Eczema is one of the most common skin problems. In a series of Q&A*, with host Ursula from Eczema Support Group Singapore, Dr Koh addresses how people with eczema-prone skin should take care of their skin to prevent flare-ups. Catch part 1 of the series here!
Be Eczema-wise! Find out all about managing eczema-prone skin with QV and Dr. Koh (Consultant Dermatologist at Gleneagles Hospital).
Each episode features commonly-asked questions from the Eczema Support Group Singapore members. Follow us to be notified for all 10 episodes!
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Dr Koh Hong Yi will be LIVE on Lazada 9pm tonight (Singapore time) to talk about Eczema and how to take care of Eczema-prone skin! Together will be Ms Ursula Soh, founder of Eczema Support Group Singapore. Always had questions on eczema for a dermatologist, but never had the chance to ask? Now is your chance to get them answered Live! Remember to tune in!
On 4th August, Dr Koh Hong Yi delivered a webinar on Optimizing Management Strategies in Atopic Dermatitis. The talk was attended by more than 500 doctors (including dermatologists, paediatricians and GPs) from Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. In the session, Dr Koh covered topics ranging from the essentials of good skin care, food allergy and dust mite allergy.
The main focus of the webinar was on adopting a Pro-Active approach to atopic dermatitis (atopic eczema). Most treatments adopt a Reactive approach – patients apply topical medicines only when eczema flares. Latest research shows that even in normal looking skin in atopic eczema, there is low-level inflammation brewing underneath the surface of the skin. If this is not treated, eczema flares easily with minor triggers. A Pro-Active approach targets this low level inflammation, delaying the time to the next flare up, giving patients more days of non-itchy skin and a better quality of life. Pro-Active treatment is safe, easy to follow, and proven to be effective in clinical trials.
The webinar ended with an engaging Q&A session. Many doctors were interested in how a proactive approach can improve the care of their patients with eczema. Dr Koh thanks the Dermatological Society of Singapore and Leo Pharma for facilitating this educational event.
In an earlier article, we wrote about the types of skin rashes that Covid-19 cause.
The effects of prolonged wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) on the skin are equally relevant. We read about healthcare workers in Wuhan, China, and Europe wearing PPE continuously for a whole shift, because every change of PPE carries a risk of exposure to the virus and uses up precious protective equipment. When the skin is exposed to high temperatures and humidity for a long time, the upper most layer of the skin called stratum corneum becomes weakened. This can lead to breaks in the skin, resulting in pain and even ulcers. Imagine having to work in a stressful environment in continuous pain! A studyon healthcare workers found that 97% reported skin problems with PPE.
The same type of skin problems can occur in the non-healthcare setting, as more people started wearing masks continuously whether at work or outside. In an interview with Singapore’s mainstream Chinese newspaper, 联合早报, on 12th May 2020, our consultant Dr Koh Hong Yi lists the types of skin problems one may encounter with face masks:
Acne mechanica – worsening of acne due to prolonged occlusion of hair follicles.
Maceration and erosions – from humidity, pressure and rubbing from mask straps or wire strip at the nose bridge.
Contact dermatitis (eczema) – either from irritation or allergic reaction to mask fabric.
Dermographic urticaria – hives or wheals in people who are prone to hives from rubbing against the mask.
Dr Koh recommends the following skin care tips:
Avoid wearing a mask for prolonged periods if possible. If you need to, stay in a cool environment to reduce sweating.
Apply a light moisturiser to the face, so that it doesn’t clog your pores but also will not affect the seal of your mask.
Where the mask rubs against the skin (eg. on the nose bridge where the wire strip is, or on the cheeks against the straps), you can put a thin layer of protective dressing such as DuoDERM(r) Extra Thin on the nose or cheek.
Treat any underlying skin problems such as acne, eczema or urticaria (hives) so they don’t flare up with mask wearing.
For more details, read the full article in 联合早报here.
Dr Koh Hong Yi was interviewed by LianHe Zaobao (the mainstream Chinese newspaper in Singapore) on 9th March 2020, for his views on skin care in the midst of Covid-19 pandemic. He has seen more patients presenting with hand eczema (dermatitis) due to increased frequency of hand washing or use of hand sanitizers. This is more common in patients who already have sensitive skin.
Dr Koh provided some hand care tips:
Wash your hands as frequently as needed, but do not go overboard or rub aggressively.
Choose a mild non-alkaline hand cleanser with moisturisers. Do not use dish-soap or hot water.
Dry your skin completely after washing, especially between the fingers.
Apply moisturisers to the hands frequently throughout the day.
When using hand sanitizers, select those with added moisturisers. If one has sensitive skin, avoid sanitizers with added fragrance which may cause allergy.
Dr Koh shared that our normal skin is actually slightly acidic, so a non-alkaline soap or cleanser is better for our skin. Most hand sanitizers contain alcohol, but one should not use alcohol to wash hands, or wash our hands with water immediately after applying alcohol-based hand sanitizer as this will irritate the skin.
He also advised patients with hand dermatitis to see their GP or Dermatologist, as the inflamed skin actually harbours more bacteria, and micro-breaks in the skin will allow germs to enter.