I get interesting questions every week, but recently a question included a great photo. A women I’ll call Tracy (she asked that her identity stayed private) asked me for a recommendation for dry, red flaking skin around her eyes. She had already tried washing with baby shampoo and applied both vasaline and Gold Bond and nothing seemed to help. To get the best answer I went to New York dermatologist, Dr Albert Lefkovits to take a look.While its not really possible to make an absolute diagnosis from a photo, Dr L came back with an impressive comment
The online diagnosis? Not simple dry skin, but Contact dermatitis, caused by something Tracy was using in her personal care. Most likely culprit was nail polish or a shampoo with ingredients that her skin found unfriendly. Tracy did not want to use steroid cream, so the good doctor suggested that she wash the skin with Cetaphil and apply a room temperature compress made of equal parts of water and milk. The lactic acid inthe milk will gently lift the flaky skin and reduce inflammation. She was to use the compresses for 3-5 minutes, 3X a day.
Dr Lefkovits said that its also important for Tracy to try to identify what is causing her problems. She should stop using her regular skin and hair care products for a few days and then re- introduce them one at a time. If the flakiness continues, Tracy needed to go to a dermatologist for a closer look– and a prescription for a mild steroid cream.
Tract found that the dry skin patches was spreading and decided to see a doctor in her community. She confirmed that it was dermatitis and prescribed – wait for it- a mild steroid cream. In addition, Tracy was told to apply Aquaphor at night over the steroid. In a few days it cleared up. She still hasn’t figured out what caused the problem, but she’s glad it’s under control and she has an effective remedy if it returns. The take away here is that not all dry skin problems are the same.
Do you have a skin or hair problem that refuses to go away? Send me a photo and I’ll try to get some answers for you. When it comes to beauty, the truth is out there.