If you have dry and itchy skin due to various forms of dermatitis, relieving the itch can be a challenge while scratching makes it worse - but you are not alone.
About 20% of his patients suffer from chronic itch condition, according to Dr Tey Hong Liang, senior consultant dermatologist from the National Skin Centre (NSC) in Singapore.
“It is a huge problem.
“Many of my patients said they would rather tolerate pain over itch. Some even expressed suicidal intentions, while one told me that he would rather be diagnosed with HIV instead.
“The itch is just maddening as it can affect patients' social life, sleep and work, turning their lives upside down altogether, ” he said.
Based on records by NSC, one in three patients who patronised the hospital suffers from severe itch and dry skin condition.
The Itch Clinic
The statistics and the social and emotional stress that his patients are going through gave the impetus to Dr Tey to do something.
While undertaking his fellowship, he came across an itch clinic in Europe and was determined to set one up in Singapore.
In 2011, Dr Tey started the Itch Clinic at the NSC, which acts as a tertiary referral point for patients with intractable itch of all etiologies.
He explained, “At that point of time, even the most basic mild itch in patients did not have a safe and effective topical cream for treatment.
“Patients with rashes and itch will usually be given topical steroids, while those who have just itch issues will be advised to moisturise the skin more to prevent dryness. But this isn’t going to solve the problem.
“I felt the need to do something for my patients to address this common but significant problem that is stressing them.
“When they come to the Itch Clinic, we understand more about their skin condition and apply a different approach to treat the patient individually.”
Rapid itch relieving formula
Also determined to provide a safe and effective solution for his patients, Dr Tey created a new formulation.
The formula is a combination of natural itch relieving ingredients and the cooling power of menthol, with a high concentration of a ceramide-based moisturiser that restores the natural skin barrier. The menthol works within minutes to relieve the itch, while its cooling effect also encourages frequent application, which is essential to allow the ceramides to repair the skin barrier.
“The formulation is able to control the symptoms and address the underlying cause to prevent the recurrence of itch in the long run. While it relieves itch, it also helps to heal the skin barrier at the same time. With frequent application, it can prevent the next episode of itch from happening, ” explained Dr Tey.
The formulation, in the form of a lotion, was initially created for his patients but due to positive feedback, other doctors and medical centres started to acquire it for their patients. Within a year, 25,000 jars were sold. That was when Dr Tey decided to make the product available to everyone.
In partnership with Good Pharma Dermatology, Dr Tey commercialised the unique formulation into Suu Balm.
Today, Suu Balm features a range of products from cleansers to moisturisers and scalp treatment to help people get relief from itch and protect their skin. There is also the Suu Balm Kids, catered to the young ones.
“We are continuously doing studies and research to create more products to help relieve itch on targeted areas, ” said Dr Tey, adding that the Suu Balm Kids formulation is also suitable for relieving symptoms from the groin area where skin is more sensitive. In the pipeline, there will be a gentle antiseptic wash to protect hands from drying out due to washing.
"With more than one million products sold globally, Suu Balm offers a wide range of products to help replenish skin’s moisture while maintaining skin’s moisture balance, ” shared Dr Tey.
All Suu Balm and Suu Balm Kids products are certified halal and are available in any Watsons stores, Caring Pharmacy or independent pharmacies nationwide.
Enjoy 15% off any Suu Balm product with the promo code suubalmstar upon checking out at www.suubalm.com.my.