Many people have medical problems that affect the skin. Dr Muhammed-Ameen Moosa, local Dermatologist practicing at Limpopo Skin Clinic, offers advice for two of the most common skin conditions.
“Pimples and complexion problems are an issue for many young people. Pimples occur mainly on the face, but they may often involve the neck, chest, back, and upper arms. Acne is only a skin problem and usually has nothing to do with general health, but if it occurs in a very severe form or is resistant to treatment then other associated hormonal and medical problems need to be identified,” says Dr Moosa.
He explains that acne is caused by the oil glands in the skin breaking open. At adolescence, the oil glands in the skin start producing an oily material called sebum. Sebum is discharged under the skin surface. Sometimes the wall of the oil gland breaks and spills the sebum within the skin. The sebum irritates the skin tissues and causes redness and swelling: in other words, a pimple.
“Acne usually begins in a mild form in the teen years. How long you have acne is impossible to predict. Acne gets worse and improves by itself. There is usually no explanation for these ups and downs,” he says.
Although there are many factors such as hygiene, diet and stress that may affect acne, Dr Moosa assures that he and his team can help solve the problem.
“At Limpopo Skin Clinic we will formulate a specific treatment plan designed for your individual situation. Acne treatment is one of our areas of specialty and expertise.”
Dr Moosa says ‘atopic’ is the term used to describe conditions that often have a genetic basis. Eczema is the term used to describe changes in the upper layer of the skin that include redness, blistering, oozing, crusting, scaling, thickening and sometimes pigmentation; although not all of these changes will necessarily occur together.
He says the causes of this condition are still not completely understood. “In people with atopic eczema, the function of their skin as a barrier to the outside world does not work well, so that irritant and allergy-inducing substance enter their skin and cause dryness and inflammation. This is not catching.”
Dr Moosa explains that atopic eczema, often runs in families and if one or both parents suffer from eczema, asthma or hay fever, it is more likely that their children will suffer from it too.
This skin condition cannot be cured, but it can be treated and managed effectively.
“Most children with atopic eczema improve as they get older. However, many of those who have had eczema continue to have dry skin and need to avoid irritants such as soaps or bubble baths. Eczema may persist in adults, but it should be controllable with the right treatment,” says Dr Moosa.
“You will need the advice of a health care professional on the best treatment. The regime used most often in this treatment consists of moisturisers and topical steroids.”
He warns against the use of over-the-counter herbal creams and says these often cause allergic reactions and irritations that exacerbate the problem.