‘The Skin of Color’

Dr Ana Maria

By Santhosh Muthalath — Dr Ana Maria loves the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives by enhancing the health appearance of their skin. She is of the view that there is a lot of science in dermatology combined with some measure of art. Dermatology, sometimes referred as “the young daughter of medicine”, is so much more than a skin game. Dr Ana is a Dermatologist at the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital who co-edited the second edition of the award-winning Dermatology textbook “Taylor and Kelly’s Dermatology for Skin of Color”.
This volume is an update of the complete textbook of dermatologic science and practice focusing on the care of patients with pigmented skin, originally written by Paul Kelly and Susan Taylor. The book mainly focuses on patient care for moderate to heavily pigmented skin. It contains chapters by distinguished authors that focus on special populations, most particularly Africans, Arabs, Asians, Native Americans and people in various stages of life such as geriatric, pregnant, paediatric and adolescent patients. The volume also covers cosmetology, folk remedies and over the counter treatment chapters with a variety of more than 900 full-coloured photographs. The book offers an ample comprehensive coverage in surgical, medical and cosmetic treatment. It will certainly supplement deep understanding in different beliefs, cultural habits, practices and usage of alternative medicines by the patients of diverse backgrounds.
Dr Ana, was born in Cuba where she finished her medical education. She has been living in Oman for the past 25 years and has obtained Omani nationality. Dr Ana says that she is indebted to her co-author Prof Arthur Paul Kelly, a graduate of Brown University and Howard University College of Medicine, who was a leader and professor in Dermatology field and gave emphasis on treatment of Skin of Color. For 35 years, he had served as Chief in Division of Dermatology, King/Drew Medical Center, and Clinical Professor of Dermatology at UCLA, in  the United States. He had trained over a 100 Dermatology residents while working as a prolific writer, speaker, researcher and lecturer in Skin of Color. During the last five years of his life, Prof Kelly was a Fulbright scholar and a Scholar-in Residence with his Epidemiology and Genetics Keloid research project at the College of Medicine & Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University.
884481Her  association with Prof Kelly eventually morphed into a dynamic partnership working on the “Epidemiology and Genetics of Keloids” research and in national and international levels. “I was invited and encouraged to become a co-editor of the 2nd edition due to my experience, dedication, and academic interest in Skin of Color, along with my highly-esteemed colleagues, Dr Susan C Taylor, main editor and Dr Henry Lim, both internationally recognised giants in Dermatology field. I am very much honoured to take this opportunity of sharing with Prof Kelly as a friend, colleague, researcher, and co-editor of this textbook. Prof Paul Kelly, unfortunately passed away in Muscat in May 2014 due to complications of Parkinson Disease”, she added.
Dr Ana has been practicing as a professional dermatologist for more than 22 years.  Her first tenure in Oman was in the Dermatology Department at Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah, followed by in Al Nahdha Hospital, Muscat and from 2008 till date in Sultan Qaboos University Hospital. She also served as General Secretary of Oman Dermatology Society and actively involved in various associations, society and board like Oman Medical Association, Skin of Color Society, and Oman Medical Specialty Board (OMSB).
On asking about one of the common skin diseases in Oman, Dr Ana mentioned Atopic Dermatitis (AD) or Eczema within the paediatric age group. “Atopic Dermatitis (AD) is one of the most common chronic inflammatory, relapsing and itchy childhood dermatosis that affects approximately 5-20 per cent of children worldwide and with an increasing worldwide prevalence. Genetic, environmental, and cultural factors are more probably the contributors to differences in the prevalence of AD in skin of colour populations compared with lighter-skinned individuals of European descent”, she said.  AD is a mild to severely itchy skin disorder with a huge social and psychological distressing impact till the levels of affecting the quality of life of patients and patient’s family.
“From medical point of view, children with Atopic Dermatitis are advised to avoid spending long time shower and hot water bath; rather bathing should be limited to less than 5 minutes with warm or lukewarm water. Limiting the usage of soap and avoiding harsh soaps and detergents may also help to control the symptoms. The patients should avoid vigorous scrubbing; and use cotton clothes instead of polyester or nylon fabrics”, Dr Ana said.