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Health: Fact vs Fiction - Skin deep

Skin deep

Time to get under your skin. In this episode, Dr Sharon Wong, consultant dermatologist at HCA UK’s London Bridge Hospital helps Anna Richardson understand how to keep the largest organ in our body, not only pampered, but healthy too.   

 

Along the way they’ll be busting myths, including whether SP50 factor sun cream is enough to protect us from skin cancer, if women can be affected by common baldness and why hairs sprout unexpectedly in the strangest places?

 

Joining them will be TV star Denise Van Outen on her experiences with eczema, what that is and how the common condition can be calmed and smoothed.

 

Listen to Health: Fact vs Fiction - Skin deep on Apple podcasts now.

Listen to Health: Fact vs Fiction - Skin deep on Google podcasts now.

Listen now

Sharon Wong

Dr Sharon Wong

Dr Sharon Wong is a GMC registered, UK trained Consultant Dermatologist. She provides medical and surgical treatments for a comprehensive range of general skin conditions and is one of a few dermatologists in London who specialises in treating hair and scalp disorders.

 

Sharon studied medicine and undertook an intercalated BSc degree in Clinical Genetics at St George’s Hospital in London, achieving first class honours in both and obtained numerous undergraduate prizes. She completed higher speciality training in Dermatology in some of London’s most prestigious hospitals including Bart’s Health NHS Trust and The Royal Free Hospital, during which she developed a special interest in hair and scalp disorders.

 

Sharon is a member of the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD), the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) and the British Hair and Nail Society (BHNS). She is also a spokesperson for the British Skin Foundation (BSF) and is a medical advisor for the Cicatricial Alopecia Research Foundation. In September 2017 Dr Wong helped to set the world record in delivering the largest hair education lesson as part of her involvement in the first World Afro Day. She subsequently founded Get Ahead of Hair Loss in 2018, a public awareness and educational event on hair loss which brought together patients with experts in the fields of medicine, trichology, hair dressing, scalp micropigmentation and cosmetic camouflage.

Denise van Outen

Denise van Outen

Denise is a television presenter and actress who has enjoyed huge success on screen and stage since her first break in 1996 as the presenter of Channel 4's hit show, The Big Breakfast.

 

Since then Denise has had starring stage roles in Chicago (West End and Broadway), Tell Me on a Sunday (West End), Legally Blonde (West End), Rent (West End) and her one woman show, Some Girl I Used to Know (West End).

 

In addition to the stage, Denise has had roles in films Tube Tales (1999), Love, Honor and Obey (2000) and the hugely successful sitcom, Babes in the Wood. Most recently, Denise landed herself a role on EastEnders as part of the show’s 30th Anniversary celebrations.

 

Denise has been on the judging panel for BBC1’s Any Dream Will Do, I’d Do Anything (2007-2008), ITV’s talent show Born To Shine and reached the final of BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing in December 2012 and Ireland’s Got Talent (2018).

 

Whilst pregnant with her now eight-year-old daughter Betsy, Denise designed and launched her own maternity clothing range with Very. She has also written a book about her experiences of pregnancy called Bumpalicious, and a follow up Adventures of Parenthood in May 2012. 

Our location

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

Things we learn in this episode

Tanning

Sharon tells us there is no such thing as a safe tan. And sunbeds are an absolute no-no.

Fiction

A sun cream that says “SPF 50” is enough to protect your skin from cancer.

SPF covers UVB rays but not UVA. So, when you’re shopping for a lotion, Sharon says look not only has an SPF rating but also a UVA rating of either 4 or 5 stars. Also, make sure you apply it every couple of hours; more if you go in the water.

Acne

Adult acne is becoming a hugely common issue. It’s triggered by multiple factors including stress, changes in hormones and also diet - for example, highly refined sugars can exacerbate acne.

Fact

You really shouldn’t squeeze your spots. Sorry, everyone.

If you’re trying to pop your spots when they are deep under the skin, Sharon says you could be deepening the level of trauma to your skin and possibly introducing infection.

Anti-ageing

Fact

Applying sunscreen every day will help push back the onset of your skin ageing. The sun is the biggest ageing factor on your skin - even on a cloudy day.

As for other anti-ageing solutions, do they work? Sharon says we should ignore the marketing and look at the ingredients in the cream. Sharon also busts the myths around natural oils, like olive oil, helping your skin - it can actually make some skin conditions worse. 

Eczema

Fact

One in five children and one in twelve adults will have eczema.

TV presenter and actress, Denise Van Outen, talks about how she’s lived with the skin condition since being a child and what she believes the triggers are for her. She also talks about how eczema has affected her eight-year-old daughter since she was a baby.  

 

Sharon tells us that moisturising is the key to controlling eczema: a good moisturiser, regularly applied, can reduce the frequency of flare-ups.

Skin cancer

Fact

You need to check your skin for changes every three months.

Sharon advises us to use the A, B, C, D, E method of checking the moles on your skin. Moles don’t need to be accompanied by physical symptoms for them to turn nasty, so don’t forget to check your back and the backs of your legs too.

Hair

Fiction

Common balding only happens to men. 

In fact, the most common cause of hair loss for both men and women is genetic. If it’s in your genes, Sharon says female pattern hair loss tends to start happening between the ages of 40 and 50, but can appear as early as the 20’s in some women.

Fact

Stress and trauma can make your hair fall out.

Sharon says emotional stress and hormonal fluctuations - for example, pregnancy and menopause - can cause an upset in the growth cycle of our hair follicles.  However, it can be normal for a person to shed between 50 and 100 hairs a day.

What to do next

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