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International Academy of Cosmetic Dermatology

SELF-MEDICATION

Not a good idea!  Until it is possible to consult a dermatologist, there are some dos and don’ts.

  1. While there are infections of the skin, such as folliculitis, impetigo, and secondarily infected dermatitides (eczema), not every skin condition has a bacterial infection.  Don’t scrub the skin with soap.  It will irritate the skin.
  2. Dermatitic skin (eczematized) is injured.  Don’t rub it with alcohol or hydrogen peroxide (H2 O2).  These are irritants and often will aggravate the skin condition.
  3. If there is itching, do take a bath with colloidal oatmeal (Aveeno®) or cornstarch.  This will offer relief for several hours.
  4. Don’t panic.  Applying a topical sensitizer, such as a dephylhydramine preparation, may create an allergic reaction.
  5. Lotions and creams may lubricate skin that is scaling – scaling and dryness are two different conditions; however, there is the possibility of creating folliculitis.  Don’t apply them to everything.
  6. Fungal infections of the skin do occur, but everything on the skin is not due to a dermatophyte (ringworm).  Don’t apply an antifungal cream without reason.
  7. There are bacterial infections of the skin, but not every skin condition is a bacterial infection.  Don’t apply an antibacterial ointment without reason.
  8. Aunt Mabel has a wonderful recipe for chocolate cake.  Unless she took a residency in dermatology, she may not know about treating skin disease.  Don’t take her advice without checking.
  9. A skin condition may be eliminated quite quickly.  Do consult a dermatologist, instead of procrastinating.

Marcia Ramos-e-Silva, MD, PhD
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Lawrence Charles Parish, MD, MD (Hon)
Philadelphia, PA, USA

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