Some people believe that psoriasis is just a common cosmetic, skin problem. Many believe it is contagious, making it one of the most stigmatized of all skin conditions and cannot be managed. So, which is it?
Psoriasis occurs when one's immune system is overactive and attacks healthy skin tissue, causing inflammation and speeding up skin cell growth. As a result, the skin becomes itchy, painful and scaly, with inflamed red plaques (patches) or silvery scales. These can appear across the body, often on the scalp, knees, back or elbows. Still, many believe these patches cannot hurt them.
Shrichand G. Parasramani, Dermatologist, Anisha Clinic, Mumbai said, "Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease which can be controlled but has no cure. It can go into remission. Patients and their families have several misconceptions of the disease, such as it are infectious in nature and they have to live with it lifelong.
It affects the patient's quality of life to a large extent which increases his level of stress. Many patients are drawn towards alternative medicine such as Ayurveda or homoeopathy due to the failure of conventional therapy and at times high cost of treatment. This leads to irregularity in treatment, resulting in a flare-up of the disease or treatment failure.
However, patients must understand the importance of addressing the disease so as to avoid the progression of psoriasis and its underlying complications. They must be told that with newer treatment options patients can lead an almost near-normal life."
Here are 4 ways Psoriasis can worsen if not managed:
Inflammation: Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation. What's especially important to note is that even mild psoriasis can be a sign of significant inflammation in the body. This inflammation, in turn, can contribute to other associated health conditions.
Given that dermatologists are the key medical experts responsible for treating psoriasis, it is important to consult one to understand the condition and suitable and advanced treatment options such as biologics
Increased Risk of Health Complications: People living with psoriasis are at a higher risk of developing associated conditions or comorbidities. The most common of these is psoriatic arthritis which affects 30 per cent of psoriasis patients. It is a chronic and inflammatory disease of the joints, resulting in stiffness, pain, throbbing, swelling and tenderness in joints. If this is not treated, long-term joint damage can result.
People with psoriasis, particularly in more severe cases, are also more likely to have other inflammatory conditions, including heart attack, stroke, type-2 diabetes, and inflammatory bowel disease. Other related health issues can also include obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, metabolic syndrome, hypertension, kidney or liver disease uveitis, and sleep apnea.
Treatment to Prevent Flare-Ups: If unmanaged, psoriasis can lead to plaques and scales that continue to build and spread. Over time, these can become quite painful, causing severe itching. Without adequate treatment to prevent flare-ups, these can increase in severity and frequency. This can even happen to patients who begin medication but suddenly discontinue adhering to their recommended prescription.
It's important to remember that psoriasis can be treated. By adopting advanced therapies, such as biologics, the disease, as well as flare-ups, can be effectively managed.
Mental Health & Quality of Life: Another long-term effect of psoriasis is its effects on an individual's mental health and across one's overall quality of life. Physical symptoms, especially in commonly visible areas like the face or hands can lead to distress and affect one's self-esteem. Psoriasis, which is highly stigmatized, can be isolating or even affect social relationships.
It is also associated with psychological conditions, including depression and anxiety. These place an individual in a vicious cycle increased plaques can lead to anxiety or depression, and such stressors act as common triggers for a psoriasis flare.
By striving to address one's psoriasis, while also attempting to manage stress such as through counselling or lifestyle changes or community support groups individuals may begin noticing improvements in their overall health and well-being.
What Steps You Should Take
First and foremost, consult a dermatologist. Typically, psoriasis can be diagnosed with a simple physical examination with the doctor taking a look at one's skin, scalp and nails.
Once diagnosed, adopting a holistic treatment plan depending on the severity of one's psoriasis is key. If previously taking medication for psoriasis with limited effects, this responsiveness to treatment may also be used to find an approach more suited to the individual, especially considering recent advancements in psoriasis treatment.
It is important to remember to treat psoriasis as a chronic condition with longer-term implications, as opposed to one with temporary treatment solutions. The main aim of psoriasis treatment is to reduce inflammation and plaques. Currently, there are newer, advanced and innovative treatments, including biologics to safely and effectively treat and manage psoriasis. These work by blocking reactions in the body that cause psoriasis and its symptoms.
Biologics are important treatment options, particularly for people with moderate-to-severe psoriasis. While they may believe their condition cannot be improved or are distressed about other treatments failing, biologics can have life-changing impacts, especially in controlling one's symptoms. (Shrichand G. Parasramani, Dermatologist, Anisha Clinic, Mumbai)
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Rashes, dry and flaky patches of skin are some of the most prevalent skin issues during winter. As the intake of fluid decreases during the winter, dehydrated skin becomes a battleground for various skin issues. Therefore, it's essential to prepare our skin well ahead of the harsh winters. Homemade DIY treatments might work, but they are not all that helpful in solving all your winter skin problems.
Let's put a focal point on what our skin needs during winters:
In winter, we often feel that our skin does not need exfoliation because we haven't stepped out much. But, in reality, winters give rise to dead skin cells. This in turn clogs the follicles and acts as a barrier to the radiance of the skin. Therefore, exfoliate your skin twice a week to get rid of the dead skin buildup. Exfoliation also helps to boost the effectiveness of serums and moisturisers, thereby helping to maintain the perfect level of hydration.
Look for The Right Moisturizer
Beating the chilly winter air is equally as tough as escaping the summer heat. You have to find the right moisturiser that locks in the essential oils in your skin for a longer period of time. Ensure that you are applying that moisturiser twice a day. If you have extremely dry skin and hands, you can opt for an oil-based moisturiser during the winter. Water-based moisturisers are great for summer, but in winter they are not effective as they dry up your skin too often. You can select from shea butter to rich green tea and even rejuvenating fruit butters for intense hydration.
As hyaluronic acid comes with truck loads of benefits, including skin hydration, anti-wrinkle agency, healing agent, and antioxidant, skincare experts across the globe suggest that hyaluronic acid is the best way to maintain hydration during winter. It is suited for all skin types, and skin experts recommend that one should look out for hyaluronic acid-based products when their skin requires hydration. Profhilo has added a new and popular treatment that has gained popularity in recent times. It works by injecting hyaluronic acid into the skin's layers, resulting in visibly hydrated, healthy, and rejuvenated skin.
DIY Facemask for Winters
Face masks can hydrate your skin, remove the dirt and help in improving the pores of the skin. Applying honey and malai (milk cream) facemask is one of the best natural moisturising creams that you can apply on your skin to make it supple and soft. Honey helps to clear your skin off the bacteria that are responsible for the growth of pimples and acne on your face. Mix a tablespoon each of milk cream and honey in a bowl and mix them well. Apply the mixture on your face and skin and leave it for about 15 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water. Pat dry your skin and see the result. (Dr. Chiranjiv Chabra, Cosmetic Dermatologist, Director Skin Alive Clinics)
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Winter has arrived, bringing with it dry, flaky skin and hair. Frizzy, lifeless, and damaged hair, as well as dry skin, cannot be blamed only on the winters. Our skin and hair are influenced by many different things, like the ultraviolet radiation from the sun or pollution, particularly pollution from cities.
One of the worst enemies of skin and hair is pollution. Established industries, car emissions, and cigarette smoking all contribute to rising pollution levels. The most harmful pollutants are particulate matter (PM), which includes PAHs (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) and poisonous gases like SO2, NO2, NO, CO2 and CO2.
"The exposure to smoke, dust, toxic gas, particulate matter, nickel, lead and arsenic can lead to a condition called 'Sensitive Scalp Syndrome', which happens when this particulate matter settles on the scalp and in the hair shafts.""Pollution exposure can cause chemical damage to the hair. It leads to degrading hair protein, affects the hydrophilic hair surface niche and damages the hair cuticles."
"According to a recent research, Intense exposure to the pollutants also affects the skin, reduces the stratum corneum (outer skin layer) quality, increases the dark spots, intensity wrinkles, fine lines and affects the normal composition of natural sebum production."
"Pollution exposure, particularly PM, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and PAHs are also known to inflame the skin, increases the oxidative stress in the skin and working synergistically with harmful sun rays, these pollutants can be one of the main reasons of skin cancer."
All these facts are enough to understand how dangerous and detrimental pollution is for our skin and hair. We need to take some proper precautions to protect our hair and skin from this natural enemy. Here's a list of some of the best pollution skincare and hair care suggestions for you today:
Skin Care Tips
Applying Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen Every Day is Important
A broad-spectrum sunscreen with the power of antioxidants is the right option for your skin to protect it from the effects of pollutants. A broad-spectrum sunscreen gives your skin a shield against UVA, UVB, and IR rays. However, the richness of antioxidants in a sunscreen provides full protection from pollution. This is why you don't apply sunscreen even a single day throughout the year.
Must Cleanse The Face After Returning The Home
We rinse our face in the morning for freshness, but in the evening cleansing, the face not only provides you with freshness but also a big relief from dust, grime, and pollutants. Select charcoal-based or active ingredients like vitamin C or retinol-based serums to deeply cleanse your skin from the particles of pollutants. Never skip this step, no matter how tired you are. For healthy skin, this step is a must.
Give Your Skin The Night Skin Repair Therapy
The other thing you need to include in your night skin care routine is a good repair face serum or cream. Retinol, vitamin C or ferulic acid-based face serums are best to repair polluted skin. These ingredients are rich in antioxidants, which help to neutralise free radicals, reduce oxidative stress and reduce pollutant-induced skin damage.
Go For A Home-Based Detox Face Pack Every Week
There is an ultimate DIY detox face pack that you will love to apply to your face, especially if you are a chocolate or coffee lover. You'll need cocoa powder and ground coffee beans for this pack.
These two ingredients contain the best antioxidants to cleanse the face. Take both ingredients in an equal quantity and add coconut oil or milk to make a fine paste. Add honey if you want to, and apply it to your face. Let it dry and rinse your face with normal water. Apply a moisturiser afterwards.
Hair Care Tips
Cover your hair with cloth or hat when outside
Whenever outside, make sure to cover your hair with a cloth or a hat, as it will hinder the direct contact of pollutants with your hair. In the winter, this may be the best option.
Don't Forget to Apply A Good Hair Serum
If you are unable to cover your hair, you must apply a hair protecting serum before going out. It forms a thin covering layer over your hair and protects it from toxic gases and other urban pollutants. The hair serum not only gives shine to the hair but also works as a protector of the hair and keeps it intact from pollution and heat.
Rinse The Hair Every Two to Three Days
Make sure to rinse your hair every 2 to 3 days, especially if you live in an area with high pollution levels. It will clear up all the dirt and pollutants from your scalp, and you can flaunt healthy, wavy, luscious hair.
Give Your Hair A Keratin Spa or Keratin Mask
Pollutants can also impact hair protein levels. To restore it, you should go to a keratin spa at home using a good hair mask. For this, you need 1 tablespoon of almond oil, 1 tablespoon of honey, and 1 egg yolk. Mix the ingredients and apply the paste on the overall scalp and hair. Keep it for about an hour and shampoo the hair.
These tips can protect you from pollution and revive your skin and hair to maintain their natural essence. Along with these, you must add antioxidant-rich foods like citrus fruits, broccoli, spinach, onions, garlic, and turmeric to revive skin and hair from the inside. (Mr. Rajesh Grover, Co-Founder, Derma Essentia)
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It is very common during the winter and monsoon seasons for us to be more susceptible to various infections. According to Ayurveda, a year is divided into 2 kaalas i.e., Uttaryana and Dakshinayana. Each kaala consists of 3 seasons, and so 6 seasons per year with each season persisting for about 2 months.
Uttaryana Kaala (14 January to 14 July)
Shishir Ritu (Winter) Mid- January to Mid- March
Vasant Ritu (Spring) Mid- March to Mid-May
Grishma Ritu (Summer) Mid- May to Mid- July
Dakshinayana Kaala (14 July to 14 January)
Varsha Ritu (Monsoon) Mid- July to Mid- September
Sharad Ritu (Autumn/ Fall) Mid- September to Mid- November
Hemant Ritu (Late Autumn/Pre-Winter) Mid- November to Mid- January
Out of these 6 seasons, Shishir Ritu (winter) extending from Mid-January to Mid-March is a period that remains cold and windy.
Ritusandhi: 'Ritu' means season and 'Sandhi' means junction. It Is a junctional period consisting of the last 7 days of the previous season and the first 7 days of the next season. During this period, our body is prone to infections.
The common ailments which occur during the winter season are:
Common Cold: A common cold is an upper respiratory tract infection caused mainly by viruses. It mainly affects children, old aged people and other immune-compromised individuals. The symptoms include throat irritation, cough with or without phlegm, running nose, sneezing, watery eyes, headache and a low-grade fever.
Stomach Flu: Stomach flu can spread rapidly during the winter season and is caused by the Norovirus. In this condition, there is an ongoing inflammation of the mucosal lining of the stomach. It can be easily transmitted through food and drinks and through feco-oral contamination. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, watery diarrhoea and stomach cramps. The person may also feel chills, headaches, fatigue and muscle aches.
Extreme Dry Skin: Dry skin also known as winter skin, is usually worsened during the winter season when the environmental humidity is very low. This is because of the cold and dry air which evaporates the water content of the skin very quickly, making it dry and tight. Skin can be prone to inflammations during this period.
Asthma: Asthma is a condition in which the airway becomes narrow and inflamed, leading to difficulty in breathing, cough and wheezing. For some Individuals, these symptoms may flare up during the winter season. The cold dry air can irritate the airways, producing more mucus and increasing the symptoms. Also, the cold environment can worsen airway constriction.
Flu: Flu is commonly mistaken for a common cold but both are different. It is a common viral infection that can be even life-threatening in highly vulnerable groups. It affects the lungs, throat and nose. Flu commonly affects younger and older populations and also people who have reduced immunity or other underlying chronic conditions. Symptoms include high fever, chills, sore throat, nausea, swollen lymph nodes and headache.
Wellness Tips for Winter Ailments
Practice Good Personal Hygiene: Practising good personal hygiene is one of the most important ways to protect yourself from getting infectious diseases such as stomach flu, common cold and flu. It also helps to prevent the spread of infection from yourself to the next person.
Yogic Kriyas: Practising yogic kriyas such as Jala neti will help to remove the excess mucous from the upper respiratory tract and help in the proper airflow without any obstruction. Thus it also helps in asthmatic conditions and alleviates congestion, allergies and cold. It should be practised under the guidance of a proper Yoga trainer. Care should be taken to blow the nostril properly after the practice to avoid headaches.
Basil: Basil has good antiseptic and antiviral properties and is recommended for viral infections like the common cold and flu. It also helps to liquefy the phlegm and is effective for cough and Asthma. It can be added as a topping to soups and sauces
Turmeric: Turmeric has a great antiviral property and acts effectively against the influenza virus. It is also rich in antioxidants and has an anti-inflammatory property.
Vitamin C Rich Foods: Taking Vitamin C rich food is essential for the repair of the tissues. It helps to improve the production of white blood cells and fights against infection. Vitamin C rich foods include Amla, strawberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, pepper, citrus fruits like lemon, orange.
Probiotics: Probiotics reduces the possibility of getting upper respiratory tract infections. They help to keep the immune system healthy. It includes buttermilk, fermented rice water, pickled vegetables, kefir etc.
Stay Hydrated: Having a sufficient amount of warm water will help to maintain the moisture content of the skin.
Hot Soups: Soups are a great diet to be added to our winter menu. This can be further enhanced by using various herbs and spices which are good for winters such as rosemary, oregano, ginger, garlic, pepper, cumin etc.
Exercise: Moderate exercise is extremely important to keep our metabolism high. We can get into cardio or yoga practices that help to elevate the body heat and to improve heart functions so that the circulation can be improved to different parts of the body. (Dr Manoj Kutteri, Wellness Director, Atmantan Wellness Centre)
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The festive season is around the corner and with sugar-laden sweets, snacks and luncheons, festive eating tends to tip towards an indulgence. The pandemic alongside the festive season gives us double the reason to take care of our health, especially if you are living with a chronic health condition like diabetes. People with diabetes need to find ways to manage their health smartly and effectively to mitigate risks that come with the disease such as kidney problems, heart diseases, nerve issues, foot problems, and so on. Controlling glucose levels, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and regular medical consultations are key to managing this disease effectively.
Dr Jothydev Kesavadev, Diabetologist and MD of Jothydev's Diabetes Research Centres said, "It is imperative for one to always make sure diabetes is being well-managed, but, during the festive season, it is important than usual. Uncontrolled diabetes can heighten the risk of developing severe diseases or complications. Regularly monitoring glucose levels helps you catch spikes or trends that suggest your diabetes may be getting out of control. This also helps you to take timely measures," he explains.
Here are a few tips for better diabetes management during the pandemic:
Scheduling is Key
Diabetic patients need to continue medications without interruption. Apart from continuous monitoring of glucose levels, do plan regular consultations with the doctor. It is also imperative that patients do not ignore high blood glucose levels, HbA1C >10%, or positive urine ketone status.
No Pain, No Gain!
Diet & exercise play a major role in preventing and managing diabetes. Attention to nutrition and adequate protein intake along with exercise helps control weight and lower blood pressure. It also lowers harmful LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, raises healthy HDL cholesterol, strengthens muscles and bones, reduces anxiety, and improves general well-being. Patients with diabetes are encouraged to take up 45 minutes of moderate activity every day.
Wearable Devices for The Win!
Technology advances have led wearable devices, to allow patients to keep a close tab on glucose levels. One such wearable is the Freestyle Libre that go a long way in helping people with diabetes (both type 1 and 2) manage the disease well. Continuous glucose monitoring, through these devices, offers the highest levels of accuracy and performance standards.
Say No to Stress
Stress can be a major barrier to effective glucose control. This has become worse during the pandemic, as health anxieties and long lockdowns have given rise to emotional responses like anxiety, frustration and disappointment. One can opt for healthier life choices such as exercise, yoga and meditation to avoid stress.
The pandemic is still with us. Patients with diabetes need to practice utmost caution to reduce the risk of catching an infection. Along with vaccinations, patients with diabetes need to ensure safe choices such as social distancing, wearing a mask, and frequent hand washing.
This festive season, even those with diabetes can enjoy life to the fullest, provided these simple measures are followed to keep the glucose levels under check. (Agency)
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Pregnancy is a beautiful experience during which a woman nurtures and grows a baby for a period of 9 months. During this time, the body experiences many changes both internally and externally as it turns into a space of nourishment and protection for the growing foetus.
Hormonal fluctuations, stretching of the skin, greater storage of fats, etc can also lead to significant and apparent changes in the skin. While many women often feel self-conscious and mourn the loss of their pre-pregnancy skin, it is important to know that these changes are completely normal and that many women feel the way you do! These issues can be managed during pregnancy and also minimised post-pregnancy.
Avoid comparing how your body reacts to pregnancy as it largely depends on factors beyond your control such as your genetics. Having said that, below are some of the most common skin issues that women face during and post-pregnancy with some simple steps that one can take to manage them-
Often known as "the mask of pregnancy," is a pigmentation disorder that is caused by a combination of hereditary, hormonal factors, as well as due to sun exposure. It shows up as mottled dark spots on the cheekbones, forehead, nasal bridge, upper lips and rarely, over the jawline.
How to Tackle It:
a) Sun protection is the most important step to avoid and prevent the worsening of melasma. Physical protection like opaque umbrellas, wide-rimmed hats, the scarf should be used while stepping out in the sun
b) Use liberal amounts of sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30, in the morning, at least 15 minutes before stepping out and repeat it in the afternoon after 3-4 hours. Sunscreen use should not be restricted to only while stepping outdoors or when it's sunny but also while indoors. Remember to use only physical sunscreen during your pregnancy and breastfeeding period.
c) Using skin lightening products that contain kojic acid, glycolic acid and vitamins C, E, and A in lower concentrations can assist to brighten and rejuvenate your complexion.
Stretch marks affect around 90 percent of women at some point in their life, with pregnancy being one of the most prevalent times when this occurs. These marks, reddish-purple scars become white over time and are produced by the damage to its elastic fibres when it is stretched due to weight increase. These are particularly noticeable on the abdomen after delivery.
How to Tackle It:
a) Prevention is better than cure. Start using moisturising lotions containing cocoa butter and Shea Butter during pregnancy itself and continue to post your delivery.
b) Massages will also enhance the elasticity of the skin, however, do take care to do it gently.
c) In the initial stages, the stretch marks are red in colour (striae rubra) and these respond best to treatment, so do visit your dermatologist early.
d) Various cosmetic procedures like lasers, PRP, micro-needling with a derma roller can be done to lighten the scars.
Acne or pimples is caused by an inflammation of the sebaceous glands of the face. While a few women report clearing of their pre-existing acne during pregnancy, others may experience a severe flare. This is due to the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy.
How to Tackle It:
a) Always use cosmetics that are non-comedogenic.
b) Increased fluid intake and staying hydrated may help your acne naturally.
c) Remember to remove makeup before bedtime and avoid frequently touching your face.
d) Products containing benzoyl peroxide may be used to penetrate clogged pores and remove pollutants; it is also safe to use during and after breastfeeding.
e) Although products containing retinol are great for acne treatment, they are contraindicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
Eczema, also known as dermatitis, is a common yet non-infectious skin condition that will not transmit to the infant. It's usually the result of an underlying sensitive skin disease that's been there for a while. Hand eczema has become quite common of late due to frequent hand washing with harsh soaps and hand sanitisers.
How to Tackle It:
a) Use a mild soap with a skin-friendly pH.
b) Gently pat dry the skin after each wash and apply a moisturising cream immediately which helps to lock in the moisture content of the skin.
c) Topical steroid creams are used to treat severe eczemas, however, they should always be prescribed by a dermatologist after careful evaluation and never be taken OTC from pharmacies. They are safe during pregnancy and lactation.
d) Do not wear anything too tight or shape-fitting. Tight clothes may trap the heat and make the skin irritable. Better to pick natural fabrics, like cotton.
The most common pregnancy rash is PUPPPs, or pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. These itchy, red spots appear around stretch marks and can spread to the arms, legs, and buttocks. They generally appear at the end of pregnancy, when the tummy is stretched the most.
How to Tackle It:
a) Try applying something cold to your rash to receive some relief. Apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes or cover the rash with a cold, damp cloth.
b) Have lukewarm water baths as very hot water dries the skin and aggravates the itching
c) Keep the skin moisturised with a good moisturiser or coconut oil.
d) Visit your dermatologist who will further guide you on use of safe treatment options during pregnancy and lactation.(Dr. Swathi Shivakumar, Consultant Dermatologist, Aster RV Hospital, JP Nagar, Bengaluru)
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