Q: What causes allergy skin? Are they all due to food?
A: Allergy skin is called eczema or dermatitis by doctors. There are two main categories, intrinsic or atopic type and extrinsic type.
Q: What is atopic dermatitis? What are the symptoms?
Atopic Dermatitis patients usually have family history of atopic e.g. asthma, allergic nose or eyes condition. They may have dermatitis problem since infancy. For this group of patients, they very often suffer from dermatitis exacerbation when the temperature is too hot, too dry, and too dusty or under stress. They may or may not allergic to food.
Q: How to take care of atopic dermatitis?
A: To prevent attack, keep the skin moisture by using gentle shower cleanser and apply emollients or moisturizer after bath every day. Keep the environment clean, not too hot and dry and minimize dust. Most of them are sensitive to the dust mite in the dust. When dermatitis flare up, visit doctor to have topical cream or oral medicine.
Nowadays, there are some emollients and cream which have anti-itch and anti-inflammation effects. So dermatitis patients can reduce dependence on steroid based cream.
Q: How about extrinsic dermatitis?
A: Extrinsic dermatitis can be due to allergic to food, plants, animal’s dandruffs or contact with certain materials such as latex, nickel and cosmetic ingredient.
Q: How can I find out what I am allergic to?
A: You can do blood tests to find out the allergens such as food (milk, soy, egg, chicken, shrimp, yeast etc), animals, plants and dust mites. Sometimes, doctor recommends Skin Patch Test to find out what chemical ingredients a patient allergic to.
ACNE AND ACNE SCARS
Q: What causes pimples or acne?
A: There are three main causes of acne,
- excessive sebum or oil secretion by the sebum glands,
- blockage of the skin pores due to inflammation,
- P. Acne bacterial infection within the glands
Q: Why do I have more serious acne compared to my peers?
A: This may be due to family history (family has bad acne), hormonal problem (PCOS), environmental factors such as high humidity and cosmetic especially moisturizer and foundation. Consult doctor if you have serious acne as we want prevent acne complication.
Q: What are the acne complications?
A: The infected acne causes severe inflammation on the skin that will result in skin color change on the skin such red or brown spots after the acne heals. However, this spots can be treated with pigment lightening cream.
The permanent scar formation is the most serious complication. This is usually due to more advanced acne which causes damage of the collagen and elastic fibre tissue. The scarring is permanent and can only be improved with clinic procedures such as laser and subcision.
Q: How can I prevent acne?
A: Use skin cleanser which can prevent clogged pores, apply cream which controls sebum secretion and avoid using comedogenic cosmetic.
Q: What should I do when I have more serious acne?
A: Consult doctor if the acne is red, inflamed and painful. If necessary, doctor will prescribe oral antibiotic and medicated cream to treat the clogged pores, control the oil and clear the bacteria. All measures should be taken immediately to prevent permanent scarring.
Q: When can mole appear? Can I have new mole during adulthood?
A: Yes, some moles appear since birth and are called congenital moles. More moles may appear during childhood and early adult life and called acquired moles. The number of moles a person has depends on genetic factors and on sun exposure.
Q: Should I worry about mole?
A: People with a greater number of moles have a higher risk of developing melanoma (mole cancer) than those with few moles. If a mole changes in size, shape or color, or a new one develops in adult life it should be evaluated by doctor with skills in the recognition of skin cancer. If there is any doubt it may be necessary to cut the mole out for pathological examination.
Q: How can I remove my mole?
A: If there is any doubt of cancerous change, mole need to be removed by excision biopsy whereby the full thickness of the skin is removed and the wound is sutured (stitched). The specimen will be sent to the laboratory for pathological examination (histology). The resulting scar may be just a thin line. However, normal mole can be removed with electrosurgery or laser safely. The procedure is simple, no stitch required and cause minimal to no scar.
Q: What is your advice for people who have numerous moles?
A: Perform self skin examination monthly: report significant changes in moles or new lesions to your doctor or dermatologist.
- Arrange to have a skin examination regularly if you have numerous moles, atypical moles, previous skin cancer or your doctor recommends this.
- Sun protection is important to avoid damaging your skin. Cover up with hat, long sleeves and long skirt or trousers. Apply sunscreen to areas you can’t cover. Choose broad spectrum high protection (SPF 30+) sunscreens, applied frequently to exposed areas.
Q: What causes my pigmentation?
A: The color of the skin depends on a pigment called melanin. Melanin gives the skin, hair and eyes its natural color. When melanin is over-produced, deposits are formed and hyperpigmentation appears on the skin.
The common causes are:
- UV rays
- Female hormone, causes Melasma
- Genetic Reason
- Injury to the skin, eg burn, trauma, inflammation
- Rarely due to drug or some diseases
Q: How to prevent hyperpigmenation?
A: The important precautions are:
- Avoid hormone drugs that are causing problem
- Apply broad spectrum sunblock
- Apply lightening ingredients to stop melanin production.
Q: How to treat pigmentation problem?
A: Firstly, consult a doctor to confirm the cause of hyperpigmentation. Treat the primary cause of the pigmentation, apply pigment suppression cream and combine with pigment laser treatment if necessary.
Q: What are the other problems caused by UV Ray?
A: UV Rays cause skin hyperpigmentation, premature skin aging (wrinkles) and skin cancer. Therefore, it is important to stay away from UV exposure as far as possible.