All about skin care with Dr Amala Kamat

Cosmetic dermatologist, Dr Amala Kamat was the guest on the Navhind Times, Talk from the Heart show that aired live on the Goa 365 channel on Sunday, July 12. Several topics were covered in the half hour show that ranged from common maladies to tips for overcoming various ailments.

Infection, Kamat said is the most common condition that patients complain of. “When I first started practicing in Goa, fungal infections were not as common as they are today. However in the last 5 to 10 years fungal infections have exploded to epidemic proportions,” she stated. She attributed the alarming rise to humidity, living in close proximity and passing the infection to others, wearing damp or not properly washed clothes and also personal hygiene. “Another reason probably for it getting out of hand is the triple and quadruple combination creams in the market which contain various ingredients and usually one of them is a steroid. Though the cream contains an anti-fungal drug, there is also a steroid,” she explained. Elaborating further, she said that the steroid stops the itching and the area seems to clear up and people are very relieved as they are under the false belief that they are better but after a few days the infection reappears as it hasn’t been dealt with at all. For a faster and complete treatment, she recommended visiting a dermatologist (not just a general practitioner), and not buying over the counter medicine. Giving an important tip, she said it is imperative especially in this season to wear completely dry and thoroughly washed clothes and added, “I would take it a step further and suggest ironing your clothes.

With regards to acne, she said that appropriate care has to be taken from the very beginning. “It is a wrong thing that parents tell their teenagers not to worry about their acne, as it would go away once they grow older,” she stated. She pointed out the various problems that arise due to this neglect and ingesting or applying over the counter medication; right from the condition getting prolonged or worse, to marks and scars that are disfiguring. She then spoke about pigmentation in adults, namely melasma and gave the several causes and treatment for it.

Answering a query regarding excessive facial hair, she said laser treatment is one of the solutions that can help and explained about facial hirsuitism and laser treatment. “Hormonal imbalance is one of the causes for this hair growth and there are 2 or 3 types of laser treatments that can be done. It all depends on the area and intensity of growth.” She also informed about the cost of the laser treatment which she said could be rather steep.

A huge myth that she debunked was the use of application of oil on the scalp. “Honestly oil does not have any role to play. It is not a fertilizer like we use for crops and see a better growth. Oil is a kind of conditioner that gives lustre to hair. If hair is frayed then the oil helps to smoothen it out. This makes it more manageable and helps in reducing breakage when combing,” she said. Asked if there was any particular type of oil she recommended, she answered, “I haven’t used oil for years. In fact the last time I used oil was when I was in school and had long hair.” She reiterated the role of oil as a conditioner and said that the best way to use it is when hair is damp. “Not just damp but only on the hair shafts and not on the roots. This allows the hair to retain moisture,” she added.

With regards to a query about corns, she said, it was firstly important to ascertain if it is a corn or a wart. For corns, besides corn-caps she recommended a liquid that comprises salicylic acid and lactic acid. However she added that if the corn were to still persist, then surgery would be the next option.

It was an informative talk and Kamat answered as many queries as time permitted.

Look out for the next talk, which is slated in the near future.