Acne series · Skin diseases

Acne Series: What can you do?

Hello !

I am way tooooo late to write this next blog in the acne series…well.. what can I say…Life happened to me, I guess. Also, the picture is not really in sync with the topic of this blogpost but just look at her…she is so beautiful, mostly because she is happy and the flower tiara is a dream…even the flowers feel happy…just take a good look, even you’ll start smiling & so I had to use this picture.

Anyhow, in my last post I had shared some information on the reasons behind acne & today you’ll get to read what YOU can do about it…like, by yourself (yes, you hear it right, I’m not asking you to see the dermatologist yet 🙂 )

When you notice that first pimple trying to raise its ugly head, that’s your clue to start taking extra care of your skin & your lifestyle.

Do’s

  1. Please make it a habit to wash your face at least three times in day. Read how to wash your face
  2. Trim your nails: no matter how much we deny it we all are guilty of knowingly or unknowingly picking at our pimples & long sharp nails make it even worse as there is a high possibility of contamination to other areas of the face as well as a pigmentation.
  3. Drink a lot of water: you have to help your body flush out the toxins plus it helps the skin in self moisturization.
  4. Adapt a healthy lifestyle: sleep on time, sleep at least for 6-7 hours uninterrupted, wake up fresh, eat lots of greens, exercise, meditate & try reducing stress.

 

 

Don’t’s

  1. Do not apply creams/moisturizers on your face: yes you read it right. An oily face or for that matter excess creams on the dry face also aggravate acne. The key is to leave it bare after washing (just for a few days).
  2. Do not wear cream-based makeup: it’ll clog your pores & give rise to comedones that’ll eventually become acne.
  3. Avoid facials/cleanups at the salon: no matter what your therapist says, always remember that acne never clears up by salon procedures.
  4. Avoid dairy: there are many studies that suggest a link between excess dairy consumption & acne. You can have buttermilk instead.
  5. Do not try new cosmetics at this point in time.
  6. Do not keep oil on your scalp overnight.
  7. Please do not try to squeeze that pimple.
  8. Avoid dust & harsh sunlight.
  9. Do not have too many supplements: better to stop them for a few days.
  10. If you are suffering from dandruff kindly get it treated.

 

So, do keep these things in mind while you are battling with acne & if your acne is severe please see an expert also as you might need prescription drugs to clear them out.

Happy skin to you!

 

Photo by Autumn Goodman on Unsplash

 

Acne series · Skin diseases

Acne Series: The Why’s

I feel that about or may be more than 50% of acne related issues can be resolved just by taking those 5 extra minutes and explaining to the patient in a simple language what exactly is acne vulgaris and why is it happening to them. This also is an integral part of the treatment.

In this post I’ll be doing exactly that.

Anyone who has suffered or is suffering from acne knows how difficult it is to put up with it. Many believe that its a natural teenage phenomenon and that it would settle down in a few months,…..years…oh….I would like to burst that bubble though..pimples can be your constant companion even in your adulthood!

I’ll tell you something.. acne is not the problem..its the scars that untreated acne leaves behind ..thats the problem. Think about it!

Why do you get acne?

  1. Genetics : it is very likely for you to get acne in the form of a chronic disorder if your parents also had it. Several studies suggest this & since we can’t really do anything about it lets not get into the details of it.
  2. Seborrhoea : more than usual oily secretion from the sebaceous glands. This happens under the influence of a set of hormones collectively known as androgens.
  3. Presence of comedones: more commonly known as blackheads and whiteheads
  4. Bacteria: there are various bacterias which find shelter at various sites of our body over a period of time and stay there with a mutual consent of that particular part of the body, that is they help in various functions and are called commensals. BUT this particular bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes gets really more than comfortable in the environment created within the follicular ducts in an acne prone skin. It multiplies here and increases the problem all the more.
  5. Environment: I bet you know environment has got to do a lot with many problems being faced by the human body today. Dust,  smoke and pollution, ultraviolet radiation to name a few.
  6. Stress:…stress acne, this term is being solely coined for the people who absolutely have no genetic or hormonal issues, still get acne  and they themselves point out that a pimple pops up whenever they are stressed out… most common stress exam stress.
  7. Lifestyle: you know this one more than anything … excessive smoking, unhealthy eating habits (a separate post on diet & acne coming soon), lack of sleep & proper hydration and the list goes on and on.

I hope this post would have given the reader a fair idea about the why’s of  their acne and you can probably start acting upon a few of these causes yourself until my next post.

Happy skin to you!

Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash

Routine skin care · Uncategorized

Foot care solutions – winter edition

Hey there

I think majority of us do not care for our feet the way we do for the rest of our body. Have you ever realised one thing?  till the time our body functions smoothly we never take notice of simple stuff like the way our fingers work in collaboration with each other to hold something, or the way we can walk slow or faster according to our need.. very fast paced life you know…its not until we get a headache that we realise we have a head…may sound a bit cliche but how true. Ok, philosophy class over..moving on to my expertise.

Winters can be very harsh for your skin and more so for your feet, coz this is the time when the rough skin covering  your heels tends to  becomes all the more dry and cracked. Dry cracked feet are not only uncomfortable but unsightly too. Now, this is not the case with everyone (cracked heels) but since your feet are going to bare the weight of your body for your entire lifetime, its time you give them the very much due respect people.

General  causes of dry, cracked feet?

1.Walking barefoot – friction from walking barefoot for a long time causes the skin of your sole to become thick  & gradually excessive dryness gives way to cracking.

2. Wearing ill fitting shoes or the ones that don’t support your heels.

3. Not moisturising your feet regularly

Medical causes:

  1. Diabetes : results in certain problems with the blood circulation and nerve damage eventually leading to dry skin & cracked heels
  2. Psoriasis- a condition where in there is excessive build up of skin cells resulting in dry & itchy patches.
  3. Atopic dermatitis- a type of dry skin condition (basically the skin is hyperresponsive to practically anything & everything which its immune system does’nt like)
  4. Keratoderma- abnormal thickening of skin of the palms & /or soles
  5. Hypothyroidism
  6. Aging
  7. Obesity

How to prevent dry, cracked feet:

  1. Footwear: don’t think much, always wear shoes in which you feel super comfortable. Ill fitting shoe, shoes with  very narrow heels(I am talking about those heels  which are not strong enough to bear your weight…simply not worthy of you!) or open sandals should be avoided. A shoe that provides enough support to your heels is the one you should look for.
  2.  Moisturise: your feet are also part of your beautiful body so please don’t forget them while you slather the rest of your body with the most expensive & delicious smelling creams & moisturisers.
  3. Scrub: it is advisable to use a pumice stone once or twice a week to scrub of the excessive built of skin cells over your soles. Do it while in bath or better still soak your feet in luke warm water for a few minutes followed by gently rubbing pumice stone over the soles.
  4. Pat dry: take a few seconds at least to pat dry your feet properly, in between the toe web spaces too before you apply anything on them.
  5. Silicon heel cups: these are wonderful not only to keep your heels moisturised but also prevents the heel pad from expanding.
  6. Use good foot creams containing urea, lactic acid, white soft paraffin on your feet & cover them with soft loosely fitted socks before going to bed.
  7. People with diabetes should make it a point to always inspect their feet daily so that no skin changes (which have the potential of becoming severe & chronic) go unnoticed.

# Remember to visit your dermatologist if your problem is  more severe

Happy skin to you!

Photo by Erik Odiin on Unsplash

Routine skin care · Uncategorized

Tips for choosing the right facial moisturiser

Hi! I guess i’m just in time with this post as winter’s around the corner. As most of you are aware that its important to moisturise your face & body not only during this season but all the year round so i need not go into details about that but what i’m going to share in this post are a few tips to choose a right moisturiser for your FACE.

I emphasize on the word ‘Face’ here as many people tend to use the moisturisers meant for the body on their face as well! Although I encourage my patients to keep their skin care products to a minimum but as far as moisturisers are concerned you should have separate ones for your face & body.

Body moisturisers tend to be greasier & heavier as they are designed to cover those areas of your body which are less sensitive than your face plus they need to do their heavy duty job to cover larger areas. Application of body moisturisers to your face can lead to clogged pores, acne and at times irritation.

In contrast, facial moisturisers are lighter, non greasy , non comedogenic (won’t clog pores). You need not empty your pockets for high end facial moisturisers as most of the over the counter products just work fine.

So here are a few tips to choose the right facial moisturiser for your  skin type.

  1. For normal to oily skin: Look for non greasy water-based moisturiser. Consider Lactocalamine classic or Neutrogena oil free or Emolene cream. The key is to not use it in excess. Just a pea sized amount is enough for the face & neck.
  2. For acne prone skin: Go for products labelled “non-comedogenic” (they won’t clog pores). Acnemoist cream or Lactocalamine are good options. Although it’s not advisable for people with acne to use too much of moisturiser but because “dryness” is the part of anti-acne treatment, it can be a trouble during winters. Hence follow the less is  more funda here.
  3. If you have sensitive skin always go for something that’s fragrance & oil free, like Sebamed anti-dry cream or Cetaphil moisturiser or Aveeno moisturising lotion.
  4. For dry skin: you have to go for the moisturisers that are oil based, containing glycerine or hyaluronic acid or ceramides. CeraVe facial moisturiser or Venusia max cream or Oil of Olay moisturising cream would work fine.

Having said all of the above, you must always consider the fact that its not necessary that one particular type of moisturiser works for your facial skin always & in all seasons. The response of your skin to the external environment differs according to the season & hence its a better idea to choose your moisturisers accordingly.

And yes, the nicest thing you can do to your skin is apply moisturisers on still damp skin after cleansing, you see, the product absorption is must better & long lasting. Allow it to settle & then only apply any further products if you need to.

Happy Skin to you!

Disclaimer: The views on the above mentioned products are out of my own experience & are not sponsored.

 

 

Routine skin care · Uncategorized

Skin care routine for Newborns.

The other day i have had the opportunity to interact with this wonderful & happy child, whose mother had come to consult me about his skin care. It made me really happy to witness this change wherein an Indian mom is in the dermatologist’s clinic just to know the correct way to care for her baby’s skin, coz generally parents come to visit the dermatologist only if they notice some sort of ailment or abnormality in their newborn’s skin!

So here are the instructions as given to the mom, albeit a little in detail. (primarily focusing on full term babies)

1. Bathing & washing

  • Immediately after delivery, its advisable to wipe the baby with plain, clean water.
  • Defer routine bathing for the first 5-6 hours after birth, to avoid hypothermia (a condition wherein the core body temperature falls below 35 degree Celsius)
  • Bathing frequency should be kept at 2-3 times per weak. In places with warmer temperature, everyday bathing can be done.
  • Keep the bath time short, five minutes is just fine.
  • The water should be boiled & the temperature should be kept as close to body temperature as possible.
  • Mild cleansers or syndets that do not irritate the skin or eyes should be used.
  • Immediately after bath, the baby should be wrapped in a soft cotton towel & dried thoroughly, especially skin creases, groins & underarms.

2. After bath

  • Apply  an appropriate emollient (meant for babies) after bath in order to prevent dryness & flaking. This reminds me about the culture of an oil massage given to newborns before bath, especially in India. It is not only a way to keep the skin barrier function intact but also is beneficial in neuromotor development, weight gain, better sleep-wake pattern & bonding. Its important to choose the oil wisely. Coconut oil, olive oil, safflower oil are some of the good options. Mustard oil should be avoided as it is capable of causing allergic reactions.
  • Well, as far as powders are concerned, better to avoid them in babies, as there are two concerns, one – excessive use of powders can block the sweat ducts & two -starch in the powder if inhaled accidentally can cause irritation.

3. Care of the diaper area

  • This one everyone knows- use of “good quality absorbent disposable napkins.” BUT, you know, still the good old cotton ones are preferrable! Only thing is these days we lack time to wash them throughly in warm water, dry them in sun & iron them before each use.
  • Nappies should be changed frequently as that area is a closed environment suitable for  the growth of microorganisms!
  • Warm water & soft cotton wool must be used to wipe the nappy area.
  • Skin should be dried throughly each time the diaper is changed.
  • At each nappy change, apply a water repellant emollient like vaseline.
  • Always wipe the bottom from front to back to avoid contact of fecal matter with genitals.

4. Scalp 

  • Mild baby shampoo which are fragrance free  should be used in minimum quantity.

5. Umbilicus

  • The umbilical cord dries & falls off on its own generally within 5-10 days after birth, hence one need not apply anything there for helping it fall off. Lets just few things happen naturally.

Well, i think i have summed up the important points. Rest i believe that no one knows the best for a child than her/his own mother, not even Johnson’s, ha ha!

Happy skin to you & your babies!

 

Skin diseases · Uncategorized

Permanent goosebumps: Keratosis Pilaris

Do you have tiny, dry, reddish or whitish small hard bumps on your arms or thighs often giving a sandpapery feel? It is most likely that you are suffering from  a harmless skin condition known as Keratosis Pilaris (KP).

Why does it occur?

It’s an inherited disorder which occurs coz of excess formation & built up of a natural skin protein known as keratin around the individual hair follicle. Now, the poor little hair is trapped in this excess protein debris unable to reach the surface, hence giving rise to those small papules or bumps. What triggers this built up?  Well, as i said, its genetic! People with dry skin conditions like eczemas & atopic dermatitis are commonly affected, as are people suffering from obesity & insulin dependent diabetes.

Where does it occur?

Commonly over the back & sides of thighs, buttocks, upper arm & legs.  Sometimes it can even be seen on the sides of face & neck.

What can be done?

We can’t really “treat” it completely, that is, there is really nothing we can do to make it like .. go away you know, but there are certain things which can be done to reduce the redness & appearance of bumps along with improvement of overall skin texture & reduction of symptoms like itching.

  1. Using non soap cleansers. The main concern here is dryness which makes these KPs very visible. Hence it is advicable to use mild cleansers which does not rip your skin of its natural moisture.
  2. Moisturise. Daily moisturisation, especially after a bath when the skin is still damp, is the most effective & inexpensive ways to treat keratosis pilaris. The condition tends to become more worse during winters so moisturisation is especially important during those cold months.
  3. Look for products containing lactic acid, salicylic acid, urea. These ingredients help in exfoliating dead skin & they are present in minimal percentage in many over-the-counter preparations these days. With regular use they help improve the appearance of your skin.
  4. Consult your Dermatologist. It is always better to consult your dermatologist in situations where you notice excessive itching, redness or extensive involvement. Depending upon your situation, she/he might prescribe you topical or oral retinoids, topical steroids, extraction of keratotic papules, intense pulsed light (IPL) or blue light.

 

P.S. The idea behind writing this article is to provide a general information about a dermatological condition called Keratosis Pilaris & how you can do a basic management. But you need to understand that there is no substitute to good old method of consulting your dermatologist (face to face).

Happy skin to you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aging skin

Aging Skin: Can we slow it down?

alex-harvey-34864Recently I came across a quote which said “I’m not aging, I’m ripening to perfection”!! Wow, this is so true! That is what we all must believe in… ripening to PERFECTION. As good and confident it sounds, we all look at ourselves in the mirror daily and freak out or feel low (depending upon your personality ) at the sight of that first fine line, frown line, grey hair, sagging eyes and what not.

Well, aging is a natural, continuous and an irreversible process. We certainly can’t prevent it from happening but we can all age gracefully, right?

Skin is that organ of the body which has got a direct contact with the environment and so it gets affected by the external environmental influences like UV radiations, pollution etc., way before the internal organs of our body. Hence, skin in contrast to other parts of the body has the potential to age more rapidly.

Now, let’s try and understand a little bit about the aging process: there are two main processes that cause skin aging

  1. Intrinsic aging : That depends upon your genetic make-up (basically your genes), reflected by your skin colour and texture.
  2. Extrinsic aging: Now this is something under our control and believe me i know quiet a few people, one of them being my mom, who got a good grip on these extrinsic factors at the right time and have managed to age so so gracefully. These are factors such as sun exposure, pollution, alcohol, smoking, bad eating habits and stress.

Aging actually begins in your 20’s. So the right time is right now!

Here are my top 10 tips to slow down the aging (skin aging) process:

  1. Avoid the sun. Ultraviolet radiations break down the collagen and elastin in your skin, which leads to skin laxity and formation of wrinkles, causing brown discolouration and skin thinning. If there is just one tip that you can follow from this post, it is THIS! Sunprotection is a must! I have already talked about sunscreens in my previous blog Let’s talk Sunscreens
  2. Maintain ideal weight.  Having excess fat around your face stretches the facial skin and pulls down your  jowels & cheeks making you look older than your age. Loosing that excess weight will also help curb problems like insulin resistance and maintain the harmony between your hormones and your body thus making you feel and look younger.
  3. Control & manage your stress affectively. Stress causes imbalance between the levels of certain hormones, damaging not only your internal organs but your skin too over a period of time.  These days everyone is aware about various ways of stress management- meditation, excercise, travelling. Basically do what makes you happy!
  4. Limit alcohol intake. Alcohol causes dehydration, which eventually damages your skin.
  5. Moisturise. Moisturisers protect your skin from the external environmental factors by creating a sort of barrier between your skin and the outside world. A dehydrated skin is prone to formation of fine lines and wrinkles. Moisturisers maintain that suppleness.
  6. Develop healthy eating habits. No brainer. Everyone know this.
  7. Sleep on your back. Sleeping on your face or sides causes deprivation of blood flow to the face overnight causing fine line in the long run.
  8.  Stop smoking. It causes the release of oxidizing free radicles which are neither good for your body nor your skin. Major contributor in dullness, wrinkles and dark circles.
  9. Sleep adequately. Your body cells regenerate while you sleep. Have you ever noticed that glow on your face when you have had a good sleep and woke up fresh?
  10. Use good quality make up products & cosmeceuticals. Having a healthy body and mind are very important but its equally important to be happy and satisfied when you look at yourself in the mirror, your skin is a major contributor in that. Invest in good quality products. Remember, just like anything that goes inside your body should be pure and of good quality, your skin should also be treated in the same way.

Happy skin to you!

Photo by Alex Harvey on Unsplash