Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Seven things you must know about Baby's skin care

A common worry that bothers all parents is the care of baby's skin. In my new post I try to capture the frequently asked questions on skin and hair care for babies. 
I will start by explaining the skin structure in very simple language and then explore how to take care of baby's skin and hair.

Q 1 – How is the skin of my child different? Does it require some extra effort and then so, Why?
Ans -The skin of an infant is different from adults in many ways which is crucial for understanding the skin care regimen for the parents -
Skin  Structure of Newborn
         Implication for skin care
a)           Higher skin surface area to weight ratio (skin surface area of infant is 700 cm2/kg as compared to adult skin which is 250 cm2/kg) .
a) Increased absorption in the blood of topical preparations (applied products)on the skin.
b)           Connection between the upper layers  of skin (epidermis and dermis) is not very strong
b) Blisters can form easily.
c)           The skin barrier is not fully developed
c)More susceptibility to infections and allergic reactions
AND Increased water loss from the skin
d)           Smaller  and inactive sweat glands
d)Decreased sweating , more possibility of heat rash or prickly heat
e)           Acidic pH of the skin
e) Any increase of pH can increase bacterial colonization of the skin.

Q2-Doc, which soap should I use for my Baby?
Ans- Most of the soaps contain surfactants ( Read More here) which can have harmful effects on the skin of the newborn-
  1. They deplete the lipid part of the skin barrier hence making it weaker
  2. Increase the pH of the skin hence increasing the risk of skin infection
  3. Denature( destroy) skin proteins further weakening the skin barrier.

Q3- What are the alternative for soap ?
Ans-  Cocoyl isethionate,sodium lauryl sulphate, and betaines are examples of synthetic non soap detergents (syndets ) which retain the normal pH of the skin but can be drying. Such syndets with addd moisturisers like mineral oil , paraffin and glycerince are most suitable. Soap free cleansers should be preferred but in smaller quantities. Soaps which produce more foam are HARMFUL for your baby's skin.

Q4 – When should I start applying soap to my baby?
Ans- Minimal use in first few months.
Immediately after birth, skin pH may be >6.0 which  falls to 4.95 after birth. This protective “acid” mantle protects against pathogens. Any  soap application will raise the skin pH from acid to neutral hence  increasing the total number of bacteria and increased moisture  loss. Regeneration of skin pH takes at least an hour after washing with alkaline soaps.  If at all needed, healthyterm newborns and infants can be washed MINIMALLY  using cleansers of neutral or slightly acidic pH, which have a gentle surfactant, be chemically and physically stable, and should contain an emollient. BOTTOMLINE is MINIMAL use of soaps in the first month of age.

Q5 – How should I wash  my baby's hair?
Ans -  Shampoos should have minimal time of contact with the scalp to avoid irritant dermatitis. The shampoo should be free from fragrance, anti-inflammatory agents and natural products. Most baby shampoos in the market contain anionic surfactant which ensures adequate cleaning. The pH of the shampoo should be close to the a that of tears and should be non-irritating to the baby’s eyes.

Q6- What about the napkin area of my baby?
Ans- The diaper area is probably the most frequently washed area of the baby.
Cleaning the nappy area "Front to back"
  1. Regular nappy/diaper change is a must as baby’s stool and urine can macerate the skin of your baby if in prolonged contact.
  2. “Baby wipes”- they also should be alcohol and preservative free. Consult your Dermatologist for recommendations.
  3.  Always clean the area from front to back with soft cotton cloth or towel.
  4. Apply a  Bland moisturiser and a barrier cream containig Zinc Oxide for skin protection if prolonged Diaper wear is required.( Use Dermatologist /Pediatrician recommended Diaper rash creams) 

Q7- What precautions I should take while washing my Baby’s clothes?
Ans-  You should use gentle detergents for washing your baby’s clothes.
  1. Avoid  adding antiseptic solutions or cleansers ( e.g Dettol etc.). They are VERY HARSH for your baby’s skin.
  2. The detergent should be fragrance free
  3. Rinse the detergent thoroughly. (MACHINE WASH IS BETTER THAN HAND WASH)
  4. Donot add Fabric Conditioners/Bleaches
  5. Prefer cotton and linen waer for your baby
  6. Wash any new dress before making your child wear that.

I have tried to touch the most commonly asked questions about Baby Cleansing. Please feel free for comments/queries and spread this message across for Better skin care for our children which they truly deserve and desire. This will be followed by How to tackle dry skin in children. Happy Reading!!! Stay skin healthy and skin wiser!!

Dr Divya Sharma is a practicing dermatologist at Bangalore. The data shared in this blog is her personal opinion based on her knowledge and experience. The author is not responsible for any adverse event that arises out of following blog opinion

Sunday, 22 September 2013

How do I choose a cleanser for my face? A simple guide to understand cleansers

Cleansing is one of the most common and essential regime followed worldwide. It is not only required for purpose of maintaining hygiene but it also plays a significant role in neurosensory and musculoskeletal development of children. We often wonder which cleanser should I choose for myself. in this blog post. I will try to explain the principles of cleansing which should be kept in mind, next time you think of the ideal choice of cleanser for your skin based on your skin type.

Q- How do cleansers work? 
Ans- The cleansers are surface active substances that lower the surface tension on the skin and remove dirt, sebum, microbes and dead skin cells in an emulsified form. At the microscopic level, cleansers are made up of a chain of hydrocarbons. One end of this hydrocarbon chain attaches to grease and oils on your skin while the other end of the chain bonds with water. When you rinse with water, the soap and any attached impurities wash away. 

Q – What are the various types of cleansers available? 
Ans - They include soaps, superfatted soaps, beauty bars, dermatological bars, liquid cleansers, antibacterial washes and foaming solutions. 

Q – What is wrong with applying just any other soap available? Is soap harmful to apply on the face? 
Ans-Soap is a combination of fats and oils (of animal or vegetable origin) and salt. It is the simplest anionic surfactant, forming soap salts in water that emulsify whatever is on the skin surface while increasing the pH of the skin. Applying just any cleanser may result in swelling of the upper layers of skin and loss of natural moisturizers and water leaving the skin dry and the barrier compromised. 

Q- How do I choose the best cleanser for myself? 
Ans- In my previous blog post I had put up a simple quiz which will allow you to understand your skin type (here). Based on your skin type you can follow this simple check-list and also the ingredients that I mention in the answers below to choose your cleanser

Q- What about "Beauty Bars"?
Ans- They are similar to the normal soaps but fragrance and few moisturisers are added to enhance their cosmetic appeal. But the efficacy to prevent dry skin is unknown and hence not recommended.

Q- How are the soaps prescribed by doctor different from the regular soap bars?
Ans-  These soaps contain weak organic acids to lower the ph of the skin and have moisturisers like glycerin , lanolin, Vitamin E and Natural lipids like Squalene. Colloidal oatmeal containing soaps are much more beneficial.

Q- What about so many Liquid cleansers or face washes?
Ans-  Liquid cleansers are composed of non ionic or amphoteric surfactanta with very high rinsibility factor. Their ph is similar to skin and hence they are less drying. One study demonstrated that, following hand cleansing, a liquid cleanser removed 85% of bacteria while a bar soap was able to remove only 65%.

Q – Is a face wash better than a soap if I have pimples or acne?
Ans – Research has shown that use of an acidic liquid cleanser or face wash  led to a reduction in inflammatory ( pus filled) acne lesions and the number of bacteria Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) on the skin aiding in faster resolution of pimples while maintaining  smoothness of texture.

Q- Which type of cleanser  is recommended for people with sensitive skin?
Ans- There are certain general recommendations I would like to make when it comes to choosing the right product for sensitive skin. Choose a cleanser with
Non – Ionic surfactants (like polysorbate).
Silicone surfactants ( e.g. Dimethicone) which can penetrate follicles or crevices and hence bring debris to the surface. ( Always check this component in products claiming to be ” DEEP CLEANSERS”).
It should contain moisturisers and humectants ( they prevent water loss when bathing).
Last but not the least , It should have a high rinsibility factor so that it does not leave any skin residue.

Q – What do you recommend for my face if I have conditions like ‘Rosacea’ or ‘Cosmetic Intolerance’?
Ans – Apart from the above said points , One should go for a cleanser which is fragrance and parabens free. Parabens and formaldehyde donors (e.g., diazolidinyl urea, Quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin) are the major classes of preservatives which can trigger or worsen eczema in such patients

Let me know how choosing a cleanser works with you. And like always stay skin healthy and skin wiser!!

Saturday, 29 June 2013

Sunscreen while driving: love your skin when you are behind the wheel

Most of us spend a considerable part of our daily lives in travel or driving. According to some recent surveys , this constitutes the largest percentage of total time spent outdoors. This period spent inside vehicle poses the highest risk for intense sun exposure. " Most of us take this plea that we hardly walk in sun to the car park or bus stop which is just few meters and I am in the car or bus only ...Still why do I need to apply sunscreen ?"

Q Why to apply sunscreen when inside the car/bus , " The windows are closed "?
Ans Windshields are made up of laminated glass which blocks upto 90% of UV Rays but sadly the side and rear windows allow them uninhibited. Shoulder , arms and hand closest to the side window receive the highest sun exposure and are always more vulnerable.

In a study published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology researchers found that people who had spent most time driving car each week were more likely to develop skin cancers on the side exposed to more sunlight while driving!

Q- Is tinted glass or Films protective?
Ans Clear glass transmits 62%of UVA while dark tinted only 11.4% . UV absorbing films are even better only allowing 0.4% of harmful radiation. Imagine with the latest traffic rules of removing any sort of films how much our sun exposure has multiplied.

Q Okay then I will keep a sunscreen in my car always?
Ans No, never leave your sunscreen in a hot car. On a hot summer day when your car is parked outside, the heat may weaken its potency. Always treat your sunscreen the way you treat a prescription medication- keep it away from extreme heat. Most preservatives in sunscreens are designed and tested in a range of temperatures close to room temperature.

Q sunscreen on and i am all protected?
Ans Well almost, one vital area of your face is still uncovered and exposed. Yes you are right its your eyes. Here your sunglasses will protect. A pair of shades goes a long way to protect your eyes. Use a good pair which mentions the UV protection index. It should atleast provide 95% UVB protection and 60% UVA protection.

Keep your skin safe and enjoy your driving with a sun safe skin!..Stay skin healthy and skin wiser!

Dr Divya Sharma is a practicing dermatologist at Bangalore. The data shared in this blog is her personal opinion based on her knowledge and experience. The author is not responsible for any adverse event that arises out of following blog opinion

Friday, 21 June 2013

Razor Bumps : Five facts you always wanted to know - Pseudofolliculitis Barbae

Pseudofolliculitis Barbae also  known as Razor bumps is one of the commonest skin condition seen in my clinical practice.  It is a commonly distressing skin condition in men with multiple myths about the condition and treatments. In this blog I try to dispel them and would love if some of you can share your experience with it.

# 1: What are 'Razor Bumps'?
Ans- The rash consisting of red raised lesions and sometimes small pus filled papules or small bumpy lesions in the beard area of the face is known as Pseudofolliculitis Barbae (PFB). It can also present in other shaved areas like pubic region and underarms.

# 2- What is the cause of PFB or Razor Bump?

Ans- When the hair is shaved too close to the skin, it develops a sharp tip that grows and curves downward and re -enters the upper layer of the skin.

# 3-Why only  few people get it and what are the causative factors?
Ans- Few factors which cause and hence can be prevented are-

  • Stretching the skin before shaving causes the sharp edged hair to retract underneath skin.
  • Use of a double edged razor encourages penetration , The first blade serves to pull the hair out of the follicle while the second blade cuts it and allows for retraction.
  • Improper shaving technique -Shaving against the direction of hair growth.
  • Dry Shaving

#4- What can I do to prevent them from coming again? How Do I Shave?Ans - 

  • Washing the beard with warm water and an antibacterial soap for several minutes in circular motion
  • Avoid very close shave ( as popularized by advertisements these days) especially twin or triple -blade razors. Single blade razors  are the best for such patients.
  • Leave the shaving product for atleast 2 to 3 minutes. The harder the beard, the longer it takes to soften the hairs.
  • Shave in the direction of hair growth , with short strokes and without using the other hand to tense the skin.
  • After shaving, rinse the beard area well and dry with a clean towel slowly massaging the beard area in a circular area.
  • Rinse the blades after every use and change them frequently as well.
  • Electric razors as there is a protective gap between the blade and the comb hence preventing close shave. Use them at the medium (not the close) shave position.
  • Shave only when necessary to allow more time for the skin and beard to recover between shaves.
  • To prevent the area from darkening , the patient should avoid shaving products containing alcohol and apply a sunscreen after shaving.

#5 -What are the treatment options?Ans - 

  • Prevention is the best cure and easiest too.
  • It is advisable to stop shaving for some time (around 4 weeks) as the hair above the skin acts as a lever and pulls the ingrown hair itself.
  • Warm water compresses should be applied for 10 to 20 minutes everyday followed by application of topical hydrocortisone 1% cream.
  • Topical antibiotics , Benzoyl peroxide and AHA agents can be helpful.
  • Lasers like long pulsed Nd :YAG , Alexandrite and Diode laser is most effective treatment and in terms of patient satisfaction.
  • Consult your dermatologist before considering any treatment option.
These precautions should help you contain razor bumps and give you a smooth bump free skin. Follow this advice and stay skin healthy and skin wiser!

Dr Divya Sharma is a practicing dermatologist at Bangalore. The data shared in this blog is her personal opinion based on her knowledge and experience. The author is not responsible for any adverse event that arises out of following blog opinion

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Hair conditioners explained: Which conditioner is best for my hair?

Now that you are aware regarding the shampoos and their components. I will give an overview of the components of a Hair conditioners. This would help you pick the best conditioners suited for your hair. 
Let us first understand, how Hair conditioners work? 
Our Hair is composed of Keratin which is made up of negatively charged amino acids. Hair conditioners have this positively charged molecules which don't get rinsed completely with the hair wash. On drying the hair are left with a very thin coating which prevents frizzing of the hair and also makes it easier to comb.

Okay, so which conditioning agents  are best suited for my hair?
Conditioners are recommended for dry , damaged or treated hair.
The various components that you must watch out while buying a conditioner are:
  1.   Moisturizers for hair like – Glycerine , Dimethicone , Simethicone, Polyvinylpyrrolidone , Propylene glycol
  2.   Stearalkonim chloride and benzalkonium chloride – Both are antimicrobial, prevent frizzing of the hair too!
  3.   Hydrolyzed animal protein- penetrates the hair and strengthen its structure through polymer cross linking. It is the most effective agent for treating split ends.
  4.   Essential fatty acids – are also natural moisturizing elements.
  5.   Sequestrants – EDTA help in rinsing off with hard water
Hope you choose your shampoo and conditioner wisely from now on...take good care of your skin and hair...stay skin healthy and skin wiser!!

Dr Divya Sharma is a practicing dermatologist at Bangalore. The data shared in this blog is her personal opinion based on her knowledge and experience. The author is not responsible for any adverse event that arises out of following blog opinion

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Choose your Shampoo as per your hair type

In the previous post I explained the key components of a shampoo. Now that you know what are the different components of shampoo label, you should try to figure out a shampoo which is most suited for your hair type. In this post I explained the different components you should watch out for depending on your hair type when you purchase shampoo. 

Normal Hair – Chose any shampoo with Lauryl Sulfate derivatives as they require good cleansing  and minimal conditioning.

Oily-Hair  – Excellent cleansing and minimal conditioning properties. Lauryl sulfate or sulfosuccinate surfactants work best . Ph of the shampoo should be between ph 5-6 and should not be too acidic or alkaline. These shampoos should be avoided by people with dry hair.

Dry Hair – mild cleansing and good conditioning  is required. This type of hair should not be washed daily . Try to rinse it little more to prevent a build up of conditioning agents.

Damaged Hair Cuticle magnified image

Damaged – Hair shampoos – Avoid excessive washing , hot combs and styling methods. Hydrolyzed animal or soy protein works best for hair repair.

In my next post I will how to choose your hair conditioners. Till then take good care of your hair and skin..stay skin healthy and skin wiser!!

Dr Divya Sharma is a practicing dermatologist at Bangalore. The data shared in this blog is her personal opinion based on her knowledge and experience. The author is not responsible for any adverse event that arises out of following blog opinion

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Shampoo label explained: What in a shampoo bottle is good and what is bad for your hair

Shampoo is a gift of the Indian civilization to the world. The British used this term in lieu of Hindi word  ‘ Champo’. We have a variety of shampoos available with each one claiming to be the best suited to different types of hair. What exactly they contain, have you ever wondered what do the ingredients in a shampoo mean- what is good what is bad for your hair?
In the series on shampoos, I will write three posts: First one to explain the components of the shampoo, second to help choose the shampoo for your hair and last post to help you choose the best conditioner for your hair.

Let us see what do those fancy ingredients  on the label actually consist of. The chief constituent of all is detergent ( surfactant)for sebum and dirt removal . Ironically the cleansing ability of a soap is equated with the foaming ability which may not be the case as they also sometimes overdo the job making our hair look dull and listless.  Some of them are_
  1. Sodium lauryl (dodecyl) sulfate – Derived from palm and coconut oils , it works with both hard and soft water , is foamy and is easy to remove. This component is very hard on your hair.
  2. Sodium laureth sulfate- Good cleansing effect and foamy too.
  3. Sarcosines –  Very mild cleansers but excellent conditioners.
  4.  Sulfosuccinates- very strong in  de-greasing action , used  for oily hair.
  5. Cocamidopropylbetaine –  wonderful  for fine and chemically treated hair , used in mild shampoos also.
  6.  Polysorbate 20 (PEG20) and Polysorbate 80(PEG80) – help penetration of various agents into the hair and helps in removal of oil from hair.
  7.  Citric acid – helps in making hair smooth and shiny ; also prevent hair infections 
  8.   Quaternium 15 – prevents fungal/bacterial infections.
  9. Methylisothiazolinone – prevents infection
  10.  Benzophenone-4 and Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate are the two sunscreens most commonly used in hair products.
  11. Midazolidinyl urea, iodopropynyl, isothiazolinone, and sodium benzoate.  Preservatives to prevent any moulds etc to grow in your shampoo bottle.
In my next post I will talk about the best shampoos suited for your hair type. Till then take good care of your hair and skin..stay skin healthy and skin wiser!!

Dr Divya Sharma is a practicing dermatologist at Bangalore. The data shared in this blog is her personal opinion based on her knowledge and experience. The author is not responsible for any adverse event that arises out of following blog opinion

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Acne Myths Busted: Most common myths surrounding acne and scientific explanation to refute them

Acne or popular term like 'pimples'or' zits' affects 80%of people at-least once in a lifetime. Though it is  very common but still the information about it is very scarce. In this blog I will share with you the six most common myths around acne and offer a scientific explanation to refute them.

Myth 1 :  Adults don't get acne . I never had it when I was in teenage then why now?
Not True. A  lot of people (around 14%) develop acne after 25 years ( Acne Tarda or late onset acne). Teenage acne presents mostly with blackheads or whiteheads scattered all over forehead and rest of the face whereas it is more of reddish nodules around  mouth and jaw in Acne Tarda.

Myth 2:  You get acne when you don't wash your face enough
Not at all. Washing your face more than twice a day is not helpful but can harm one more by disturbing the ph of the skin. It is not build up of dirt that leads to blackheads and the black color is because of oxidized skin debris and melanin and not dirt.
Never squeeze your acne

Myth 3: Eating chocolate and so called 'hot foods' ( Indian concept) provoke acne
The diet controversy still looms large. As a matter of fact , few studies show AGGRAVATION of acne with high glycemic index foods like junk , high carb diet and few dairy items.But they definitely Do not cause acne and may be innocent bystanders in the process.

Myth 4: Acne is just a cosmetic problem, it shall go away on its ownAcne does resolve on its own even without treatment but untreated acne can scat one's face and psyche for a life time. So as soon as you see them appearing, please rush to your dermatologist . Prevention is better than cure which is not so complete for Acne Scarring.

Myth 5 : I get it treated but still it comes back , Will it never go back?Acne is chronic in nature and certain skin has a propensity to have it more but as the oil producing glands shrink with age so does acne too. It is good to start a treatment for control but even better if you  continue to apply a maintenance therapy to prevent breakouts.

Myth 6: Clean up or steaming or may be squeezing them out will unclog my pores and helpThis is actually the worst thing you can do. Picking on acne can lead to deep scars. Popular clean ups will only make it worse while steaming only dehydrates the skin further. Making your face sweat more does not affect acne problem at all. You can ask for chemical peels from your Dermatologist which can help a great deal of patients in refractory acne and scarring as well.

Do post your queries and questions as we all delve deep into this common but commonly misunderstood enemy called 'Acne'. I will be dealing with more questions in my next blog on acne and acne scarring.

Dr Divya Sharma is a practicing dermatologist at Bangalore. The data shared in this blog is her personal opinion based on her knowledge and experience. The author is not responsible for any adverse event that arises out of following blog opinion

Friday, 17 May 2013

Seven Do’s and Don’ts for healthy hands

Dexterity is one of the biggest assets of human evolution. Still we tend to ignore them a various little signals it sends across before it becomes full blown problem. Lot of patients come with skin issues these days and more often it is a result of ignorance and neglect . I share a few tips onto the best skincare for patients already suffering from hand allergies and for prevention.

a) Age is no bar
No age group is resistant to develop hand allergies although it has been more commonly seen in young adults . Start taking care of your hands at the earliest.

b) Sensitive skin -Beware!
People with sensitive skin tend to develop hand allergies too soon with even a little exposure. People who have allergies , asthma and recurrent allergic sinus allergies are more prone.

c) How to wash your hands?
           i) Use a mild , fragrance free soap or hand wash and slightly warm water.

          ii) Slightly wet your hands before applying soaps. Take off your rings before washing.

         iii) Use a soap substitute like shower gel , aqueous cream based or paraffin based hand washes , preferably fragrance free.

         iv) The lesser the amount of soap substitute used , the better!

         v) Thoroughly rinse your hands and pat dry with focus on skin between fingers.

d) Moisturise! Moisturise! Moisturise!
Follow your hand wash with a fragrance free moisturizer . Consult your Dermatologist for prescribing one suited best for you.

e) Apply moisturising cream at least ten times a day . Keep moisturizer stacked at every location where hands are washed like kitchen , bathroom and laundry room.

f) Sunprotect the most!
Hands age even faster than face as they are not cared much in sun . Do not forget to apply a thick layer of sunscreen to your hands.

g) Keep your nails properly trimmed, clean and filed as they add beauty and a hint of grace to your soft hands. Nicely painted nails add gold to the glitter!!!

Wishing you soft, glowing and healthy hands!!!

Next Section talks about the care of hands and feet in people suffering from eczema s or allergies ....till then keep glowing and take care of your skin to remain Skin healthy and Skin wiser!!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Top 5 food nutrients for skin and hair: Part 2

Here is the second part of the post Top 5 Nutrients for Skin and Hair. Here we talk about Vitamin D and Flavinoids and the major food sources of these nutrients.

Vitamin D 

Our skin has been endowed with the capacity to produce Vitamin D from sunlight. This not only delays ageing but also prevents skin cancer. Research has shown a link of this precious Vitamin with hair loss and sleep disturbances. 
Sources: Salmon fish, Milk, Cereal, Eggs, orange juice and mushrooms

Doctor what is the recommended dosage for each age group?
The American Academy of Dermatology has recommended a 200 IU/day dose for children (0–14 y), 200 IU for the age population between 14–50 y, 400 IU for the 50–70 y and 600 IU for people over their 71st year of age. Consult your Dermatologist for an appropriate dosage regimen.

Flavinoids and other Polyphenols - The fountain of youth

Of lately Green tea is becoming very popular beverage and offers a variety of benefits not only for skin but other organ systems too.  This property is because of he presence of these compounds known as polyphenols. The health benefits offered by them often extend beyond skin . 
Sources: Richly found in vegetables , dry legumes , grapes , cherries and cereals, they prevent hair fall , ageing and is natural antioxidant. 

What is the ideal cooking practice to retain these nutrients?
Sadly the content of these nutrients get heavily affected by the cooking methods used . 
For Example onions, which are a major source of phenolic acids and flavonoids, and tomatoes lose between 75% and 80% of their initial content when boiled over 15 min, 65% when cooked in a microwave oven and 30% when fried. In French fries or freeze-dried mashed potatoes no remaining phenolic acids are found.


keep glowing and take care of your skin to remain Skin healthy and Skin wiser!!

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Top 5 food nutrients for skin and hair: Part 1

Skin is the window to general health and well being of a person. It is the largest organ of our body and consequently undergoes not only the external assaults but also internal ageing. Our shelves are decorated with so many latest cosmetics but little do we realize that as the case with the rest of our body , it can be more helped ’inside out’ rather than ’outside in’. 
While we live a fast paced life in Bangalore let us try to make a few easy and natural changes in our diet to achieve a flawless complexion.
I plan to take you across the healthier food ingredients which can do wonders along with the basic skin care regimens. I will put across this post in two parts 

Vitalife for the skin – Vitamin C
    a)   This cosmenutrient is an important ingredient of the very backbone of our skin known as collagen. It is shrinkage of this collagen which is responsible for the fine lines and wrinkling with ageing.
    b)   This nutrient prevents age spots , tones the skin and is preventive against blemishes and dark patches known as melasma.(Remember grandma’s remedy of lime dash on the face for skin glow)
    c)   Vit C helps in Iron absorption deficiency of which causes hair loss especially in women.
    d)   Consult your Dermatologist to include a suitable preparation of Topcal Vitamin C serum as a part of your anti ageing regimen. As home based preparations are unlikely to be helpful.
   e) Sources:  Include more of lemon , amla , guava , black currant , chilli pepper or parsley in your diet as this is not formed inside . It has to be supplemented always.

Vitamin E  - The policemen of Skin
Also known as tocopherols , these compounds protect our skin against the main culprit for ageing known as free radicals. It is a naturally occurring antioxidant alongwith Vitamin C and both of them synergistically protects against sun induced damage. 
Sources:It is richly available in vegetables, vegetable oils like wheat germ oil, sunflower oil, safflower oil and seeds, corn, soy and some sorts of meat. Various cream formulations are avialable containing Vitamin C and E which can go a log way in sun protection and delay in ageing.

Vitamin A – banes Ageing
Derivatives of this vitamin include Carotene , lycopene , astaxanthin and Retinol all of which are sun protective and also play a role in delaying wrinkles. 
Sources: Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, mangos and papaya are some examples of β-carotene containing fruits and vegetables which can be served as salads or soups. Lycopene is a bright red carotene and carotenoid pigment and phytochemical found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables, such as red carrots, watermelons and papayas (but not strawberries or cherries). While Astaxanthin is being formulated in creams and lotions which claim to delay ageing.Although supplements containing these Vitamins should not be taken without medical advice , these food items can be given a  healthy additive to our diet regimens.

In Part 2 of this post I will talk about the Flavinoids and  Vitamin D . Till then keep glowing and take care of your skin to remain Skin healthy and Skin wiser!!

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