SKIN CONDITIONS

 

Eczema

 

Eczema is a common skin condition in Singapore. Also known as dermatitis, it refers to inflammation of the skin. It frequently causes red, itchy and scaly skin. There are many types and causes of eczema. We will share briefly about the common types.

Atopic Dermatitis

Atopic, coming from the word atopy, refers to sensitivity. This is the type of eczema that many of us are familiar with. It is caused by a hypersensitive reaction to an allergen, and in Singapore, this is commonly the house dust mite. Those with atopic dermatitis often also have a history of sensitive nose and asthma. Common places affected are the insides of the elbows and knees, neck, hands and feet and the face. The first step of treatment is to avoid the possible allergen and moisturize intensely. Steroid creams can also help calm the inflammation.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

This occurs when the skin is injured by an irritant. Common irritants are water, detergents, acids and alkalis. Those with atopic dermatitis are particularly vulnerable. It is common among those who must often wash their hands at work, such as cleaners and hawkers. Avoidance of the irritant is crucial for resolution of symptoms. We recommend wearing gloves at work. Like atopic dermatitis, frequent moisturizing is also a must, and steroid creams can be a short-term treatment solution.

Seborrheic Dermatitis

This is a common form of eczema that affects areas that are rich in oil glands, such as the face, the scalp and the eyebrows. It is caused by an abnormal reaction of the body towards a usually harmless fungus that lives on the skin. Anti-fungal lotions and steroid creams can be used to treat the symptoms.

 

There are other less common types of eczemas. If you think you might have eczema, come by our clinic for a consult and examination.

Fungal Infections

Fungus can affect almost any part of the body.

 

On the skin, infections from fungus can come in different forms. On the body, one of the more common presentations would be a round, red, itchy and scaly rash. This is known as tinea versicolour, also frequently called a ringworm infection. It is often caused by Trichophytum Rubrum. The first line of treatment is with an anti-fungal cream. In severe cases, oral anti-fungal medications might be required.

 

Fungal infections on the nails are also quite common, particularly the toenails. They present in the form of discoloured, loose and deformed nails. They usually require an anti-fungal nail lotion or oral anti-fungal tablets. Fungal infections can sometimes be stubborn to treat and prone to recurrence.

 

When they occur on the feet, they are colloquially known as Athlete’s Foot (medically known as tinea pedis). It is characterised by an itchy, scaly rash, often on the sole of the foot, or between the toes. It is common among athletes (hence the name) and soldiers. Athlete’s Foot is notoriously contagious and often recurs. It can be spread from contact with wet gym floors, infected towels, shoes and socks. It can also spread to the body and groin, causing ringworms. Athlete’s Foot can be treated with antifungal creams or tablets.

Warts

Warts are a common viral infection caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV). They may take on various appearances, from a flat lesion covered with thick scaly skin, to a cauliflower like appearance. Common sites of infection are the feet, fingers and genitals. These lesions are highly contagious. Wearing shoes in the gym showers and practising safe sex can lessen your chances of being infected with a wart. Obtaining the HPV vaccine may also protect against certain strains of viruses that are responsible for causing warts.

 

Warts can occasionally resolve by themselves. Otherwise, they may also be treated with medicated lotions or be frozen off. If you suspect you might have a wart, let us have a look and we can discuss with you what your options are. 

 

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