Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Diaper Rash: Five questions answered by Dermatologist

As a first time parent, one is perennially busy  changing diapers especially during the first year. The bottom involves special care as the skin is delicate and exposed to a lot of irritants and cleansing. We often see lot of parents complaining about the diaper rash in their children.Here are a few commonly asked questions that I encounter in my daily practice. I have shared the answers and some useful tips to avoid diaper rash.

Q-1) How do I clean the diaper area of my baby?
Ans . This is the most important of all the steps to prevent diaper rash. There are a few basic precautions like
  1. Always clean the area from front to back, especially in girls to prevent urinary tract infections from the faecal bacteria near anal canal.
  2. Never try to pull apart the foreskin in boys which is fused for the first two to three years.
  3. Make sure to clean the creases and the folds making sure that there is no hint of moisture left. Moisture is a breeding ground for infections.
  4. Please use a sheet whenever you change the diaper in public places to prevent transmission of infections.
  5. Air drying is better than pat drying. The latter is still preferred over rubbing or not drying at all.
  6. DONOT use wipes which contain alcohol or fragrance. The wipes should be used only when cleaning with water is not available. Minimise their use as much as possible.

Q-2) What causes rash or ‘eczema’ on  my baby’s bottom?
Ans- Multiple factors predispose this area to irritant diaper rash. Prolonged contact with faeces, urine and repeated cleaning disturbs the sensitive skin in this area, hence causing rash. Improper cleaning practices or neglect can cause diaper rash.

Q-3) What should I do to treat the diaper rash?
Ans- First and foremost try to adopt proper cleansing practices as outlined above.
  1. Avoid using harsh soaps and hot water. Prefer a gentle cleansing lotion ( pH of around 5.5) to a soap bar.
  2. Prefer washing the area with cleanser and water than a wipe whenever possible.
  3. Apply a skin moisturiser first followed by a barrier cream. The latter which generally contains zinc oxide in higher percentage forms an occlusive film to prevent contact of the skin with faeces.

This should be done at every diaper change.

Q-4) Should I prefer a cloth diaper or disposable ones?
Ans- Actually a disposable diaper is preferable to cloth diaper. The cloth diaper should be promptly changes once soiled. The disposable diaper can be changed every four hours or so. There is no difference in rash if either is used.

Q-5) Will changing the type of diaper help my child?
Ans- The chances of getting a rash are same for all the types whether stick–on type or pant sized diapers. The only type of diaper that is slightly better than others is the one which are superabsorbent as they can be used for a slightly longer duration.

As a Dermatologist and a first time parent, I was bewildered too while making the right choice for my child. I hope this addresses few of those doubts and concerns. Please feel free to ask any queries related to the diaper rash and I shall be happy to help you.

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, 3 October 2015

Hair to Stay: Dos and Don't for healthy hair

Hair is the most beautiful accessory bestowed by nature. Every morning , the very first thing that we notice is our hair. A good hair day certainly brings freshness not only to our face but mood as well

Read latest column by Dr Divya Sharma in completewellbeing magazine, October edition.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Hair loss treatment not working? Losing hair or losing peace of mind

I see a lot of patients with an agonizing query- I am losing a lot of hair these days, what is wrong with me? I have tried so many things but no hair loss prevention treatment is working? I am losing my peace of mind.

What needs to be understood is that the hair is a mirror of the inner ecosystem of our body.

Q- I am losing lot of hair these days? What is wrong with me? Is it the borewell water?
Ans – Losing hair in bunches does not happen because of the wrong shampoo or using borewell water. In such cases a comprehensive blood profile and thorough physical examination to rule out deficiencies or disturbances in metabolism should be done. Hair loss of this kind is generally referred as ‘Telogen Effluvium’ and is reversible and seldom leads to baldness.

Q- Why I am getting bald at such an early age? My father started balding in late 40’s?
Ans- A rise in sedentary lifestyle and growing obesity especially around the abdomen is becoming increasingly common in the younger population. Male – pattern baldness is seen in younger age groups now. It is also seen as a risk factor for heart problems and Diabetes. Doctors sometimes do not emphasise this important fact. Simple changes in lifestyle like exercise and following with other hair a regimented diet (preferably recommended by a qualified dietician) is mandatory with other mandatory treatment for hair fall. This surely can ARREST the balding process.

Q- Which Diet would you recommend for Hair loss?
Ans- I generally recommend a qualified dietician/nutritionist but in general a diet:
  • High in protein and
  • High in essential fatty acids is very helpful.

Tuna , Sardines , olives and avocadoes are a rich source of the latter, oats, lettuce, parsnips, asparagus,  strawberry, cabbage, cucumber, celery, cauliflower and green leafy vegetables also prevent hair breakage. A nutritionist should plan these food items depending on your lifestyle ( whether sedentary or active) and metabolic status( diabetic / non diabetic) in conjunction with the Dermatologist.

Q – Are herbal or professional shampoos (the  salon ones) better than the regular shampoos to arrest hair loss?
Ans- Natural surfactants ( as claimed by herbal or organic shampoos)  come from plants such as sarsaparilla, soapwort, soap bark, and ivy agave. They have excellent lathering capabilities, but are poor cleansers thus must be present at high concentration. Usually, they are combined with other synthetic detergents. The so called ‘organic product’ hence remains as a marketing gimmick.
Then we have these special shampoos designed for use with hair coloring procedures are generally only available to licensed cosmetologists, as they are not appropriate for daily cleansing. Other than for colored hair , I do not recommend professional salon shampoos as they have  high concentration of surfactants and hence colored hair specific shampoos are inappropriate for daily use.
Your dermatologist is best placed to help you choose the best shampoo after carefully understanding what works best for you and your hair

Q- Any dos and don’ts to prevent hair loss?
Ans- Like everything else in life- prevention is better than cure.
  • ·         Start hair fall arrest early, it works best- physically (looks), emotionally and financially. See a qualified dermatologist.
  • ·         Maintain good hair hygiene
  • ·         Assess your dietary and other habits and make healthy changes.

  • ·         In general you must avoid chemical treatments to hair including the herbal ones which are designed to change the way your hair looks.
  • ·         Avoid salon treatments or alternate therapies which have no proven scientific evidence

For hairloss key is to act early and prevention. In the end remember hair is a reflection of inner ecosystem and in most cases hair loss can be arrested. 
Angeline Jolie, Vin Diesel look extremely attractive without hair
However, your physical attribute should never be a cause of stress. There are many renowned personalities including in showbiz who have excelled and look extremely handsome/beautiful without hair. Talk to your dermatologist if hairloss is bothering you.

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

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