What is Acne?
Acne is a common skin condition that affects most people at some point. It causes spots to develop on the skin, usually on the face, neck, back and chest. The spots can range from blackheads and whiteheads – which are often mild to deep, inflame, pus-filled spots and cysts, which can be severe and long lasting and lead to scarring.
What causes Acne?
The sebaceous (oil-producing) glands of people who get acne are particularly sensitive to normal blood levels of certain hormones, which are present in both men and women. These cause the glands to produce an excess of oil. At the same time, the dead skin cells lining the pores are not shed properly and clog up the follicles. These two effects result in a build up of oil, producing blackheads (where a darkened plug of oil and dead skin is visible) and whiteheads. The acne bacterium (known as Propionibacterium acnes) lives on everyone’s skin, usually causing no problems, but in those prone to acne, the build-up of oil creates an ideal environment in which these bacteria can multiply. This triggers inflammation and the formation of red or pus-filled spots.
How can Acne be treated?
Treatment for acne depends on how severe it is. Acne treatments fall into the following categories:
- Topical treatments, i.e. those that are applied directly to the skin
- Oral antibiotics, i.e. tablets taken by mouth
- Oral contraceptive pills
- Isotretinoin (Roaccutane) capsules
What is Eczema?
The word eczema comes from the Greek word “ekzein” which means, “to boil.” It is used to describe red, dry, itchy skin which can sometimes become weeping, blistered, crusted, scaling and thickened. Eczema also known as dermatitis is an extremely common inflammatory condition of the skin.
Types of Eczema
Atopic Eczema: Atopic eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is the most common form of eczema. It mainly affects children, but can also affect adults. The term ‘atopic’ refers to a personal and family tendency to develop eczema, asthma and/or hay fever.
Contact Dermatitis: Contact dermatitis is inflammation of the skin that occurs when you come into contact with a particular substance.
Discoid Eczema: It is very distinct with ‘coin shaped’ discs of eczema affecting the skin.
Pompholyx Eczema: The key characteristic of pompholyx eczema is blistering that is restricted to the hands and feet.
Asteatotic Eczema: Also known as “eczema cracquelée” occurs because of dry skin. It is mostly seen in the elderly population.
Varicose Eczema: It is also called gravitational eczema, seen later in life and it affects the lower legs and is seen in people with varicose veins.
What causes Atopic Eczema?
Atopic Eczema is a complex condition, a number of factors appear important for its development. These include defects in the skin barrier, and abnormalities in the normal inflammatory and allergy responses. An abnormality in the gene, which is important for maintaining the skin barrier, has been closely linked to the development of eczema. The defect in the skin barrier makes the skin in affected patients much more susceptible to infection and to irritation and allows allergy-inducing substances to enter the skin, causing itch and inflammation.
Is Atopic Eczema hereditary?
Yes. Atopic eczema (as well as asthma and hay fever) tends to run in families.
What makes Atopic Eczema flare-up?
- Many factors in environment can make eczema worse; these include heat, dust, pets and irritants such as soap and detergents.
- Being unwell, for example having a common cold can make eczema flare.
- Infections with bacteria or viruses can make eczema worse, bacterial infection and viral infection.
How can Atopic Eczema be treated?
Moisturisers (emollients): These should be applied several times every day to prevent skin from drying and help the outer layer of your skin function better as a barrier to your environment. The drier your skin, the more frequently you should apply a moisturiser. Many different ones are available, varying in their degree of greasiness, and it is important that you choose one you like to use. The best one to use is the greasiest one you are prepared to apply. Moisturisers containing an antiseptic may be useful if repeated infections are a problem.
Topical corticosteroids (creams or ointments):
Topical steroids are used to reduce swelling, redness and itching during flare-ups. Use a fingertip unit (squeeze steroid from the tube to cover the length of your index fingertip) to cover an area the size of the front and back of your hand. Other treatments include topical calcineurin inhibitors (pimecrolimus or tacrolimus) for eczema in sensitive sites not responding to simpler treatment or skin areas which are more susceptible to side effects.
Antihistamines for severe itching
Bandages: Cotton bandages or cotton vests/legging worn on top of creams can help keep creams in the skin and stop scratching.
Oral treatments: Oral steroids, azathioprine, ciclosporin, methotrexate.
Facts about scalp hair
- Hair on the scalp grows about 0.34 to 0.36 mm/day.
- It’s normal to lose 50 to 100 hairs a day but anyone who notices thinning hair should see a dermatologist.
- Hair, being a non-living tissue, cannot repair itself.
- Various kinds of things can damage hair and make it break off or get too dry. To protect your hair, be careful around.
- Sun: Research has also shown that hair is susceptible to damage by sunlight. When in the sun, protect your hair by using a leave-in conditioner that contains zinc oxide or wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
- Chemicals, such as chlorine in swimming pools remove natural oils covering hair resulting in loss of hair shine, so you should wash your hair after swimming in a pool.
- Hair dryers can damage your hair. Ideally avoid them. Air-dry your hair (dry naturally) as much as possible. If you use hair dryer, use on a lowest setting first and increase the temperature, as the hair gets drier.
- Curling irons and flat irons: Things you use to style your hair can cause damage to your hair. Avoid straighteners and curlers. If you cannot avoid them use the device sparingly and do not use on wet hair, as wet hair is more fragile. Limit the time a hot comb or curling iron touches your hair. Use the lowest heat setting. Avoid straightening the hair ends (as they are generally weaker) and. Heat protectant spray does not give 100% protection.
- Hair colouring: Hair colouring can change the inner structure of the hair, causing a lackluster look and dryness, especially if you colour frequently. Best is to avoid hair colour. If not, try to add more time between touch-ups.
Pulling your hair back tightly, such as in a ponytail, bun, or cornrows can cause damage to hair by traction.
Who gets Skin Cancer?
Anyone can get skin cancer.
People who are more likely to get Skin Cancer are:
- Skin types- Fair skin, especially when the person also has red hair or blond hair, green or blue eyes
- Spend a lot of time in the sun.
- Use sunbeds
- Live (or once lived) in an area that gets intense sunlight.
- Skin that sunburns easily, especially blistering sunburns.
- Skin that burns rather than tans.
- Large number of moles, atypical moles
- Genetic conditions
- Lowered immunity with immunosuppressant
What causes Skin Cancer?
Cells become cancer cells because of damage to DNA. UV rays can damage the DNA inside skin cells. In a normal cell, when DNA is damaged the cell either repairs the damage or the cell dies. In cancer cells, the damaged DNA is not repaired, but the cell doesn’t die like it should. Instead, this cell goes on making new cells that the body does not need.
This may be the first step on the path to skin cancer.
Can Skin Cancer be prevented?
Not all skin cancers can be prevented, but there are things you can do that could help reduce your risk of getting some skin cancers.
- Limit your exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays- seek shade, wear sunscreen and adequate clothing
- Avoid sunbeds – Sunbeds give out UV rays
- Self examination of skin
- Choose sunscreen that has an SPF of 30 or higher, is water resistant, and provides broad-spectrum coverage, which means it protects you from UVA and UVB rays.
- No sunscreens are waterproof or sweat proof; they are water resistant for 40 to 80 minutes.
- Apply sunscreen generously before going outdoors. It takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and protect you.
- Use enough sunscreen. Most adults body need, approximately 6 teaspoons of lotion.
- If it’s cold or cloudy outside, you still need sunscreen. Up to 40 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation reaches the earth on a completely cloudy day.
- Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours to remain protected, or immediately after swimming or excessively sweating.
- Applying sunscreen lotion is not enough to protect your skin from sun-induced damage, namely skin cancer and skin ageing.
- Adequate clothing and a hat provide additional protection.
People who get sunburned usually didn’t use enough sunscreen, didn’t reapply it after being in the sun, or used an expired product.
- Ringworm (dermatophyte) is a fungal infection of skin called “Tinea” in medical term.
- Ringworm occurs in people of all ages, but it is particularly common in children.
- It occurs most often in warm, moist climates.
- Ringworm is contagious and can be passed from person to person by contact with infected skin areas or by sharing combs and brushes, other personal care items, or clothing.
- Depending on which part of the body is affected, it is given a specific name.
|Tinea capitis (scalp)||Tinea cruris (groin)|
|Tinea faciei (face)||Tinea manuum (hand)|
|Tinea barbae (beard)||Tinea pedis (foot)|
|Tinea corporis (body)||Tinea unguium (nail)|
- Ringworm usually looks like a round, red circular patch on skin that may be scaly, inflamed or itchy
- Antifungal cream
- Antifungal tablets : Terbinafine , Griseofulvin, Itraconazole
Length of treatment depends on the site and response to treatment.
Warts can occur anywhere on the body but occur most commonly on hands and feet.
The virus causes an excess amount of keratin, a hard protein, to develop in the top skin layer (epidermis). The extra keratin produces the rough, hard texture of a wart.
Warts are contagious. Warts can spread by contact with the wart or something that touched the wart. You are more at risk of being infected if your skin is damaged, or if it is wet and macerated.
Some of the more commonly used treatments are:
- Salicylic acid preparations
- Formal aldehyde preparations
- Removal under a local anaesthetic