Skin Tags

Ever wonder what those bits of soft growth are on your neck or even eyelids? Here are the facts What are skin tags? Also known as acrochorda, skin tags are small, benign growths attached to the underlying skin by a thin stalk, and typically appear on the neck, armpits and groin – areas where clothing rubs against the skin or where there is a lot of skin-to-skin friction. They can also be found on the eyelids and under the breasts in women. Skin tags appear more often with age, and they are common among people over 40. They also tend to be seen among those who are overweight and may be associated with diseases such as diabetes. Skin tags also commonly occur during pregnancy – this is believed to be caused by hormonal changes. Do they cause problems? They are harmless and generally may be left alone. However, skin tags can become irritated and infected if they are constantly rubbed or get repeatedly caught in clothing. In these situations, it is advised to have them removed. As they are also not pleasant to look at, they can be removed for cosmetic reasons. Are skin tags the same as warts? No, they are different, although they can sometimes be misdiagnosed as warts. Warts are infectious skin lesions caused by a virus and can spread if untreated. Warts tend to have a rougher and more irregular surface, whereas skin tags tend to be smooth and soft. What are the treatment options? Skin tags are easily removed through a minor surgical procedure under topical or local anaesthesia. They are usually snipped off or cauterised. While surgery can remove the skin tag completely, the treated skin can be a bit red and scabbed for about 10 days after the procedure. In some instances, cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen can be used. Topical medications are not effective for skin tags. Can skin tags recur? Yes they can, even after removal. It is not totally preventable, although general measures such as maintaining a healthy weight and minimising friction and irritation in locations where skin tags are prone to occur, will help lower the chances of …

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Sun and age spots

Sun spots (solar lentigines, also known as liver spots) are brown spots that typically appear on the most exposed areas of the skin, including the sides of the face, cheeks, forearms and back of the hands. When they first form, they are flat. With time, some of these spots can become raised with a rough texture – these are typically called age spots (seborrheic keratoses). What causes sun or age spots? They are formed due to an increase of melanin, a skin pigment. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sun exposure stimulates an increase in melanin, and excessive melanin can be focused on one particular area, giving rise to the formation of a sun spot. It is important to note that true sun and age spots do not lead to skin cancer; however, skin cancer can sometimes be mistaken for a sun spot. Therefore it is advisable to have your skin screened by a dermatologist if you are concerned about an increasing number of spots. Are there home remedies for them? How do I remove them? Please do not try home remedies, which may be potentially harmful or irritating to the skin. Seek proper medical advice so that a diagnosis can be established. Topical treatments can be useful, including products containing hydroquinone (to lighten spots) and tretinoin (a form of vitamin A to help skin renew itself more quickly). Cryotherapy – freezing with liquid nitrogen – can also be effective in some cases. Tips for prevention Sun and age spots can come back after treatment, so the most important piece of advice is to use a good sunscreen, and to use it regularly. There are various types of sunscreens – these include physical sunblocks that contain zinc and titanium dioxide that reflect UV rays away, as well as chemical sunblocks, which have active ingredients that absorb UV energy and prevent them from damaging the skin. If you are balding, remember to protect the scalp by wearing a hat. Try to time your physical activity to avoid outdoor exposure between 11am and 4pm, when the intensity of UV radiation is the highest, and don’t forget that certain UV rays can also penetrate glass windows and …

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Protect Your Skin

In Singapore, skin cancer is the sixth most common cancer among men and the seventh most common cancer among women There are three main types of skin cancers that dermatologists typically see: basal cell carcinomas (BCC), squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and melanomas. The first two are more common and also classified as nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Basal cell carcinoma is the most common skin cancer. It tends to grow slowly and usually starts as a painless, raised, shiny or pigmented skin bump, or occasionally as an ulcerated area. BCCs usually do not spread to lymph nodes and thus are rarely fatal. Squamous cell carcinoma is more aggressive than BCC. The risk of it spreading to lymph nodes is higher for very large SCCs, and those occurring on the lips or ears. The lesion is often red, crusted and hard to the touch. It grows more rapidly compared to BCCs, and can arise from chronic skin wounds and severe burn scars. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, and it can spread to lymph nodes and organs. It commonly appears as a pigmented, irregular lesion that can develop from a pre-existing mole or on its own. Asian patients, particularly the elderly, are at higher risk of developing acral melanomas on the fingers and feet. A diagnosis is usually confirmed through a skin biopsy, which is done under local anaesthetic. What are the risk factors? Overexposure to the sun – ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the primary culprit. Apply sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher to the face and exposed parts of the body at least 30 minutes before heading out, and reapply every two hours while outdoors People with fairer complexions are at higher risk Immunosuppression – especially those whose immune systems are weakened due to medications or infections How can it be treated? NMSCs are usually curable through surgery, where the skin cancer is cut out. The same applies to melanomas but a larger area of normal skin is removed as well. Depending on the stage of the melanoma, chemotherapy or targeted therapy may be required. As with most cancers, early detection gives you the best chance of recovery. Often, pre-cancerous areas, if detected, can sometimes be treated with non-surgical methods such as freezing with liquid nitrogen or topical therapies. See a doctor if you have: A skin ulcer that is not healing, is painless and has been present for over a month A mole that is getting darker, increasing in size or becoming irregular A raised skin bump or red crusted growth that is increasing in size, particularly on the head and …

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Shingles

Shingles, also known as herpes zoster, is a painful blistering rash that is caused by the varicella-zoster virus. This is the same virus that causes chickenpox, and should not be confused with the herpes simplex virus that leads to cold sores and genital herpes. Once a person has had chickenpox, the virus that triggers it becomes dormant, but remains in certain nerve roots linked to the spinal cord. This virus can be reactivated when a person’s immunity drops, and can then multiply and cause the painful rash to appear.This usually occurs many years after the initial chickenpox episode. Unlike chickenpox, these blisters are usually confined to one or two nerve roots and appear only on one part of the body. It is accompanied by pain, which is often the first symptom and may precede the appearance of the rash by one or two days. The pain can feel like a burn or a bad muscle ache. It can be severe enough to affect sleep. A person’s immunity may be compromised for various reasons: stress, use of medications that may weaken the immune system, or an underlying condition such as cancer. The body’s immunity also tends to decline with age, thus elderly patients run a higher risk of developing shingles. Post-shingles complicationsPatients can develop post-herpetic neuralgia, where they experience pain in the affected area even after the blisters dry up and disappear. It can be very persistent and last for several weeks to months, causing significant distress to the patient. This complication is more likely to occur in older patients, especially those aged 50 or older. In some cases, the area affected can be very sensitive. A simple act of putting on clothes can trigger discomfort and pain. Occasionally, the blisters can become infected with bacteria, and will require treatment with antibiotics. Scarring can also occur. If shingles affects the forehead, there is also a potential for eye complications. It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. 4 ways to treat Shingles• Oral antiviral medications such as acyclovir or valaciclovir, which stop viral reproduction and shorten healing time. Topical antibiotics can be used to treat the areas of broken skin, and painkillers should be given• Saline compresses to help dry up blisters• Medications such as gabapentin can help ease nerve pain for patients with post-herpetic neuralgia• Vaccines are commonly prescribed for those aged 60 years or older, even if they do not recall having chickenpox before. Vaccines have been proven to reduce the occurrence of shingles by more than half, even the incidence of post-herpetic …

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Managing common skin conditions in a tropical climate

Singapore has hot and humid temperatures all year round, and temperatures in the daytime can average 31-32 degrees Celsius, with a relative humidity that can exceed 80%. Tropical conditions such as these can adversely affect the skin, and here are some common conditions which can be affected by the weather and tips on managing them.

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What are Hives and how is it treated?

Hives are an allergic skin reaction causing localized redness, swelling, and itching. It is a reaction of the body’s immune system that causes areas of the skin to swell, itch, and become reddened(wheals).

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Fungal Treatment

Fungal diseases can affect anyone. Mild fungal skin diseases can look like a rash and are very common. Fungal diseases are often caused by fungi that are common in the environment.

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What-to-eat-for-better-skin-

What to eat for better skin?

When it comes to attaining healthy and glowing skin, most people are aware of the need to avoid excessive sun exposure and smoking, as well as the need to moisturise regularly…

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