See your dermatologist, not your beautician! | Daily News

See your dermatologist, not your beautician!

Nowadays a lot of fake skin care products, beauty products etc. circulate in the market for very low prices. Unfortunately still a lot of people, especially women go and see a beautician when they should seek medical treatment from a Consultant Dermatologist. Making the wrong decisions can be costly to the people’s health. The following are excerpts from an interview conducted with a reputed Consultant Dermatologist attached to the Colombo National Hospital (NHSL) Dr. Janaka Akarawita (MBBS. MD – Dermatology) on common skin problems, how we should seek medical treatment, when and from whom.

Q: What are the most common skin diseases in our country at the moment?

A: The commonest skin disease is skin inflammation or dermatitis. Dermatitis includes a wide group of diseases on the skin. One easy to understand example is contact dermatitis or contact allergy where skin reacts to a substance from an external environment. But Dermatitis can develop due to many other factors.
For example Atopic Eczema or Atopic Dermatitis is associated with other hypersensitivity diseases like hay fever and asthma in children. Another example is Seborrhoeic Dermatitis in which itchy rash occurs over the more oily areas of the body.

Q: How should a person understand that he or she is having a skin disease that needs medical treatment?

A: If there is a colour or texture change on skin, if there is a growth, ulcer, vesicle on the skin, if somebody develops symptoms like persistent and troublesome itching, pain, scaling or oozing on the skin then should seek medical advice.
He can meet the general practitioner/ family doctor or OPD doctor and get an opinion/treatment first.

Q: How can we identify infectious and non infectious skin diseases?

A: That depends on the exact diagnosis of the condition. Only the diseases caused by bacteria, viruses and fungi are infectious to others. The best way is to meet a doctor and get advice. There are many skin diseases which are not contagious to others. For example, vitiligo, Psoriasis etc. We should not neglect or put the people with these diseases aside or corner them thinking the disease can spread to others. That will give them enormous mental suffering leading to depression. In this situation we have to be understanding and help them.

Q: How can we decide whether to see a dermatologist or a beautician for a skin problem?

A: If you think there is a skin disease, always meet a doctor. First get the opinion of the family doctor/ the general practitioner or visit the OPD doctor of a hospital. They will advise you, if you should be seen by a dermatologist. When you need to get beautification done on your skin, hair or nails visit a beautician.

Q: How can we take care of our skin?

A: You need to lead a healthy lifestyle. Adequate sleep and a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables in adequate amounts are basic things for a healthy life and a healthy skin. Daily bathing is recommended for around twenty minutes. Scrubbing during bathing is a bad habit which can lead to discolouration of skin in the long term. A person with normal skin can use soap, liquid body washes and shampoos to clean skin and scalp. If you have dry skin, apply a suitable moisturizer after bath or as needed. Attend to any skin disease early so that you can avoid long term complications. If you have normal skin, and if beautification is really needed go for standard and recommended products.

Q: What is the impact of using low quality or irrelevant skin care products for longer periods?

A: They may cause adverse effects such as acne, skin thinning, pigmentation etc.


Dermatologists Vs. Beauty experts

One of the key distinctions between a medical dermatologist and a cosmetic dermatologist is their different goals. A cosmetic dermatologist works to give you smooth, younger-looking, and attractive skin. Meanwhile, a medical dermatologist aims to cure your ailments and improve your skin’s health.

Medical Dermatology focuses on addressing medical conditions affecting the health and appearance of skin in patients. While cosmetic dermatologists put the spotlight on ‘desire,’ medical dermatologists target the ‘disease’ aspect of dermatology and solely treat skin ailments to reduce health risks.

Dermatologists are physicians who specialize in treating skin, hair, nails, and mucus membranes. Cosmetologists are not physicians. They specialize in haircutting, hairstyling, and other beauty services.

Dermatologists are health professionals who work at hospitals and clinics. Beauty experts are not health professionals and they work at salons and spas. It is possible for Consultant dermatologists to act as beauticians when required but beauticians cannot act as dermatologists.

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