I spend a large part of my day preaching the message of moderating your exposure to the sun. The subject of sunscreen factors heavily into that message.
Is your scalp itchy? Is it dry and flaky yet still paradoxically greasy? Do you shed a blizzard of flakes? Redness and tenderness to the scalp got you down? You very well may have dandruff or seborrheic dermatitis as dermatologist like to call it.
So why do some people get dandruff? The cause of dandruff is believed to be a complicated interaction between naturally occurring yeast, your skin oil, and the resultant inflammation. For unclear reasons, the yeast finds the composition of some individuals’ scalp oil to be delicious. The digestion of these oils generates fatty acids that penetrate the skin and stir up inflammation (hence the redness and flaking). It is not an infection of yeast per se, but a poorly understood reaction to your skin’s natural inhabitants.
Nobody likes skin tags and unsightly moles. Most of us are not Marilyn Monroe or Cindy Crawford and cannot make our moles sexy. Patients often seek out a dermatologist to have these growths removed.
Skin tags are those little pesky things that crop up around the neck, arm pits and groin areas. Patients call them tags, tabs, doodads, warts, thingies and barnacles. And moles come in all shapes and sizes, from hairy, black and red to just ugly. People sometimes affectionately give their moles pet names. Some mention that “Auntie Nell had a mole exactly in the same place” before adding, “I didn’t like Auntie Nell.”
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.
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 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.
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 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.