Are you in an embarrassing medical situation and don’t know where to turn to? Health For Mzansi is proud to bring you “Sisters without shame,” a new podcast that seeks to demystify awkward issues often swept under the mat.
Your health is not shameful nor humiliating, says Noluthando Ngcakani, the head of news at Health For Mzansi. Every week, she and fellow journalist Sinesipho Tom will be joined by an expert who will unpack the do’s and don’ts of uncomfortable health matters.
What to expect on episode 1
This week, “Sisters without shame” deals with a letter from a 22-year-old “friend in crisis” who has suffered with dark discolouration around her neck, arm pits and inner thighs since she was in her teens.
Professor Carol Hlela, a dermatologist from the Ingress Medical Centre in Cape Town, suspects that the distressed Kimberley resident could be suffering from either acanthosis nigricans or confluent and reticulated papillomatosis (CARP). These are two of the leading causes of hyperpigmentation of the skin.
“Acanthosis nigricans is a darkening and thickening of the skin that feels thick and velvety. It is most frequent in the back of the neck, side of the neck, and armpits. The causes of this skin condition can be typically found in people who struggle to process insulin,” says Hlela.
Hlela, who hails from KwaMashu in KwaZulu-Natal, is one of only two specialist paediatric dermatologists in the country and is the head of the dermatology department in the paediatric unit at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.
Self-diagnosis is the enemy
If you suspect that you may be suffering from CARP and acanthosis nigricans your best bet would be to seek proper diagnosis and treatment from an expert.
“I would discourage any form of home remedies for pigmentation because you may end up damaging the skin all the more and you may end up causing irreversible damage than if you had consulted a doctor,” says Hlela.
No matter the colour of your skin, never underestimate the value of a good sunscreen, urges Hlela.
“We are under the impression that being highly melanated exempts us from skin cancer. The sun may rarely give us skin cancer, but it does cause pigmentation.”
Hlela further explains that a good moisturiser does not cost an arm and a leg.
“Good, hydrated skin goes a long way. You don’t have to use expensive products. You just need to find that one face wash that seems to do the trick for your skin. Vaseline or glycerine keeps skin hydrated,” she says.
Want to connect with “Sisters without shame”? To send an SOS to the “Sisters Without Shame,” you can email, hello@healthformzansi. Alternatively, you can send a WhatsApp to 076 132 0454.
How to listen to Sisters Without Shame
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