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Skin Hair and Nails

Hives Definition

Hives, also known as uticaria, is a medical condition marked by the appearance of pale red itchy swellings on the skin. There are two types of hives, acute hives lasting for less than 6 weeks and chronic hives lasting for more than 6 weeks. An allergic reactions following certain food or drug intake is one of the main reasons of acute hives, whereas in most cases of chronic hives the cause remains unknown. Sometimes the skin rash is also accompanied by angioedema, swelling under the skin, and anaphylactic shock which is a potential fatal complication.  Mild hives usually does not require any treatment other than oral antihistamines but severe cases require hospital admission.


What are freckles?

Freckles are circular multiple brown spots usually seen in people with fair complexion. These spots are usually about the size of a pinhead and often occurs as multiple spots localized to one part of the face, or sometimes through the face and upper body. Although the cheeks are most commonly affected, freckles can occur on any part of the body and in particular the areas which are exposed to sun. The shoulders, upper chest and back and arms are also commonly affected. Freckles are not a rash but occur due to clustering of melanin (skin pigments) on the skin. They are harmless (apart from cosmetic problem) and do not become cancerous. Treatment options include retinoids, bleaching creams, chemical peels and laser treatments.


What is dandruff?

Dandruff (seborrheic dermatitis) is a chronic skin condition characterized by itching and increased flaking (shedding of dead skin cells) from the scalp. Although seborrheic dermatitis can affect the skin on any part of the body, it is only known as dandruff when it occurs on the scalp. In babies, seborrheic dermatitis on the scalp is known as cradle cap. Dandruff is a common skin problem affecting people of any age group, sex or race. Most cases of dandruff can be easily managed with regular use of shampoo (non medicated and medicated). Complications are rare apart from the social embarrassment associated with the condition.