face, chest, and/or back that may include whiteheads, blackheads, red pimples, pustules and possibly small lumps (cysts).

Causes

Skin pores or hair follicles contain oil glands that keep your hair and skin moisturized. Acne is caused by excess oil or clogged oil ducts. Hormone changes, lotions/make-up, bacteria on the skin, stress, some medications and heredity all contribute to acne.

Self-Care

  • Keep your face and hair clean
  • Picking or squeezing pimples can worsen the condition
  • Try over-the-counter acne medicine with benzoyl peroxide
  • Use oil-free lotions and make-up
  • If your acne is not controlled with the above or causes scars or cysts, see a healthcare provider for prescription medication

Additional Information

Mayo Clinic: Acne

Medline Plus: Acne

Cold Sores

Symptoms

  • Blisters on your lip or mouth
  • Mouth soreness
  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph glands

After the blister develops, cold sores usually break open, crust over and disappear after several days to a week.

Causes

Cold sores are caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV). There are two types of the virus (HSV-1) and (HSV-2) and both can cause lip and mouth sores. The virus enters the body through a break in the skin around or inside your mouth. It spreads through coughing, sneezing or direct contact with a cold sore or saliva.

Self-Care

  • Apply topical creams or ointments
  • Use heat or cold to the blister to ease pain
  • Avoid squeezing, pinching or picking at any blisters
  • If you have frequent or severe outbreaks, see your healthcare provider

Additional Resources

Mayo Clinic: Cold Sore

WebMD: Cold Sores

Skin Rash

There are many types of common skin rashes in young adults. Listed are a few of the most frequently seen.

1. Athlete's Foot

Symptoms

Athletes foot is caused by a common fungal infection. Symptoms include burning, tingling, itching between the toes, and blisters, cracked and peeling skin between the toes or on the soles of the feet.

Self-Care

Use over-the-counter medications that contain terbinafine, clotrimazole or miconazole. If the rash does not respond, see your healthcare provider.

Prevention

Keep your feet dry. Wear socks made from natural materials. Wear well ventilated shoes. Wear shower shoes or sandals in public places. Use anti-fungal powder if you are prone to athletes foot.

Additional Resources

Mayo Clinic Information on Athlete's Foot

2. Eczema

Symptoms

Eczema is an inflammation of the skin that causes redness, swelling, scaling and itching of the skin. Genetics, allergies, stress and skin irritants can all cause eczema. Symptoms may vary based on the cause.

Treatment

Treatment generally includes the use of hydrocortisone creams and lotions for a limited time. Over-the-counter antihistamines may be useful to decrease itching.

Self-Care

Bathe less frequently, using warm (not hot) water. Use mild soaps such as Dove. Moisturize your skin frequently with creams or ointments. Don’t scratch and wear cotton clothing.

See your healthcare provider if your rash becomes tender, swollen, hot or has drainage.

Additional Resources

Mayo Clinic Eczema Information

3. Impetigo

Symptoms

Impetigo is a highly contagious bacterial skin infection which causes sores around the mouth that begin as fluid filled blisters which open and form a honey-colored crust.

Treatment

See a healthcare provider for a prescription of topical or oral antibiotics.

Self Care

  • Frequent hand-washing
  • Avoid touching or scratching the infected area
  • Wear gloves when applying ointment
  • Contact sports are not allowed until the lesions have resolved

Additional Resources

Mayo Clinic Impetigo Information

4. Molluscum Contagiosum

Symptoms

This is a common contagious, viral skin infection that causes small firm flesh colored bumps with indented centers. It can be spread person-to-person and with the use of contaminated objects. It can be found on the hands, feet, face, arms or legs. It can be spread sexually on the lower abdomen, genital area or the upper thighs.

Treatment

Molluscum will generally resolve on their own within 12-18 months. Because they spread easily, healthcare providers will often remove them by scraping, freezing or other methods.

Self-Care

  • Avoid touching the bumps or shaving the affected area
  • Do not share clothing or towels with others
  • Avoid sexual contact until bumps have resolved

Additional Resources

Mayo Clinic Molluscum Contagiosum Information

5. Pityriasis

Pityriasis is a common skin condition that usually begins as one large spot on your chest, abdomen or back and spreads from the middle of the body outward in the shape of drooping pine-shaped branches. It usually clears up on its own within six to eight weeks.

Symptoms

  • Begins with large, slightly raised, scaly patch on back, chest or abdomen
  • Pine-tree pattern occurs a few days to weeks after initial symptoms
  • Color of rash is scaly and pink
  • Half the people who develop pityriasis also have symptoms of:
    • Upper respiratory infection – stuffy nose, cough, sore throat and/or congestion

Self-Care

  • Bath or shower in lukewarm water
  • Zinc oxide cream or calamine lotion on the rash
  • Take an oatmeal bath to relieve itching

Additional Resources

Mayo Clinic Topic Overview

Web MD Topic Overview

6. Poison Ivy

Poison ivy causes a skin rash called allergic contact dermatitis when touched. It is the most common skin problem caused by plants.

Symptoms

  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Blisters

Self-Care

  • See a healthcare provider if the rash is extensive
  • Over-the-counter corticosteroid creams such as hydrocortisone
  • Calamine lotion
  • Cool, wet compress for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day
  • Creams containing menthol such as Sarna
  • Colloidal oatmeal bath
  • Antihistamines such as Benadryl

Additional Resources

Mayo Clinic: Poison Ivy Rash

Web MD Topic Overview

7. Scabies

Scabies is a skin condition caused by a burrowing mite that leads to itching in the area of its burrows. Scabies is contagious and can spread quickly through close contact.

Symptoms

  • Itching, usually worse at night
  • Thin, irregular marks that look like blisters or bumps most often found:
    • Between fingers
    • Armpits
    • Insides of wrists
    • Waist area
    • Elbow
    • Soles of feet
    • Buttocks
    • Shoulder blades
    • Male genital area
    • Knees
    • Around breast

Self-Care

  • See a healthcare provider for a prescription cream or lotion
  • Calamine lotion
  • Over-the-counter antihistamines to relieve allergic symptoms
  • Soaking in cool water
  • Apply cool, wet washcloth to irritated areas

Additional Resources

Mayo Clinic: Scabies

Web MD Topic Overview

8. Sunburn

Overexposure to the sun can lead to wrinkling, freckles, brown lesions, dry/rough skin and skin cancer. Sunburn risk increases in fair skinned people and if you are taking certain medications. Common medications that increase your risk of sunburn include some antibiotics such as tetracycline and sulfa drugs.

Symptoms

  • Redness, pain and blisters

Self-Care

  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Apply cold compresses and/or moisturizing cream with aloe
  • Take Ibuprofen to decrease pain and inflammation
  • Seek medical care if you experience:
    • Large burns with blisters, fever or extreme pain
    • Headache, confusion, dizziness
    • Signs of skin infection such as swelling, warmth or pus
    • Fever or chills

Prevention

  • Avoid exposure to midday sun from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. The lighter your skin, the higher the SPF should be. Liberally apply sunscreen and reapply every 60-90 minutes
  • Wear protective clothing such as a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves
  • Wear sunglasses that absorb both UVA and UVB rays

Additional Resources

Medline Plus: Sunburn

Contact Us

Student Health Center
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Email: studenthealth@uwosh.edu
Phone: (920) 424-2424 · Fax: (920) 424-1769

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