Father’s Day: Growing Up with My Father’s Psoriasis

Dr. Peter Ch'ng (Consultant Dermatologist)

Psoriasis Father’s Day dermatologist

Dr Peter Ch’ng lives in Malaysia, and is a practicing dermatologist at Gleneagles Kuala Lumpur. He found his calling because his father’s condition made him realise that psoriasis is not just a skin-deep problem.

A Son's Point of View

I first noticed that my father’s skin was different when I was five years old. He had flaky skin mainly around his elbows, his legs, and sometimes even on his chest. No one else had skin like this. It felt rough; sometimes there was cracking and bleeding.

On hot Malaysian days, my father wore long sleeves and pants to cover his skin. As time passed, I got de-sensitised to seeing him this way. His skin did not bother me except when he left trails of dead skin behind, especially on sofas or car seats.

I didn’t know what he had was psoriasis until much later. My parents informed me that it was a skin condition. I remember feeling sad when my father was admitted to the hospital several times; my mom had to take care of us kids and brought us to visit with him often.

Living with My Father’s Treatments

My father was on several medications, mainly creams and ointments. He had to apply ointment all over affected skin areas, which were quite large. Then he would sleep in a separate room because the ointment smelled and stained all beddings and pillows he slept on.

The worst experience was when he had to apply coal tar all over his body. The stench was so powerful it filled the entire house; there was no escaping black and viscous stains everywhere. My father had to leave the coal tar on for two hours, and he would lie down wrapped in a man’s sarong to try to keep the sheets clean1.

Father's day Psoriasis Hospital
Coal tar psoriasis treatment

My Father, My Inspiration My

My father inspired me to be a dermatologist. Growing up side-by-side with his trials and tribulations, I often wished I could do something more to help. I felt strongly that there should have been the right treatment to cure or treat this disease.

I learned the hard way that psoriasis is more than just a skin disease. It comes with other co-morbidities, such as higher cardiovascular risk and higher mortality. In addition, there is a genetic element to psoriasis: a third of patients have a family member with the disease 2.

Knowing that I could develop psoriasis like my father, I am mentally prepared for it. I am just glad that I was born into a time when effective treatments to control psoriasis are readily-available. It is my utmost desire to see psoriasis become a thing of the past, so that no one should suffer because of it.

A Dermatologist’s Message for Father’s Day

As a son of a psoriasis sufferer, and a Dermatologist, I would like to give all psoriasis patients and their families and friends the following message:

  1. Be supportive! Psoriasis is not a contagious condition. You can share the same pool, eat on the same table, and shake hands with a psoriasis patient. 35% of psoriasis sufferers had been discriminated on at work, refused services, and asked to leave commercial premises3.
  2. Be mindful! Psoriasis sufferers face constant stares and judgements from people who do not understand the disease. 88% of psoriasis patients feel self-conscious or ashamed when they’re being active4! Be courteous and be kind; they just want to be treated like everyone else.
  3. Be thankful! Always appreciate what you have, instead of taking things for granted. Psoriasis affects people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and ages. Always seek professional help if you notice any changes to your skin.
MyPsoriasis Malaysia Dr Peter Ch’ng and his father
psoriasis dermatologist father’s day]

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Dr. Peter Ch’ng Wee Beng

Dr Ch’ng obtained his specialty training from the Royal College of Physicians in London. Subsequently, he obtained his Advanced Masters in Dermatology from the National University of Malaysia. He was previously the Head of Dermatology of the State of Pahang and Hospital Sungai Buloh.

His call to dermatology started way before he even contemplated doing medicine. His father suffered from severe psoriasis, and was in and out of hospital a lot in the late 1970s. His father’s condition made him see that skin disease is not just an aesthetic problem, as it can cause the patient and the entire family so much grief. His practice today reaffirms his belief, with many patients expressing deep relief and gratitude after their treatment.

Place of Practice

FB: @peterchngskinspecialist

Articles by Dr. Peter Ch’ng
Dr. Ch'ng Chin Chwen

Dr. Ch'ng is a NSR registered consultant dermatologist. She graduated as a gold medalist from Univeristy Malaya in 2006. She obtained Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physician of the United Kingdom in 2010 and joined dermatology team in University Malaya in the same year. She completed Advanced Master in Dermatology (UKM) in 2014 and a visiting fellowship in Cutaneous Laser Surgery in Mahidol University (Thailand) in 2017. Her special interest include acne, psoriasis, urticaria, contact dermatitis/eczema and procedural dermatology.

Dr. Ch'ng started her instagram account @cccskindoc providing free skin care tips and education to public. She believes everyone deserves up-to-date and accurate information on skin care to embrace the skin that he or she is in.

Place of Practice

IG: @cccskindoc

Articles by Dr. Ch'ng Chin Chwen
Dr. Khor Yek Huan

Dr Khor graduated from National University of Malaysia (UKM), Kuala Lumpur in 2002. He obtained his Internal Medicine specialty training from the Royal College of Physicians of London in 2007 and further subspecialized in Dermatology by obtaining his Advanced Master in Dermatology from UKM in 2013. Dr Khor served as the Head of Dermatology service for Perlis from 2013 to 2015 before transferring back to Penang. Currently, he is the Deputy Head of Department of Dermatology in Hospital Pulau Pinang. He is also a visiting consultant dermatologist at KPJ Penang Specialist Hospital and Northern Skin Specialist Clinic.

Dr Khor is active in academic activities, performing as an honorary lecturer for Allianze University College of Medical Sciences and Penang Medical College. He is active in research as well with the publication of original papers in dermatological journals and serves as a reviewer for Malaysian Journal of Dermatology. His dedication to the profession earned him Excellent Service Award from the Ministry of Health in 2009 and 2017.

Place of Practice

Email: nssc.penang@gmail.com

Articles by Dr. Khor Yek Huan
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