Doctors in Dubai / Dermatology / Dermatology Basics

Dermatology Basics


Non-dermatology physicians jokingly ask if there is anything new in dermatology, or do you still treat everything by, “If it’s wet make it dry. If it’s dry make it wet. When in doubt prescribe a corticosteroid cream.” Patients could do a lot worse than following those basic tenants. The question is how to follow those general therapies.

To make something that is wet become dry, generally you want to use “wet-to-dry” compresses To do that use a saline soaked gauze or clean wash cloth to first put on the weeping area, then remove it and let it air dry.

More commonly the problem is to make a dry area wet. Dry skin is a very common problem. Atopic dermatitis, also called eczema, is one of the most common skin conditions. The first think to do if you have dry skin is to avoid anything that removes the normal body oils. Avoid soaps as much as possible, especially deodorant soaps. Also avoid contact with detergents and solvents which dissolve and remove normal skin oils. Next add emollient lotions and creams to hold the normal skin moisture in the skin, and to add moisture. A trick that can be helpful for people who have dry skin all over is to take a not-too-hot shower without soap to bathe, then before drying off use mineral oil or baby oil to the wet skin. Then towel dry gently. This will allow a thin, non-greasy film of oil on the skin and keep the moisture of the shower in the skin throughout the day.

Last use the strongest off-the-shelf hydrocortisone ointment available. In the US this is 1% hydrocortisone ointment. Ointment is less drying than cream as a vehicle for corticosteroid topical medication.

Now you know as much dermatology as many non-primary care, non-dermatology physicians.

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