Vita Dermatology Blog

Albinos In East Africa

It is 2014 isn’t it? One would like to believe some degree of pragmatism and scientific thought has woven its way into the world by now right? Don’t get your hopes up too high. Allow me to tell you about life as an albino in east Africa.

Albinism is a genetic skin condition in which individuals are born without the ability to make pigment. The skin is extremely pale and the eyes tend to be a soft blue or pinkish hue. This predisposes albinos to early skin cancers and a lifetime of poor eyesight since neither the skin nor the eyes are shielded by normal pigment. Life as an albino is tough enough as it is. Now imagine you are a native African albino, standing out glaringly white against your family and community of dark skinned people.

Both psoriasis and eczema (or atopic dermatitis) cause red, scaly skin rashes and can occur on the same parts of the body which is why sometimes people confuse one for the other. They do have somewhat different symptoms so a dermatologist is the best person to diagnose which skin condition it is and how to treat it. Here are some of the characteristics of psoriasis and eczema and how to tell the difference between the two:

Tattoos, Piercings, and now... Sensory Augmentation?

I am guessing that this topic does not pertain to many of you. But human beings do some interesting things to their skin and I wanted to share this with my readers.

Modifying the human body has become faddish the past several decades. I have seen innumerable piercings in every imaginable surface and orifice. Implants of rings, bars, pearls, and bones abound. And tattoos, well they are so pedestrian these days it is uncommon to see someone without ink.

Molluscum Skin Disease

Molluscum isn't dangerous, but it's inconvenient for parents.

“A pox upon your house!” cried a dying Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. ( I know it’s actually “a plague upon your house” but somewhere along the line we started saying “pox.”)

The highly contagious nature of pox viruses has been known for centuries. Smallpox ranks as one of the most formidable killers in history. And other pox viruses, like monkeypox and chickenpox, are no laughing matter despite their humorous names.

Large Breasts And Sweat Issues

Big breasts and summer sometimes do not mix well in the North State. I am not talking about falling out of your bikini at Shasta Lake either. I’m talking about boob sweat. Boob sweat may sound funny to some, but enough women seek medical advise on it for me to write this article. Embarrassing as armpit stains can be to both sexes, boob sweat carries the added insult of rashes, irritation and yeast overgrowth. One of my patients laments that her “melons become watermelons” in June.

Sunscreen Isn't Full-Proof Sun Protection

Sunscreen gets the bulk of our attention when it comes to sun protection. I wear sunscreen and I recommend you do as well. However as the old saying goes: “to err is human”. Most of us are simply inept at using our sunscreens. We don’t put it on thick enough. We sweat it off. We forget. We sometimes don’t care. The reasons we fail are endless. And so with summer right around the bend, I would like for you to consider your hats and how much they do, or don’t, offer you protection.

What’s the Nit-Picking Problem?

Another child and distraught mother materialized right at closing time this week. “He cannot go back to school until it is treated!" the tired working mother bemoaned. Head lice are the scourge of grade schools everywhere, from the ritziest private schools on down. And they are not going anywhere anytime soon. While harmless to the kid, adults go berserk—casting glances of judgment upon the family and banning the child from school and social events. Parents take it particularly hard and are start harboring deep feelings of guilt and question how hygienic their homes and housekeeping skills really are.