Dr Shah Hussain
Q: The skin around my nails is very dark. How can I even out the tone? Nida, Karachi
A: Apply a moisturiser with a sun-block in the day. Use a cream containing glycolic acid and kojic acid at night. Avoid scrubs. Take vitamin C supplements daily and apply a mixture of yogurt, honey and turmeric daily to reduce the dark colour. You could also undergo tretinoin peels to get rid of the pigmentation.
Q: I have acne on my back, even though I use exfoliating gloves when I bathe. What can I do to get rid of this? Aashee, Lahore
A: Exfoliating gloves will not help you get rid of the acne. Make sure you use an antibacterial soap while bathing. You may apply a cream containing 2.5% benzoyl peroxide at bedtime. If you have pustules, you may apply a gel containing clindamycin. Do not go for oil massages on the back as oil will block the pores and give rise to more acne. Dandruff due to an organism called propioni bacterium can cause back acne too. Hence, use a shampoo with zinc pyrythione and ketoconazole at least once a week. Make sure to rinse off your conditioner well as it can block the pores and increase acne on the back.
Q: I have fairly clear skin but ever so often I get one big, painful pimple. Why does this happen and how can I deal with it? Saba
A: An occasional pimple is either due to a hormonal change that the body goes through or more commonly due to stress. Reduce your stress levels by changing your lifestyle, meditating, or practising yoga. Cleanse your face more often and avoid oil based creams and cosmetics as these can clog your pores. Eat healthy, increase the intake of brightly coloured fruits that are rich in antioxidants. Apply clindamycin gel on the occasional pimple.
Q: I have a lot of blackheads and whiteheads around my face. I use a face scrub once a week but it doesn't seem to be working. I also cleanse and moisturise daily. Please help! Ariba
A: Use a face wash containing salicylic acid. It is a good exfoliant and it helps remove the excess skin cells on the surface, so they don't build up inside the pore. Do not try to remove them on your own as you may end up with marks or infecting yourself. Avoid creams and oil based cosmetics as they will further block your pores and increase your acne. Use a gel containing adapelene on alternate nights. You must also get a hormonal test done to rule out a condition called polycystic ovarian disease, which can cause persistent acne.