Dr Shah Hussain
Q: The skin on my eyelids is always flaky and dry. What could be wrong? Please help. Tameema Ali, Karachi
A: You seem to be suffering from seborrhoeic dermatitis. Wash your scalp with an anti-dandruff shampoo with 2 per cent ketoconazole and pyrithione at least twice a week. Cleanse your eyelids with warm water and a mild cleanser. Apply coconut oil on the eyelids twice a day. You may also apply a miconazole eye ointment once a day. Avoid using eye makeup, as it can increase the dermatitis or bacterial or fungal infection. Consult a dermatologist if the problem persists.
Q: My lips are always dry. I've tried a number of brands of lip balms, but nothing seems to help. What would you suggest? Javeria Aleem, Lahore
A: Chapped lips could occur due to exposure to cold, dry air, certain vitamin deficiencies, licking your lips, dehydration, contact with irritants or allergens in cosmetics or intake of certain drugs like isotretinoin. Try using uriage lip balms four to five times a day. Use a sunscreen on your lips when out in the sun. Avoid licking your lips, as this will only increase the dryness. Use a lip-gloss instead of lipstick and keep yourself well hydrated. A supplement of 500 mg evening primrose oil and a vitamin B complex every day will also help.
Q: I am out in the sun for two to three hours every day. What kind of SPF do I need? Nida Khan, Lahore
A: Sun exposure means exposure to both UVA and UVB rays. While UVA can cause allergic reactions, pigmentation and ageing, UVB can cause sunburn and skin cancer. SPF or sun protecting factor indicates the sun protection ability against only UVB rays. Hence while choosing a sunscreen, choose a water-resistant one that protects from both UVB and UVA rays and has SPF of at least 30. A sunscreen rubs off with normal wear, so it needs to be reapplied every two hours. Wear protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses whenever possible.
Q: I am 28 years old, and since the last year-and-a-half, I've been getting excessive facial hair growth. Is it okay to wax this hair off? Please suggest a long-term solution. Reema, Islamabad
A: The best way to get rid of your excessive hair growth is through laser hair removal. You may require six to eight sittings at an interval of four to six weeks for permanent hair reduction. An average of 90 to 95 per cent of the hair is removed permanently by the end of the treatment. The remaining 5 to 10 per cent becomes light and unnoticeable. Long pulse Nd:Yag or diode laser or SHR are all very safe for the Indian skin type. If you want to go for a laser treatment, the only quick-fix between two laser sessions would be shaving. It is unadvisable to go for waxing, plucking, threading or depilatory creams as these will hamper the outcome of the laser treatment. Excessive hair growth could also be due to polycystic ovarian disease, so get your hormone levels tested before you go for any treatment.