Skin is a sensory organ which has the power to feel the world through touch sensation. It is not only the basic medium from which our beauty is radiated, but also the barometer of our good health. We at DocGenie got in touch with Dr. Shehla Agarwal, Consultant Dermatologist, Director, Mehak – The Derma & Surgery clinic, New Delhi, to find out about the common skin problems and their remedies.
A selected excerpt of the interview –
Q. What are the common skin problems in India?
Our indifference towards skin care and healthy upkeep are prime factors in adding to the number of skin diseases. Dry lustreless shallow skin and the problems of lifeless skin are increasing in modern times. The skin appears almost dead, lustreless and devoid of normal glow. A fatty diet, indifferent skin care and lack of physical exercise are the causes of prematurely ageing skin.
Some common skin conditions that we often come across are –
Skin allergies- Skin allergies can occur in the form of sensitive reddish skin or wheals or hives on skin. Environmental pollution, excess sun exposure and a lack of knowledge of good diet regimen can aggravate this condition.
Infections – These include bacterial infections leading to boils, viral infections in the form of warts, cold sores, and fungal infections leading to ringworm patches and athlete’s foot.
Napping rash- In small children nappy rashes occur due to contact with excretions.
Eczema – This leads to dry thick patches or oozing wet patches. Reasons could be due to irritation or contact with eczema inducing agents like dyes in clothes, household detergents or soaps.
Acne – This skin condition is associated with teenage years leading to spots and sometimes deep pit scars on the face.
White spots – White patches or leucoderma occur when certain areas of the skin loses colour. Some other such skin conditions are Psoriasis which leads to white thick patches.
Endocrine imbalanced skin – In post menopausal state, diabetes mellitus and thyroid imbalance lead to dry itchy skin with hot flushes.
Q. How important is a good diet for healthy skin?
The rise in the number of health problems in modern times is a direct aftermath of our indifference to a healthy upkeep and in most cases, what we eat is bereft of nutritional values. Dull lustreless thick skin, more often than not, symbolises the disturbances that are going through our bodies. Lack of proper blood circulation to the skin is mainly due to deficiencies of protein, vitamin B and vitamin C in the body and less water intake. Skin is the window of our body’s health status. It cannot be glowing if the body is not getting proper nutrition.
Q. What should be a perfect diet for good skin?
Our diet should be balanced and easily digestible. A fair amount of proteins and vitamins are essential. Animal meats can form a good source for proteins. Vegetarians can get their supply of proteins from pulses, milk products and soya preparations.
Green vegetables and fruits add nutrients as well as fibre content to our meals. Water keeps the hydration levels normal and prevents dehydrated wrinkled looks. 8-10 glasses of water per day should be a norm and not an exception in our daily life.
Q. Which skin conditions are aggravated in the summer?
Dry hot air, sweat, dust and pollution aggravate certain skin conditions in the summer. Bacterial infection like boils, fungal reddish itchy patches and exacerbation of acne often manifest in the summer. Prickly heat is due to blocked sweat pores and is seen when summer is at its peak. Simple ice compresses, cool environment and talc can take care of this problem.
Sun related lesions – Sun exposure without sun protection measures lead to tanning. On the other hand there could be red itchy patches on the exposed areas and also sun burns.
Problems of air conditioned environment– Spending prolonged periods of time in an air conditioned environment, especially in offices, leads to continuous exposure to low humidity, hence dry skin.
Use of antiperspirants – Use of antiperspirants and other assorted cosmetic products leads to disturbances in normal skin balance which in turn causes itching.
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