By Tambudzai Gomo
Human beings have become efficient at identifying key indicators that nature provides us with. For instance, we understand that when a piece of fruit is shrivelling, moulding or no longer firm, it is spoilt. Equally, our bodies are designed to provide us with warning signs. However, we tend to undervalue useful external health indicators such as skin, hair and nails.
The skin is considered to be the largest organ you have. It is a significant organ as it can provide invaluable information on the overall internal health of the individual. Dermatology is a specialized medical field that deals with the study, diagnosis and treatment of skin, hair and nails. In addition, dermatologists are trained to prevent disease and equipped for surgical intervention.
Dr Tsveru Munhutu is a highly skilled dermatologist practicing in Harare, with a passion for dermatology, underpinned by a commitment to equip her patients with a deeper understanding of their skin, hair and nails. At first, Dr. Munhutu wanted to be an obstetrician-gynaecologist as she was passionate about women’s health. However, during one of her final internal medicine ward rotations in the USA, she came across a patient who influenced her thinking.
The patient had been admitted to hospital due to a bacterial infection but her skin exam was completely new and unbelievable to Dr. Munhutu. The patient had very tense skin due to a condition known as eosinophilic fasciitis. She was treated with strong immunosuppressive drugs, leading to an infection.
Managing and curing skin disorders
While researching the condition, Dr. Munhutu became hooked on dermatology! Since then, she finds it gratifying to impact someone’s self-esteem, improving her patients’ quality of life by managing or curing skin disorders. It’s important to her given the social stigma often attached to skin disease.
Dr. Munhutu’s practice is a welcome addition to the medical community as another alternative to the limited specialized services in the country. Her practice provides aesthetic, medical and surgical dermatology services. She conducts skin cancer screening and treats diverse skin disorders including acne, eczema, dermatitis and pigment issues. Cosmetic services ranging from Botox to chemical peels are also on offer.
When is it appropriate to visit a dermatologist? Dr. Munhutu emphasizes that we should have regular check-ups with a dermatologist to monitor the vital signs of our skin, hair and nails, just as we do with GPs. Outside of regular check-ups, it’s advisable to set an appointment if:
You notice a negative change in the condition of your skin, hair or nails.
You have a lesion (e.g. wound, abscess) or a growth that is new or bleeding.
You have acne, blemishes, a rash, eczema or pigmentation issues.
You would like to maintain texture and evenness of skin.
A final word of advice from Dr. Munhutu is that skin health is important! Seeing a qualified skin doctor is an essential part of taking care of yourself. Often, skin problems are thought to be suitable for a beautician to treat. While these professionals do wonderful work, the canvases they are working on must be healthy. So if you have acne, for instance, it is in your best interest to arrange a medical evaluation before going for those types of beauty services. Healthy skin will respond to those services much better than skin that is unhealthy at baseline.
For more dermatology tips, catch Dr. Munhutu on Star FM’s Skin Deep on Fridays, 10:30am.
Written by Tambudzayi Gomo, Internationally Certified Leadership Coach, Facilitator, Speaker & Founder of Bluestocking Brilliance.