May 29, 2009
Q I have been troubled over my acne problems for years and have decided to see a determologist. Are there any problems related to the long-term consumption of antibiotics?
A Here is some advice from Dr Patrina Wong, medical aesthetic director of LinC Aesthetic Clinic.
Oral antibiotics used to treat acne include erythromycin, tetracycline, oxytetracycline, doxycycline and minocycline.
Temporary side effects from these can include mild nausea and diarrhoea. Very rarely, there may be serious side effects such as allergic reactions, like swelling of the lips.
As a precaution, do not use tetracycline if you are pregnant. It can harm the unborn baby, including permanent discolouration of his teeth later in life. It can also make birth control pills less effective, so use an additional form of birth control when taking tetracycline.
Tetracycline also passes into breastmilk and may affect bone and tooth development in a nursing baby. If you are breastfeeding, do not take it without informing your doctor.
It can also make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and may result in sunburn, so avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (used in sun lamps or tanning beds).
Also steer clear of iron supplements, multi-vitamins, calcium supplements, antacids and/or laxatives two hours before and after taking this medication, as these can make it less effective. Throw away expired tetracycline because taking it can result in complications which may lead to kidney damage.
Topical antibiotics, which are applied rather than consumed, are relatively free of the side effects common to oral ones.
Besides antibiotics, laser procedures, hormone treatments, topical bactericidals and retinoids (both oral and topical) are also options, but these come with possible side effects too.
The bottom line: Your dermatologist will advise you on the best course of medication after an accurate diagnosis and will also help you manage any side effects. Be prepared to set aside around $200 to $400 a month for acne treatment of around three to six months.
Q I use ordinary hangers to hang my clothes after washing and I notice that the ends of the hanger always make my T-shirts protrude at the shoulder areas. Is there a better way of hanging T-shirts or a special kind of hanger for T-shirts?
A It's nice that you want to give the humble T-shirt such tender loving care. We consulted Yasuhiro Hayashi, division manager of Uniqlo, which has a T-shirt line called UT, for the best ways to pamper your tees.
First, wash your T-shirts inside out to protect any prints. Hand-wash them if you want to keep them in tip-top shape.
Then, instead of hanging your wet T-shirts on hangers, line-dry them on a laundry line or a trusty bamboo pole. Wider hangers that do not end at the shirt's shoulder portions may also do the trick.
Depending on the T-shirt material, you may even need to lay it flat while drying instead of hanging it up. This takes longer but will definitely not make the shoulder areas protrude. Check your garment's care label to make sure you are washing and drying it in the appropriate way.
Other than that - unless you happen to be buying really expensive T-shirts - I recommend not pampering your T-shirts too much.
I know lots of tees come pre-faded these days to look like vintage garments, but there is nothing quite like wearing a brand new T-shirt till it is a little frayed and faded. That is when it starts to feel like a second skin.