Q&A session with Dr. Fazeela Abbasi- Dermatologist.

Dr Fazeela Abbasi, MD is a well known Dermatologist. She is a game changer in anti aging treatments and recognized for her artistically performed Botox & filler procedures coining the term ‘DFA signature liquid face sculpting.’


Question: People love holistic home remedies for treating different ailments of the skin (from mild acne to severe burns) thinking it has no side effects. To what extent is this practice right and dangerous?


Home remedies are often touted as safe to use due to their being herbal in nature and being full of beauty benefits. Even so, people at times have complained of skin allergies, pimples, boils, rashes & burns on their skin after using so called safe and natural home remedies.

Photosensitivity is a process in which UV light combines with a particular substance and causes a chemical reaction in the skin. For e.g., some essential oils contain furocoumarins that can cause photo sensitization of skin. Photosensitivity means that the skin starts showing following:




Brown spots/ Freckles

Skin burns

Most commonly used citrus essential oils are lemon, lime, oranges, tangerine, grape fruit, lemongrass.

People are mixing lemon juice concoctions and applying on to the skin. Almost all have made skin lightning masks or acne treatments at some point in their lives. This can lead to a serious photosensitivity reaction resulting in skin burns.

Perfumes/Itar contain so called natural safe oils. But some oils like Bergamot oil can cause severe skin burns leading to permanent skin discolorations— Berloque Dermatitis.

Numerous occupations are associated with risk of developing reactions e.g forest workers, gardeners etc. When skin comes in contact with plants, skin can show symptoms ranging from:

Itching—- redness—- skin burns/blisters—- permanent skin darkening.

Common plants being culprits:




Wild dill


Bergamot Oranges



St. John’s Wort is used for dealing with anxiety, fluid retention, weight loss, hemorrhoids. Unfortunately it too can cause a severe photosensitivity reaction.

Food allergies are also common, with the following causing the most common allergies:






Another popular home remedy is the use of Onion juice for hair loss. In some cases it can cause a severe allergic reaction.

People can die of anaphylactic shock /severe allergic reaction to pollens, nuts, honey, bee stings.

In some cultures, newborns are given honey. It should be avoided as it can cause severe allergic reaction.

Ubtan and Henna are used on important occasions and the most common perception is that they are absolutely side effect free. This is not true as skin allergic reactions can happen with these so called safe herbal products.

To prevent such negative effects from occurring through herbal remedies, it is crucial that you consult your dermatologist. Additionally, do a patch test before applying these so called safe herbal products over your skin. It can be behind ear or on inner side of forearm. After using herbal home remedies, avoid contact with direct sunlight for at least a day afterwards.