Dr Shah Hussain
Q: Two years ago I had a staph infection (not MRSA) and I've had this red lump-like scar on my knee from one of the boils. It's decreased in size and puffiness, but will it ever heal? Is there any option other than surgery? Maira, Karachi
A: Persistent raised scars over the site of an injury (e.g., staph boil, deep scrape, surgery site) are easily treated with tiny, almost painless, cortisone injections, repeated every three to four weeks, until the scar lump flattens out. It's very unusual to need surgery to fix it.
Q: Can I use an exfoliating product for my acne even if I have sensitive skin? Insiya
A: Your situation of sensitive skin and acne is common and people with that combination do best with a gentle cleanser for dry or sensitive skin, and occasional exfoliation (i.e. two to three times per week) with a low strength exfoliating product (e.g. 1% salicylic acid or 5% glycolic) applied each time for a short 15-30 minute period instead of overnight.
Q: I read somewhere that a high intake of sugar causes facial wrinkles. Is that true? Sabiha
A: I am happy to tell you that I am not aware of any peer reviewed research that demonstrates any relationship between high amounts of refined sugar intake and wrinkles. But the effects of weight gain and loss on your facial skin, excess caloric intake, whether from refined sugar or any other source will result in weight gain which decreases the appearance of facial wrinkles.
Q: My young teenage daughter was diagnosed with a form of warts. They are small, start out like little pimples and are itchy. They are spreading around her body. Is there any cure? Ruqayya Ali, Karachi
A: It sounds like you are describing a viral rash related to actual warts called, "Molluscum Contagiosum." While many topical treatments are recommended, they rarely work and sometimes cause darkening of the skin around the bumps without curing them. Unfortunately, the method that works best to cure this is having each one scraped off with a special instrument (a curette) by a dermatologist. Topical anaesthetic cream can be used to make it completely painless. While it is true that they ultimately go away by themselves, it is frustrating and worrisome to wait for that to happen while they continue to spread because they are very contagious.
Q: Can split ends be fixed without cutting? Huma Shaikh, Lahore
A: There is absolutely nothing you can do to fix split ends except for running to the scissors and snipping the ends off.