The sun is coming out... but are you dreading it?!
I don't want to speak too soon but the sun has definitely put some sterling work here in Brighton over the last few weeks and rumour has it we are set to have a lovely hot summer: hooray!
Or maybe not?
Sunshine is so good for the soul, it picks us up after months of everything looking bleak and grey, filling us with fresh energy and hope. The flowers are pushing their way up through the earth, outside activities are possible again, and we can leave those itchy, overly-hot coats and scarves at home.
But for those of us with troublesome skin the warmer weather can also bring a sense of dread at the prospect of showing bare arms and legs; months of cold weather, bitter winds and dehydrating central heating have played havoc with our sensitive skin and ramped up the frequency of eczema or psoriasis flare-ups.
It's all very well when you see blogs and magazines talking about getting your skin ready for spring and summer, but for people with chronic skin issues this adds insult to injury.
We're not the least bit ready for summer.
Living with long-term skin conditions can have a huge affect on one's emotional well-being, especially at a time of year when the shop windows are full of sleeveless tops and tiny little shorts, so often a daunting prospect for those of us with flaky, reddened, inflamed skin.
Well, sadly Balmonds can’t miraculously change big retailers' marketing policies, nor can we wave a magic wand and give everyone perfectly clear skin, but what we CAN do is offer understanding and acknowledgement for anyone who struggles to show bare skin when the sun comes out. You are not alone! In fact, us flawed human beings are the majority, we just don’t necessarily shout about it - though maybe we should.
We have a huge responsibility to make sure our young people know what real beauty is, and teach them that it encompasses all their physical imperfections, unique quirks and differences.
Social media has a lot to answer for, presenting 'perfect' bodies, clear skin and lustrous manes of hair as standard, when most of the images we see online or in print have been airbrushed, Photoshopped or at the very least put through a nice kind Insta filter. It's a dangerous message, based as it is in fantasy not reality, and yet the marketing machine convince us we should all look like this.
Let’s help teach our young ones that the images we see in magazines aren't real or desirable. Only a tiny fraction of the population is actually blessed with perfect skin: even catwalk models and beauty influencers use thick foundation to cover spots and blemishes. The truth is that those of us with complicated skin - be it dry, sensitive, oily, allergy-prone, scarred, marked or a combination of all of the above - are in the majority: we're gearing up to sunshine but we're armed with lotions and potions to keep our beautiful-if-complicated skin healthy, happy and well-looked after.
We have a huge responsibility to make sure our young people know what real beauty is, and teach them that it encompasses all their physical imperfections, unique quirks and differences. No child should be trying to achieve impossible and unrealistic beauty standards when real beauty comes from them just being themselves.
To that end, we want to share this video of Sonia Sing, the lady who set up Tree Change Dolls. She takes highly made-up, fashion-orientated, unnecessarily-sexualised plastic dolls and gives them a makeover, so that the little children who actually play with them can see themselves reflected in their toys. It really is time for a change!
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If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.