You’ve just come back from a nice summer break out in the fresh air wearing flips flops and a sarong! Suddenly you’re back in a stuffy heated office or classroom crammed back into smart office clothes or uniforms with a ton of new work to catch up on or looming exams and coursework. Your skin is likely to be the first casualty.
The ‘back to work’ or ‘back to school’ period is when you are most likely to get skin breaks outs due to the sudden change of tempo, environment and clothing as well as an extra dollop of stress.But if going back to work or school isn’t bad enough, getting a skin break out will only make matters worse.
Here is a helpful list of the most common ‘back to work’ and ‘back to school’ skin ailments and how to try and avoid them:
Stressed ‘post-holiday’ skin
New heavy autumn clothes and school uniforms which are likely to both itch and make you sweat, a hot stuffy office or classroom with the heating turned on early are all likely triggers for a ‘back to work’ eczema or dry skin break outs.
Try and stick to linen or natural fabric clothes and stay in lighter summer clothes for as long as you can. Wear natural cotton underwear and try to avoid wearing new bras, shoes or skirts for the first two weeks of your return from your holiday.[quote]Also try to avoid having your skin waxed or using a fake tan to prolong your tan for up to two weeks after your return from holiday. It’s also a good idea to avoid having your hair dyed or high lighted for up to two weeks after your return from holiday.[/quote]
You could also try, as a preventative measure in the run up to and during this stressful period, a daily application of a gel made from an extract of Cardiospermum (balloon vine) which is a natural treatment for eczema and, if applied regularly, could help reduce or even prevent an eczema flare up.
A recent UK trial on the gel found it to be more effective for some people than steroids in the treatment of eczema.The trial was carried out by a doctor, on 50 people, 28 of whom were previously using steroids for their eczema. The trial found that the Cardiospermum Gel was both more effective and significantly more pleasant to use than all existing treatment the patients had tried, including steroids.
Avoid washing skin with soaps or shower gels as much as possible and carry out a twice a day moisturising routine of the skin for a month after your return from holiday.
After a nice relaxing summer holiday returning to your stuffy office or classroom crammed with people and the busy commute to work can mean you are more likely to pick up a cold, which can lead to skin breaks outs and cold sores.
Wash your hands more frequently, especially after a commute to and from work.[quote]Put Vasaline around your nostrils to help stop germs getting up your nose.[/quote]
Carry sterile wipes with you and wipe down your mouth, nose and hands regularly when on public transport or crowded public places and drink plenty of water (take a bottle with you on long commutes).
For the first month of the ‘back to work’ or ‘back to school’period, get early nights as often as possible. 8-9 hours sleep a night will build up your immune system and strengthen it for when the real party season kicks in during the run up to Christmas.
A[quote]lso increase you intake of Zinc. Zinc inhibits viral replication and is believed to prevent cold viruses from attaching to nasal cells. Even a mild deficiency can cause an imbalance in white blood cells, whose job it is to destroy the infective agent. Top up zinc levels by eating wholegrains, nuts and beans and sprinkling pumpkin and sunflower seeds onto breakfast cereal.[/quote]
You could also take a six week course, starting in late summer, of the herbal extract Echinacea as this is a strong immune booster. But it should only be taken for a limited period (six weeks or less).
Echinacea is available from all good health food stores and some chemists.
You’re back in office or school uniform again, this means heavy formal trousers or skirts and nylon tights, which can lead to thrush.[quote]Thrush is caused by a yeast-like fungal growth. Yeasts flourish in a warm, moist environment. Wearing tights, nylon underwear or unbreathable trousers can create such an environment by trapping body heat and perspiration and preventing air from circulating around the genital area.[/quote]
Stick to wearing cotton underwear and stockings instead of tights (they are sexier and healthier for you), avoid tight trousers and pat dry the genital area thoroughly after washing.[quote]Avoid using perfumed intimate washes or wipes for up to two weeks after your return from holiday.[/quote]
You can also help to eliminate the thrush by focusing on a few dietary changes. You will definitely need to avoid sugar, and any foods containing sugar, as they will promote the growth of yeast. During the most vulnerable first month of the ‘back to work’ period you also need to cut down on foods that contain yeast, and any products that are fermented, such as bread, beer and wine.
You could also try taking ThreeLac a supplement containing three strains of live lactic acid bacteria (Lactobacillus Sporogenes, Bacillus Subtilis and Streptococcus Faecalis) that work to stamp out yeast infections. ThreeLac also makes your body Ph more alkaline which makes it hard for candida yeast to thrive in the first place.
ThreeLac has been show in studies to get rid of candida yeast infections as fast as antibiotics. It typically works in 4-6 days, where as antibiotics can take up to ten days to get rid of the infection.
But as a preventative measure you can start taking ThreeLac a week before you start work again to help ensure you do not get an attack of thrush.
When you go back to work and are more stressed out, reaching out for less healthy snacks, probably got a cold and you are generally more fatigued so your immune system defense is lowered. This mix is a prime trigger for cold sores and means that going back to work can leave the 30 million sufferers in the UK vulnerable to an attack, which is just what you don’t need in your first few weeks back at work or school.
It is easy to suggest that you should simply reduce your stress levels, always choose a healthy cereal bar over the muffin and get an early night.
However, we all know that in the real world this advice is seldom practical. But a lip balm containing liquorice extract could be any easy way to help reduce the frequency and intensity of cold sore outbreaks.
In a recent trial by the Herpes Virus Association, Liquorice Balm was found to be effective in a double-blind trial, carried out by the Herpes Viruses at reducing the severity and duration of outbreaks for over 73% of subjects.
Unlike conventional treatments, due to its naturally derived ingredients, suffers can wear the lip balm at all times, meaning that the intensity of the cold sore outbreaks could be diminished before they really have a chance to take hold.
Over the ‘back to work’ or ‘back to school’ period try replacing your usual lip balm with liquorice balm and help fight cold sores when your defenses are down.[quote]Also remind kids to avoid sharing drinks or water bottles with other kids at school.[/quote]
After the summer months spent bare foot on the beach or in flip flops and sandels your feet will have widened slightly and so will probably experience an unwelcome shock when they are forced back into restrictive and uncomfortable work or school shoes.
For the first few days back to work when your feet will probably be feeling the worst try Scholl Party Feet. These great gel cushions can be slipped into your shoes and will prevent you from having to hobble around by the end of a long day.[quote]But a healthier tip is to walk to and from work in nice comfy flats that you are used to wearing and save the power heels for at work only. [/quote]
When you get home treat your feet to a relaxing foot soak with some essential oils (try peppermint and lavender) to soothe, comfort and restore sore feet and to help prepare them for the next day at work.
SAD (Seasonal Effective Disorder)
SAD is a type of winter depression that affects an estimated half a million people every winter between September and April and swapping a sunny summer break for the being shut indoors in an office is likely to bring on a bout of SAD quicker than you might think.[quote]SAD can cause skin break outs, sleep problems, lethargy, over eating, depression, anxiety, loss of libido and mood changes.[/quote]
Always try and get outside if you can during lunch, even if it’s just for a five minuet stroll and after work, while the evenings are still relatively light, get out to the park or for a short walk.[quote]Three small doses of outside light a day can dramatically reduce your vulnerability to SAD.[/quote]
But once the light really starts to fade light boxes (such as The Britebox) provide a measured amount of balanced spectrum light equivalent to standing outdoors on a clear spring day. This has been shown to help regulate the body clock. You can have them stood on your desk or sit in front of them once you get home.