Sunday, 27 April 2014

How to prevent photoageing: premature ageing of skin on exposure to UV rays

Photoaging is premature aging of the skin caused by repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) primarily from the sun, but also from artificial UV sources. Photo means light so photo ageing means ageing of skin caused by light.

Q What is photoageing?

Ans. Changes in the skin caused by years of long, uninterrupted exposure to sunlight or Ultraviolet rays to be precise.

Q How does exactly photoaged skin looks like?

Ans. A photoaged skin looks clinically different from normal ageing skin. Apart from fine and coarse wrinkling, it shows laxity, sagging, prominent blood vessels, mottled pigmentation, leathery feel and increased fragility. The lips lose their color and the entire face is lusterless.

Q What are the causes?
Ans. – 

Ultraviolet light (the major source of which is Sun) is absorbed by the skin especially the second layer of dermis. Dermis is formed by a tightly formed network of collagen and elastin fibers. This arrangement which is responsible for the resilience of the skin gets disturbed by chronic sun exposure. The fibers change their composition and abnormal material starts getting deposited leading to age spots and pigmentation.

Chronic sun exposure also leads to accumulation of toxins and free radicals which can even make skin prone to malignancy. UV A is the major culprit as it is absorbed deeper into the skin along with a little contribution from UV B wavelength.

Q How to prevent photoageing?


1. The first and most vital step is patient education and awareness about the importance of sun protection.

2. Avoid going out between 11 am to 3 pm.

3. Sun protective clothing, head gears and even UV protected sun glasses are a must have.

4. Sunscreen usage- A particularly daunting challenge is to choose the right sunscreen. Most of the sunscreens do not offer broad spectrum protection because of the unavailability of good UV- A Sunscreen agents. A Good SPF only ensures protection against UVB while there are no accepted standard criteria for UV-A protection. 

5. Right usage of sunscreen– The sunscreen has to be applied in generous amounts at-least half an hour before going out in the sun and should be reapplied every three hours.

Minimum SPF of 30 with Adequate UVA protection is must.
Patients who have already started developing changes suggestive of photoageing can opt for glycolic peels or alpha hydroxy acids.

Since sun damage is cumulative it is never too late to start! so start your regimen of preventing photoageing now!
Stay skin healthy and skin wise!!!

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 March 2014

8 womanly tips to a beautiful YOU!

Woman is one of the most beautiful creation of nature. Her life is a canvas full of shades of love in its vivid forms. A daughter, sister, wife and a mother. Bestowed with the highest honors of motherhood, a woman strongly anchors the household and family together. But in playing multiple roles, sometimes she forgets to feed her very own existence . On this day of celebrating womanhood, I want to encourage all womenfolk to take up charge of their own selves. Here are a few tips to a beautiful and a wonderful ‘You’      

     1. It all starts with fitness

The real secret to a glowing face is the glory of complete physical and mental fitness. A stroll in the morning for half an hour followed by deep breathing sessions in the garden of your apartment complex can be the most refreshing start to your day. Remember this makes a huge difference in the long run.

   2. Cleansing – toning – moisturizing

A good non –comedogenic, fragrance and parabens free cleanser followed by an alcohol free toner followed by a good moisturiser after twenty minutes of application of former is the minimum you can do as a daily routine.

3. Sunscreen every day keeps ageing away

Daily application of sunscreen with minimum SPF of 15 (Ethnic skin ) upto 50 ( fairer skin type) twenty minutes before going out everyday is a must –have on your dressing table. Donot forget  to apply it before the lunch trips to your son’s school  or bus stop.

4. Hair conditioning

A good hair conditioner containg hydrolysed proteins after head wash at-least once a week.

5. The night cream

A good anti ageing cream with retinol ,  anti ageing peptides after washing face is a good routine to follow. Remember every woman after achieving 30 years should start the night regime. A good serum containing Vitamin C is an added benefit.

6. Anti – Oxidants

A vitamin supplement containing omega three fatty acids and Calcium -Vitamin D should be on the menu everyday.

7. Genital hygiene

Simple cleaning with hot water and gentle soap at bath is enough for cleaning the intimate area. Addition of antiseptic agents and vaginal douching is a strict no as they destroy the good bacteria which aid in natural cleaning and maintaining vaginal health. Cleaning should be done front to back side. Cotton – Linen undergarments are desirable.

8. Keep a ‘ me – time’

      Me time- when you do what you love to do . It could be listening     to a beautiful song, paint or dance to your favourite tune. You are   more than the roles you play.

A Great thanks to all the women who have been a part of our journey and make this world a better place to live. HAPPY WOMANHOOD TO ALL. 
Stay skin healthy and skin wise

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

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Dry skin or Atopic Dermatitis in children

I see a lot of parents in my practice who are anxious and worried about the recurring dry skin of their children or Atopic Dermatitis. This not only is a cause of concern but can be a distressing condition for the children as well. In this blog post on pediatric dermatology, We shall discuss the causes and care required for alleviating the discomfort associated with this under recognized but important skin condition affecting children. I would be glad to answer your queries and comments.

Q – What is the cause of dry skin of my child?

Ans – Our skin has a ‘brick and mortar’ arrangement where the skin cells are the bricks and they are fused with each other by “Natural Moisturizing Factors’ (NMF). NMF is made up of free fatty acids and Ceramides. It is believed that deficiency in this NMF leads to ‘Dry Skin condition’ or “Atopic Dermatitis”. Atopic dermatitis simply can be put as ‘an itch that rashes’. It includes a tendency to have allergies at places where body is in contact with the external environment like allergic rhinitis, hay fever and eczemas.

Q – What are the risk factors for atopic dermatitis?
Ans- A positive family history of similar dry skin, asthma, hay fever or eczema can predispose the children to this condition. It is more found in urban areas than rural. It is largely believed that a cleaner environment and healthier diets to pregnant mothers exposes the child in utero to very few infections. As a result of which their immunity is hyperactive and shifts to a tendency for allergies. (HYGIENE HYPOTHESIS”).

Q – What can I do to alleviate my child’s discomfort?
Ans – There are a basic set of precautions and special care that I advise my patients to reduce the frequency and severity of dry skin in children.
a)      SHORT Bathing time – reduce the shower time to less than five minutes.
b)     SOAP USAGE – Minimal application of soap to the entire body and choose a moisturizer containing soap. (For further reading read my blog on this link ).
c)      LUKEWARM water – instead of very hot water. Water and soap further dry and reduce the lipid layer of ski , hence they aggravate the condition.
d)     MOISTURIZE with a recommended moisturizer within three minutes of bath after gently patting the skin dry. Don’t handle skin in a rough manner at all.
e)      CONTACT with woolen garments, fur and dust should be minimized.
f)       COTTON or LINEN garments should touch your child’s skin.
g)      MINIMIZE things which catch dust like carpets and soft toys around your child.
h)     PREFER vacuum cleaning at least once a month.

Q- Which moisturizer should I use for my child‘s skin?
Ans- Moisturizer is the lifeline to prevent this condition as they seal the fissures and improve the disturbed barrier function. They are of different types-
a)      Emollients - They are naturally found in palm and coconut oil. They replenish the natural moisturizing factors. Shea cocoa butter containing products belong to this category.

b)     Occlusives- They serve to seal the gaps between skin cells and make skin ‘slippery’. They are greasy, messy and have allergic potential.  Petroleum jelly is an ideal example. I would rank them lower in my choice of moisturizers. 

Q- What is an ideal moisturizer?
Ans - Patients who are confused by media hype often ask this question. The ideal moisturizer should be:

Q – Which type of moisturizer do you recommend?
AnsThe following is a quick guide for choosing a moisturizer     
1)Moisturizers designed for the face are typically non-greasy, non-comedogenic emollients, with an emphasis on skin feel and aesthetics with maximal skin benefits.
2) Silicone derivatives in particular are targeted for consumers with oily skin. Kaolin and Talc containing compounds are good for oily skin.
3) Moisturisers marketed as anti ageing should include sun protectants, alpha hydroxy acids (e.g., glycolic acid), and retinol and its derivatives.
4)Prefer lotions for day time use while creams are thicker and should be applied at night.
5)Emollients containing moisturisers like shea butter , squalene should be preferred for very dry skin over body and hands. Avoid them on face as they can trigger ‘acne’ or ‘pimples’.

Q- Which oil should I use for my child?

Ans – Coconut oil has been shown to improve the skin barrier which is deficient in atopic children. Olive oil and other oils are harmful than helpful for skin.It has been proven by studies that the barrier function is best restored with the coconut oil. Coconut milk is equally desirable.

Atopic Dermatitis tends to improve with age. It should not cause unnecessary anxiety and concern. There are simple and effective treatments available which can remit or at-least maintain results. Consult your dermatologist today for daily skin care regimen. 
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

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