Dr Shah Hussain
Q: Can you suggest home remedies to get rid of dark elbows and knees? Nadia Rafique, Lahore
A: Excessive dryness and friction may lead to darkening of elbows and knees. At home, you can use a mixture of chickpea flour and malai as a scrub over the affected areas. Coconut milk is a natural moisturiser. Apply the milk, leave on for a while before your bath, and wash off with water. You should apply a good moisturiser that contains coconut milk or cocoa or shea butter. At bedtime, you could apply a 6 per cent glycolic acid-based cream on the affected areas. Do this for about six to eight weeks. You could try a few sessions of diamond and phenol peels.
Q: I have small white nodules near my nose. They look like pimples, but they don't go unless I pop them. What is the best way to get rid of them? Sidra Zeeshan, Karachi
A: You might have milia. Milia are keratin cysts that occur due to the blockage of sweat glands. They look like whiteheads but are harder. Milia have to be extracted if they do not resolve on their own. Do not try to extract them on your own, as it may cause scarring. The extraction is a simple safe procedure and can be done at any skin clinic.
Q: I have a normal-to-oily skin type, but I have these dry light patches on my face. What can they be? Javeria, Karachi
A: You may be developing pityriasis alba. There is no specific known cause for this, but it is common in those who have sensitive skin. The condition may aggravate with sun exposure and lack of vitamin A in your diet. You could apply a cream containing 1 per cent hydrocortisone on the white patches at bedtime to take care of the pigmentation. It is essential that you wear a sunscreen with SPF 30 during the day. Also include vitamin A-rich foods like carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, milk, margarine, eggs and fortified breakfast cereals in your diet.
Q: I'm in my mid-30s and my skin has started to become lax. What can I do to make it firm again? Huma Asif, Islamabad
A: As we age, the collagen and elastin fibres in the skin begin to degenerate and become loose. This causes laxity and sagging of skin. Non-surgical skin tightening can be done using radiofrequency energy or infrared laser. The deeper layers of the skin are heated without burning the skin. This results in the production of new collagen and tightening of old collagen, causing a tightening effect on the skin. It is a safe and pain-free treatment. You can resume normal work immediately after the treatment, as there are no tell-tale signs. As a rule, avoid smoking and sun exposure, as these are the main factors responsible for skin sagging at a younger age.
Q: My husband wants me to have short and funky haircuts. But I know they won't look nice on me. We fight about this a lot. What should I do? Sadia Hameed, Karachi
A: There is software that shows you different hairstyles on your face and how each cut would look on you. Let him take a look and the take a call. Perhaps you can find one that is mutually agreeable. Hair grows back, so do it once to make him happy and the matter ends there. Perhaps you might love it too. If the look is a disaster, you can always use hair extensions till your hair grow out.