Thanet College.  Hairdressing, Beauty and Fitness

SKIN DISORDERS:  Investigate the following terms and write a short descriptive paragraph on each,


Erythema is a reddening of the skin which can be caused by a number of factors such as eczema, electrical treatment, acne and acne medications, exercise and massage all of which can cause the capillaries to dilate resulting in the redness. Erythema is also a sign of disorders including Erythema Multiform, Erythema Nodosum, Lupus Erythematosus and Fifth Disease. In massage Erythema is often seen as a positive contra-action to treatment which demonstrates that the treatment has been effective, more oxygen and nutrients are being brought to surface via the dilated capillaries and that toxins are being eliminated from the body.

Illustrative example of Erythema in the face

To reduce dilated capillaries essential oils such as Lemon in low dilutions (Citrus Limon), Grapefruit (Citrus x Paradisi), Rose (Rosa Centifolia and Rosa Damascena) and Frankincense (Boswellia Carteri) can be used.

Oils such as Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis), Black Pepper (Piper Nigrum) and Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Globulus) are rubefacient and are therefore likely to exacerbate the problem. In addition Eucalyptus should not be used on sensitive skin or on the face.


There are two main forms of the Herpes Simplex Virus – Oral or HSVI and Genital or HSVII Herpes. With Oral Herpes the sufferer usually displays sores around the mouth area and face. These sores are fluid filled and eventually rupture leaving a weeping wound. This then solidifies to form a crust which eventually drops off leaving reddened healing skin. The sores from the primary infection heal completely and usually do not scar. However the virus that causes the infection stays in the body. It moves to nerve cells where it remains dormant until it occurs again. Reoccurrences can be triggered by a number of factors including stress. HSVII is associated with the genital area. The Herpes Simplex Virus is highly contagious and is spread by direct contact with the lesions or liquid filled blisters. Unfortunately there is no successful vaccine for HSV and treatment can only ease the symptoms.

Illustrative example of oral Herpes

In the active stage of HSV essential oils should only be applied by the client themselves to stop the risk of cross-infection.

Essential oils useful in treating the symptoms of HSV are Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia), Bergamot (Citrus Aurantium subsp. Bergamia) and Rose (Rosa Centifolia or Rosa Damascena).


Uticaria or Hives are itching red welts or bumps which may later turn white and are non-contagious. They can occur anywhere on the face or body, lesions appear rapidly and can last for anywhere between 15 minutes to six weeks.

The exact cause of hives is unknown the rash usually occurs in response to an allergen such as certain foods (including strawberries and shellfish), medication such as penicillin, house dust, pet fur, cleaning products, soap or shampoo. Other factors include stress, heat or other stimulus to the skin, chemical sensitivities, an infection or immune system disorder.

When hives lasts for more than six weeks, according to the Mayo Clinic, they may be a sign of a more serious problem such as hepatitis, thyroid disease or lupus. Barring these more serious disorders Hives are usually harmless and leave no marks. However it can be seen by this disparity of causes how dangerous it would be for a non-medical practitioner to make a diagnosis and recommend specific treatment.

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Illustrative picture of Uticaria

Essential oils useful in helping with Uticaria include Peppermint (Mentha Piperita), although not on the face, Lavender (Lavendula Augustifolia) and Chamomile (Matricaria Recutita).


Acne Vulgaris or simply Acne is a common inflammatory skin disease. It is characterised by whiteheads and blackheads (comedones), pus filled spots and in severe cases cysts and scars. It is an indication of a change in the hormonal balance and in sufferers of Acne the sebaceous glands are particularly sensitive to a hormone, present on both men and women ...

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