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28 May 2017Last updated
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Ask the expert: my skin is patchy and scaly

Your first complaint of skin dryness and appearance of scaly patches are suggestive of atopic dermatitis

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir
11 Apr 2016 | 03:17 pm

I’m a 33-year-old woman. I’ve been threading the hair on my upper lip, but I now find my skin is getting dark, scaly and patchy. Please help.

Your first complaint of skin dryness and appearance of scaly patches are suggestive of atopic dermatitis, commonly known as eczema. If these patches are neither reddish/inflamed nor itchy, then I believe frequent application of bland emollients like white soft paraffin (petroleum jelly) mixed with liquid paraffin in equal proportions should prove effective in dealing with the problem. For the more active patches, if they remain non-responsive, apply a topical steroidal ointment, such as Diprosalic, twice daily for 5-6 days. I usually discourage long-term usage of these steroidal preparations unless absolutely necessary.

Excessive hair growth on the upper lip and chin could be either hereditary or due to an underlying hormonal abnormality most common of which is polycystic ovary syndrome. Get thoroughly investigated and blood tests and pelvic ultrasound done to rule this out.

Threading can often irritate and inflame sensitive skin and cause skin discolouration.

To treat the kind of patches you’re referring to, avoid threading it. Laser hair removal can be a relatively better option. To treat the discoloured patches, consult an experienced dermatologist who could professionally assess and prescribe a suitable treatment.

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Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir

is a specialist dermatologist and founder and president of Dermacare Skin Health Services.