A Few Words of Wisdom

Skin and Hair Problems


Acne, or pimples, is a complaint that affects many people. It's most common in teenagers but can occur at any age. Most cases are mild and can be treated at home. In very bad cases, early diagnosis and treatment by your doctor will minimise the distress it causes and reduce the risk of permanent scarring.

Signs and Symptoms

  • •  Painful raised red spots that may be pus-filled.
  • •  Painless raised white or black spots (white-heads/blackheads).
  • •  Spots usually on the face, but also on the scalp, neck, back and upper chest

Home Treatment

Following some simple guidelines will reduce the severity of acne and the risk of scarring.
  • •  Clean your skin with a mild medicated soap or soap-free cleanser (without alcohol).
  • •  Don't squeeze, pick or prick spots, as this can cause scarring.
  • •  If you use cosmetics, choose water-based not oil-based products.
  • •  Apply anti-acne cream.

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is a common skin problem caused by a fungal infection that can affect anyone. It can be easily treated without seeing your doctor.

Signs and Symptoms

  • •  Sore, itchy and broken skin between the toes and on the sole of the foot.
  • •  Bleeding when scratching the foot.
  • •  Smelly feet.


  • •  Wash your feet at least once a day, or more often if they are dirty.
  • •  Dry thoroughly, especially between the toes.
  • •  Wear clean wool or cotton socks.
  • •  Never wear trainers without socks on.
  • •  Avoid walking around barefoot on soil or damp floors
  • •  When possible expose your feet to the air and wear sandals without socks.


Lice are tiny parasitic insects that can live on the hairy parts of the body, where they suck blood from the skin. They prefer clean people. Head lice are very common amongst children and all lice are easily passed between people, so parents, teachers and grandparents often catch them. Lice are generally harmless, and can be treated at home.

Signs and Symptoms

  • •  Itchiness, constant scratching.
  • •  Redness or rash on the skin
  • •  White specks (the nits or eggs) attached to the hair shafts.

Lice usually affect the scalp (head lice), body (body lice) and public areas (crab lice). Crab lice can also infect the eyebrows.


Don't share hats, scarves and combs with someone who has lice. If one family member has lice, check and treat everyone together to prevent being reinfected. Also, disinfect combs, brushes etc. by soaking them in antiseptic solutions. Wash all towels, clothes, bedding etc. in hot soapy water and use a hot iron to kill nits. Have hats, caps, jackets etc. dry cleaned.