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More Skin Questions
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Expert Dermatologist

Q. Hello-I recently had mild bout with shingles. It was only on my left forearm, I caught it early and took famvir for one week, and the blisters scabbed over promptly in that week and shed off.

I am 24 years old and I have very fair skin (although I am 100% Italian), never burn in the sun, I only tan lightly and wear SPF 30 whenever in the sun. The shingles have left me with one large brownish blotch about 1.5" wide, 5" long on the underside of my forearm, and then speckles out from there.

Today my doctor told me that this is called hyper pigmentation and happens sometimes after shingles and may stay for months, or even years. Is there anything I can do?? There is no issue except its unattractiveness. Thank you for your time.

Answer: Yes, many times post-inflammatory hyper pigmentation can be effectively treated with fade creams. Both prescription and over-the-counter creams are available.

OTC, I can recommend something like Porcelana. If no improvement is evident after a couple of months I would see your dermatologist for a prescription version.

While Mother Nature over time will help fade the spots these creams will help to speed up the process.

Q. I want to go to college to become a dermatologist, but I don't know what I should be majoring in. Some people have told me to lean toward the sciences, and others toward mathematics. And if so, any particular sciences?

I know Dermatology is what I want to do, but I'm not sure how to get there. Hopefully you can be of some help. Thank you

Answer: Your major is not really the issue. You need to take the proper courses to fill the "pre-med requirements" which you have to complete to take the MCAT's and apply to medical school.

Some believe that majoring in a non-science areas like philosophy or history vs., the traditional science majors like biology or chemistry makes you look more well rounded.

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Dr. Monique S. Cohn

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