Photo shows a skin problem

Dr. Willie T. Ong

Here are four common skin problems and home remedies for each:


A boil is an ugly-looking reddish skin infection. Boils can occur all over the body but most frequently occur in areas with hair. Boils are caused by the bacteria, Staphylococcus, which penetrates inside our skin because of a tiny wound (like an insect bite).

Because of this infection, our body’s white blood cells pool together to fight this infection. That’s why a boil starts as a firm reddish nodule and slowly softens until it bursts to secrete yellowish pus. If you poke or puncture a boil, it can sometimes leave you with an unsightly scar. Nevertheless, most boils can be safely treated at home.

Boils usually affect the following individuals: (1) obese people, (2) people with chronic illness, (3) the elderly, (4) hairy people, and (5) those with diabetes.

            Here’s how you treat a boil:

  • Apply warm compress for ten minutes twice a day. You can use a clean hot towel. The heat will cause the boil to form a head (become pointed), and drain faster.
  • Apply alcohol or povidone iodine for at least ten minutes on the boil three times a day. This antiseptic will treat the boil from the outside and avoid further infecting the boil.
  • For large and multiple boils, you may need to take an antibiotic for seven days (either Amoxicillin or Cloxacillin 500 mg capsules, taken three times a day).

To prevent getting a boil, take a bath daily. Make sure your homes are clean and insect-free. Sometimes, a boil starts as an insect bite.

If the boil is located on the face area, it would be better to consult a doctor. The front part of the face is a dangerous area where pus could possibly leak inside the brain. Those with diabetes, the very young and the very old also need to see a doctor.


Teenagers and women tend to get more pimples because of hormonal fluctuations. Genetics, stress, sunbathing and use of oral contraceptive pills may also predispose you to get pimples.

Here are some tips to help prevent pimples. For ladies, check your make-up. Make sure it’s not greasy or oil-based. Frequent washing of the face with soap and water will also lessen oiliness. The lesser make-up you use, the better. Although it’s still controversial, I think there is no harm in avoiding oily foods.

Wash your hair at night. When you sleep with dirty hair, the dirt can get smudged on your pillow and face, thus giving you a pimple in the morning.

Learn about the “T” zone of your face. This “T” comprises the oily areas of our face, which includes the top part of our eyebrows down to the nose area.

One simple home remedy for pimples is to clean it with 70% rubbing alcohol every day. Use a cotton bud soaked in alcohol and dab it on the pimple. Alcohol is particularly good at getting rid of budding pimples. As soon as you notice a new pimple, apply alcohol two times a day.

Take note: Don’t prick a pimple because this can cause further infection and form a scar. Let it subside naturally. You may want to try the natural Oatmeal face mask explained below.

There are of course more intensive treatment for pimples like a face wash and antibiotics. Consult your doctor for hard-to-treat pimples.

Dark Skin

Filipinos have darker skin because they have more melanin on their skin. It’s a genetic trait. The best prevention tip is to simply avoid the sun. Don’t go out from 10 AM to 4 PM and avoid going to the beach and sunbathing.

Use a sunblock especially those with SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 and higher. Choose sunblocks with UV-A and UV-B protection against skin cancer.

According to Dr. Katty Go-Estrada, a dermatologist, there is a simple rule when you have a skin rash. Don’t scratch, don’t pick and don’t rub your skin. Even if it’s itchy, don’t scratch. Apply ice or cold compress if you like. Remember, any skin area you rub too often will darken and harden. Just compare the skin of your elbows to other parts of your body.

One home remedy for dark elbows and underarms is to apply calamansi or lemon (mixed with more water) on the skin. After four to six weeks, the skin will lighten up a bit.

Lastly, if you are thinking of taking glutathione capsules, consult your dermatologist first and have your liver function checked.


According to Dr. Coyle Connolly, there are two causes of skin aging. The first is genetic, which we can’t do anything about. The second cause is photoaging, which is due to the detrimental effects of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. To delay photoaging, let’s follow these tips:

First, avoid the sun, Use an umbrella, bring a hat and wear sunglasses and long sleeves. Avoid the ravages of weather such as wind, dust and smoke.

Unhealthy habits like cigarette smoking and drinking alcohol can also make you age faster. Smokers have twice more wrinkles than non-smokers and their skins have a thicker and yellow-orange tinge. This is because of the lack of oxygen circulating in the face.

Eat more foods known to promote beautiful skin, which include avocados, cottage cheese, watermelon, tomatoes, vegetables, oily fish (like sardines, tilapia and salmon) and green tea. Drink enough water to keep your skin supple and firm.

Stress and lack of sleep also adds to wrinkles. And so does an angry face. Get into the habit of applying a moisturizer before you sleep. Lastly, it’s best to sleep on your back, to avoid pressing on your face.

Oatmeal Face Mask:

For those who want a natural and effective facial treatment, try the time-tested oatmeal face mask. This beauty regimen has been used as far back as 2,000 B.C in Egypt, by the likes of Cleopatra.

In fact, oatmeal has been approved by the U.S. FDA as a remedy for dry skin and eczema. It can also help those with blackheads and pimples.

Here are the ingredients: one-fourth cup instant oatmeal, three tablespoons of honey, and two tablespoons of water.

Crush the oatmeal finely using a grinder or an osterizer. Add honey and water to make a pasty mixture. It’s optional but you can microwave the solution for around ten seconds.

Apply the oatmeal mixture on the face. Make sure that your face is clean first and without make-up. Use a brush or spoon to spread the oatmeal on your face, just avoiding the eyes. Let it stay on for 10 to 20 minutes.

Afterwards, wash your face with lukewarm water and pat your face dry. Now, look in the mirror, and presto, you’ve got soft and radiant skin.

How does the oatmeal mask work? Oatmeal actually has three components: (1) polysaccharides to repair the skin, (2) oat protein to moisturize the skin, and (3) saponin to remove dirt and dead cells on the skin (called exfoliation). The honey also helps because of its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Try it and see for yourself.

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