I have realized that one of the strongest unhealthy habit we have been plagued by as a nation is that of buying medicines over the counter! Right from head ache to groin itch to fairness medication, the common opinion is that "the chemist" alone is supreme. Or is it that deep down in our upbringing we have mistaken the chemist to be an "alchemist" !! Dear Mr chemist, no hard feelings, but its high time you refrain from prescribing, mostly so that we go by the basic principle of a health professional - "primum non nocere" - do no harm to any patient! I wish to mention a few common instances where over the counter medications go awry in dermatology. 

1. Crotch itch /groin itch /itch in private areas /fungal infection - why does one shy away from mentioning this to a doc and find it easier to tell this to the chemist and buy a toxic cocktail cream! Many of the so called "over the counter" creams for the above complaint contain steroids. This steroid doesn't cure the infection and just makes you feel good. Over time, the fungus becomes resistant and infection becomes tougher to treat. And what finally happens - you end up spending more than a grand on stronger anti-fungal medication for something that was primarily easily and economically treatable. 

2. Pimples /acne/ pimple marks/Fairness - "Use this p**d**m cream and all your acne should vanish! I am using it for the last 2 weeks and can't you see my skin glow and grow fair?!" - so said your friendly next door neighbor. And, alas the sad saga starts - you buy this cream from your friendly neighborhood superhero alchemist - and soak your skin with it. Yes, it feels good coz it has a steroid and your pimples will vanish too. So may your skin look lighter and brighter; but this is quite short-lived andyou realize you cannot stop using this cream even though you want to. Coz the minute you do so, your skin hurts, there's a herd of acne that's waiting to erupt and girls end up with a new gift- facial hair !!

So - simple advice - before buying anything and everything over the counter - think twice!!! Time to reflect on adopting this healthy resolution for the new year.