More youths with skin conditions such as acne and dermatitis are seeking professional help. The National Skin Centre (NSC) saw an increase from 1,338 to 1,440 dermatitis cases among 13 to 19 year-old youths in 2016 and 2017. Similarly, there was an increase in acne patients last year as compared to 2016.
The statistic was announced before the World Skin Health Day. In Singapore, a public forum is organised by the Dermatological Society of Singapore to covered common skin problems such as eczemas, psoriasis and hives to increase awareness.
Dr Yew Yik Weng, NUS Medicine alumnus and consultant at the National Skin Centre’s eczema clinic commented that the increase may be attributed to more people seeking help, rather than an increase in people having skin problems. He said, “Perhaps in the past, people dismissed it as part of a growing phase and waited for it to pass. But now, I speak to teenagers and their parents who are more concerned. Some teenagers even independently seek help without going through their parents."
A teenage patient of Dr Yew who suffered from eczema since he was born found it difficult for people to understand him and get questions from friends asking if his skin problem will spread. When he was young, he would try to hide the affected parts of his skin but soon realised that this skin problem is not unique to him only. Knowing that he was not alone had made him less uncertain about himself.
Dr Tee Shang-Ian, also an alumnus of NUS Medicine and a specialist at Hives at NSC agreed that one’s state of mind and their skin health are correlated.
Dr Colin Theng, NUS Medicine alumnus and treasurer of the Dermatological Society of Singapore, said that there is a lack of awareness about skin health and skin diseases in Singapore.“We hope to educate the public and equip and empower them with the knowledge and skills to take the steps towards better care of their skin. Many skin diseases can be prevented with better care of our skin."