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Have a skin 'trouble spot'? Here's how to fix it

by Julia Curley / / Source: TODAY

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It's easy to say "love the skin your in," but it can be harder to believe it when pimples, dandruff and sunburns pop up.

Dr. Sandra Lee, a board-certified dermatologist based in Southern California, stopped by TODAY Friday to talk about common skin problems and the easy changes you can make to cure them.

1. Scalp

People experiencing that snowflake-like hair dust have one of two problems: dandruff or psoriasis. Typically, dandruff causes this discomfort, but you don't have to live with it.

Dandruff is easy to treat with medicated shampoo, Lee explains. Apply dandruff shampoo to only the scalp, and not throughout the hair itself. Dandruff originates on your scalp, not your hair follicles, so shampooers should medicate the source.

Lee also prescribes a five-minute wait period between applying the shampoo and washing it out. While your scalp absorbs the dandruff solution, you can busy yourself with washing the rest of your hair with regular shampoo.

Pro tip: Many people falsely believe that overwashing your hair causes dandruff. Not true! According to Lee, the less often you wash your hair the more likely you are to develop dandruff, so keep using hair shampoo while medicating.

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Head & Shoulders Leave-In Treatment, $35, Amazon

Head and Shoulders Clinical Solutions Leave-On Dandruff Treatment

Lee recommends Head & Shoulders leave-in treatment and says you should feel free to wear it overnight to wake up with a healthier scalp.

2. Face

Unlike scalp issues, facial imperfections — like pesky pimples and blemishes — have many causes. The first step in treating the issue is to isolate your antagonist. Whether you have whiteheads, blackheads, cysts or pustules, there's a specific acne medication to fix your problem.

Whiteheads and blackheads:

Clean & Clear Acne Spot Treatment, $6, Amazon

Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment

For whiteheads and blackheads, look for an over-the-counter product with salicylic acid or retinol.

Cysts and pustules:

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10, $5, Amazon

Clean & Clear Persa-Gel 10 Acne Spot Treatment Medication

For tender cysts, papules and pustules make sure the treatment you choose contains benzoyl peroxide.

There's usually no need for a prescription to treat these common occurrences. Over-the-counter options work as long as you choose the right one for your needs.

3. Upper arms

Everyone gets goose bumps from time to time, and many people also experience Keratosis Pilaris. The condition certainly doesn't sound familiar but it's the name for those harmless tiny bumps found on the skin and, most commonly, the upper arms. They naturally occur in the life of your skin cells, Lee explains, and they're nothing to worry about. But if the bumpiness bothers you, treatment can help.

Lee treats the condition much the same way as dry skin because a lack of moisture makes these bumps more noticeable. Many people only see symptoms during the dry winter months.

4. Chest and shoulders

The term sunburn needs no explanation. It's not only painful and red, but dangerous,too. Repeated sunburns increase your risk for certain cancers and all types of wrinkles.

The sun damages all parts of the body equally, but the chest is often at risk for frequent burns. Lee recommends wearing sunscreen every single day, even if it's overcast and chilly. Choose a daily moisturizer infused with a high SPF and stay comfortable, healthy and beautiful.

As Lee puts it: No tan is a good tan.

Aveeno Daily Moisturizer, $10, Amazon

Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Lotion With SPF 15

5. Back

Tinea Versicolor is a fancy name for those small skin discolorations that are often found on backs. Once again, this condition is completely natural and nothing to worry about. The skin produces an organic yeast and, sometimes, it builds up and manifests into these small spots. Unfortunately, the sun can aggravate the problem, making the season in which you wear the least amount of clothes the condition's prime time.

Some simple antifungal cream should help, Lee recommends, but it's important to remember that this fungus is natural. Don't scrub yourself dry!

Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion, $6, Amazon

Vaseline Intensive Care Lotion, Aloe Soothe

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