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SKIN DEEP

It may be our largest organ, but it’s also largely a mystery. How much do you know about the skin you’re in? Rosie Benson reveals all

Freckles are in

They recently made a catwalk comeback (thanks to the likes of Adwoa Aboah, above), and we hit freckle frenzy when we heard Meghan Markle apparently likes to show hers through make-up. But we weren’t aware there are two types: ephelides are flat, light-brown spots that appear in summer and often fade in winter, while lentigines are small tan, brown or black spots that tend to be darker and don’t fade. If you have freckles, you should take extra care in the sun – we like Vichy’s face fluid, which offers SPF50 and gives a matte finish. Vichy Idéal Soleil Mattifying Face Fluid Dry Touch Sun Cream SPF50+, £16.50/1,650 points (50ml).

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30,000 to 40,000

…is the number of dead cells that your skin sheds every minute! Which could explain why some sources reckon more than half of the dust in our homes is actually dead skin. *gags* To shed more of them in the shower (rather than on your bedroom floor), try exfoliating with No7 Beautiful Skin Perfecting Body Polish Boots Exclusive £10.50/1,050 points (200ml) – it’s gentle enough to use every day.

DID YOU KNOW?

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Psoriasis – which causes red, flaky, crusty patches of skin – is due to an increased production of skin cells. They’re normally made and replaced over 3-4 weeks, but in psoriasis this process takes just 3-7 days. It affects 2% of people in the UK, as well as the famous faces above.

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…is the number of Instagram posts (so far) with the hashtag #skinpositivity, where users show their skin, make-up free, to combat the stigma around conditions such as acne and eczema. Leading the movement is blogger Em Ford** (above), who has acne. Check out her YouTube video ‘You Look Disgusting’, which has had more than 29 million views and features online reactions to Em with and without make-up (shown above; the former are overwhelmingly positive, the latter often negative and cruel). ‘I wanted to create a film that showed how social media can put unrealistic expectations on both women and men,’ she says. ‘We’re so used to seeing false images of perfection and comparing ourselves with unrealistic beauty standards that it can be hard to remember the most important thing – you are beautiful.’

Q: If you suffer from asthma and hayfever, you’re also more likely to have…

A: psoriasis
B: rosacea
C: atopic eczema

A: C. Atopic eczema is a condition that causes the skin to become itchy, red, dry and cracked, and often occurs in people who are prone to allergies. It is the most common form of eczema, and is particularly prevalent in children.

WINNIE HARLOW

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…scored a win for body positivity in November 2018, when she became the first model with vitiligo to grace the Victoria’s Secret catwalk. Vitiligo is a long-term condition that causes pale, white patches to develop on the skin and is the result of a lack of melanin. These areas are more prone to sunburn, so if this is you, try Soltan Once Advanced 8HR Protect Suncare Lotion SPF50+ Boots Exclusive £10/1,000 points (200ml).

FUN-GI FACTS

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Up to 100 types of fungi live on the skin on our feet – ew! Which is why it’s a good idea to wear flip-flops at the pool and in gym showers, so you don’t spread yours, or pick up other people’s.

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True or false?

Moles can fade or disappear as you get older

Answer: True! But if you notice any changes in size, colour or shape, it’s important to get them checked. You may want to try the Boots Mole Scanning Service, where you can have a scan and get the results back within a week. Find out more at boots.com/mole-scanning-service

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SEEING RED

Find yourself blushing at the slightest thing? Rosacea is a long-term condition that is characterised by redness on the cheeks, nose and chin. Symptoms include flushing, persistent facial redness, sensitive skin, visible blood vessels and acne-like spots. There’s no cure, but avoiding triggers such as sunlight and stresses can help. For a clever cover-up, try Clinique Redness Solutions Makeup SPF15, £24.22/2,422 points (30ml): the gentle formula calms inflamed skin, and can help reduce visible redness over time.

The average person’s skin weighs…

A: 5lbs         B: 9lbs       C: 3lbs

Answer: B. An average adult’s skin has a surface area of 2 square metres, which weighs 9lbs and contains more than 17km of blood vessels.

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THE FLAKY TRUTH

Dandruff can occur when the cycle of skin-cell renewal on the scalp speeds up, leading to irritation and patches of dead skin that come away in the hair. This common condition can be made worse by:

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Heat: this dries out the scalp, which can exacerbate flaking and dry skin, and may even cause a flare-up. So go easy with the hairdryer.

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Stresses: these may exacerbate a flare-up, as symptoms such as sweating can help produce ideal conditions for microbes to thrive on the scalp.

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Hats: worn for long periods, they create a humid climate on the scalp. To help, try Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp Shampoo, £4.99/499 points (500ml).

HERE TO HELP

Need advice on acne? The Boots Acne Online Clinic may be able to assist. Starting with a speedy online consultation, the service can provide access to prescription-only medicine, without the need to see your GP. For more details, go to boots.com/acne

Promotion

Love your skin

It’s not just our bodies that need regular TLC – our faces can benefit from daily attention, too! And the Ole Henriksen range, exclusive to Boots*, has the products to help – such as the vitamin C-packed Truth Serum, £59 (50ml).

Find out more about the range here

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Photography @mypaleskinblog, Getty Images, Shutterstock

**Check out Em on YouTube.com/MyPaleSkinBlog and on her Instagram: @mypaleskinblog Operated by ScreenCancer UK. Available in selected stores. Subject to eligibility criteria and pharmacist availability. Charges apply. The first mole/pigmented lesion scanned will cost £35. Each additional mole/pigmented lesion in the one consultation will cost £15. Available in selected stores. May be able to help people aged between 16 and 65 who have mild-to-moderate acne. Subject to stock availability and clinician approval. Charges apply.

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