herald

Thursday 8 December 2016

Dear Rosanna: 'I'm in my 30s and still get spots - what can I do?'

Rosanna Davison
Rosanna Davison

Skin problems, a self-conscious reader and a barking dog make up this week's problems

Q: My skin keeps breaking out and while that might seem like a rather common complaint I am now in my 30s and there's no end in sight to this issue.

Having tried an exhaustive number of topical solutions, drugs and been to several dermatologists someone told me that it was because I hadn't yet had a baby. But I had my first child two years ago and these break outs are as relentless as ever.

Drugs are the only thing that worked but the minute you come off them the spots come back - always around the hormonal areas of the chin and jawline.

They aren't even normal spots that you can squeeze as they are hard boils that just linger for months and make me so self-conscious. I get them on my chest and shoulders too - have you any suggestions?

I'm really sorry to hear that you have been struggling with adult acne. As somebody who had trouble with spotty flare-ups in my teens and right into my 20s, I can completely sympathise with how you're feeling.

It can really begin to chip away at your self-confidence, and especially when you feel that you have exhausted every avenue.

I also spent time on antibiotics and topical medicated treatments, but what consistently worked for me was being vigilant about the trigger foods in my diet.

I started to notice a pattern between eating dairy foods, sugar and gluten, and my breakouts. So I cut right back on them, and eventually eliminated them, and to my amazement, the breakouts stopped.

That's my own personal experience and won't necessarily work for everybody, but I firmly believe that your diet and lifestyle play a huge part in your health and in alleviating certain symptoms.

My advice is to chat to your GP about your options, and to track your diet and flare-ups to see if there's any link between foods and breakouts.

It will always benefit you to replace processed foods with lots of whole fruit, vegetables, healthy sources of fat and lean protein and plenty of water.

 

Q: I was in a fire when I was younger and have some scarring on my chest that I am incredibly self-conscious about.

Most of the time I don't think about it as there's never any time where I'd expose it - it's why I don't go swimming - but at 22 I've started dating someone and it's the first time I've ever been serious about someone - he knows I have scars as there is some marks on my arms but he doesn't know the extent of it and to be honest this is the only thing holding me back from taking our relationship further and sleeping with him.

We've been dating for three months and I've never felt this way before - but I don't know what to do - talk to him or just let it happen and see how he reacts?

I'm sorry to hear that you had such a traumatic experience, and I can fully understand why you would feel self-conscious about the scars.

But don't forget that they're also a reminder that you're a survivor, and you should be proud of your bravery and resilience, and appreciate the scars as a mark of a huge event that you have overcome.

It sounds like you're getting serious about this guy, and it's only natural to want to take the relationship to a more physical level. If he really cares about you too, then he's not going to think twice about your scars.

If you're keen to explore your relationship with him further, then I feel that it's important for you to be honest about your concerns.

Chat to him about how you have been feeling self-conscious, and to let him know that there's more scarring that he hasn't seen. Try to relax and let the relationship develop naturally.

 

Q: My neighbours have complained about my dog barking when I am at work and I don't know what to do.

I've had my dog for five years and it's only lately that he seems to be making this noise when I leave him. I totally understand why the neighbours complain as they work from home and are entitled to some peace and quiet but I love my dog and there's no way I would ever re-home him.

How can I figure out why his behaviour has changed? I wonder if he is lonely and I should get another dog but if they both bark in my absence this will only annoy the neighbours more.

I have sympathy for both you and your neighbours in this situation. I can appreciate how maddening it can be for people to have to listen to a dog barking incessantly, but as a dog lover and owner, I know that there's no way you could ever think of giving up your pet.

But you're going to have to come up with a solution that suits everybody. The most likely scenario is that your dog is indeed lonely, and probably bored too.

They're pack animals, and thrive on having humans and other dogs around them for company. It's normal for a dog to bark and whine when they're left alone.

Getting another dog might work out very well for you, and it was one of the best decisions that I've ever made for my first dog as it means that they have company when you're out for the day.

However, I would strongly suggest that you seek the advice of your vet or a canine expert first, as there may be another cause for your dog's behaviour.

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