As a kid I had a skin allergy with my skin becoming dry and constantly itchy. Although I don’t have the condition now, I find that parts of my face have dark patches.

Dark patches appear due to an overstimulation of melanocytes. Acute inflammatory phase of atopic dermatitis can damage the skin’s microvasculature (small capillaries) causing intradermal minute bleeds. This can lead to the deposition of hemosiderin – a pigment driven by red blood cells and hemoglobin. Repeated episodes of vigorous scratching of inflamed areas of skin, over long periods of time, can also create skin thickening on affected areas. This thickened skin surface looks darkish in colour and together with other pigment alterations discussed earlier, make the skin look darker. Thus, your dark skin patches could be a result of a cumulative effect of all factors described above. The treatment of your skin complaints will be tricky. This will be due to the reason that most of the skin lightening treatments usually consist of skin exfoliating agents like retinoic acid in combination with skin bleaching agents like hydroquinone or azelaic acid. Similarly, frequent application of suitably selected “water in oil” thick emollients will also play a positive role during and even after the successful completion of your treatment. Finally, avoid excessive sun exposure.

I’ve been finding pimples on my scalp these days. Is it serious? How do I treat it?

A scalp complaint is most likely folliculitis, an inflammation at the opening of a hair follicle. Folliculitis can be bacterial, fungal, ectoparasitic or sterile (without any infection) in nature. Most types of folliculitis of the scalp can be treated through courses of oral antibiotics and topical antibacterial preparations. The duration of such treatment can vary from a few weeks to even months. In general, the resistant cases of scalp folliculitis respond quite successfully to medication. In certain cases, folliculitic eruptions of the scalp could be a result of repeated frictional trauma to the hair follicle, for example, vigorous scratching due to eczemas or response to severe itching by extreme psychological stress. Similar folliculitic lesions can also be seen in people using certain hair dyes. Head lice infestation can also cause the condition. Consult an experienced dermatologist who can determine the type of folliculitis and can treat you accordingly.