Articles of National Skin Hospital
Tag it off
Skin tags (medically termed as acrochordons, also called string moles, fibroepithelial polyps, or eyelid papillomas) are fleshy tumour like growths that hang from the surface of the skin on tiny stalks. They are commonly found on the neck and armpits, or in the groin area. Sometimes, they form on the eyelids or other areas of the body as well.
This skin to brown coloured growth may stay relatively tiny, or continue to grow. Although skin tags themselves are rarely malignant, nor do they automatically lead to skin cancer, they are quite odd in appearance, and may become annoying and prone to irritation, particularly if they snag on or rub up against clothes or jewellery. Skin tags are composed of a core of fibres and ducts, nerve cells, fat cells, and a covering of epidermis. Skin tags are usually a few millimetres in size, although can be as big as 8-10cm.
Genetic predispositions influence the development of skin tags; in particular, overweight people and pregnant women often find themselves plagued by the condition. People with close family members who have skin tags are more likely to develop these themselves.
A profusion of skin tags may be connected to Type 2 diabetes, colon polyps, or tumors of the kidneys and gastrointestinal tract; such growths may also be markers for atherosclerosis and other types of cardiovascular disease. Skin Tags might appear innocuous and in many cases they are, but these dermatological anomalies act as an early warning sign for a more serious health issue in some.
Skin tags can be a useful indicator of underlying metabolic issues in patients.
Therefore, even if a person is not distressed by the appearance of skin tags, a thorough medical check-up should be performed to rule out the associated conditions. Skin Biopsy of the growths may be recommended to ensure that no basal or squamous cell carcinoma is present.
Skin tags are more common in
People who are overweight and obese, probably because they have more skin folds and creases.
Pregnant women are most likely to develop this problem because of the hormones secreted.
Individuals with diabetes
People with the human papilloma virus
Illegal steroid use interferes with the body and muscles, causing the collagen fibres in the skin to bond, allowing skin tags to be formed.
Home Remedies for Skin Tags
The Skin Tags are cosmetically unappealing, and most people prefer to get rid of them. Many over-the-counter skin tag remedies claim to work because they contain plant extracts with anti-viral properties. Unlike warts, skin tags are not caused by viruses, so these treatments are a waste of money. The two home remedies people employ on skin tags are the tying-off-with-a-string method and herbal salves or powders containing bloodroot. Do not cut it yourself, because it can bleed a lot.
Tying a thin string or hair around the base of the stalk cuts off the blood supply to the skin tag; it will shrivel and turn black. The problem with doing this at home is that there are several skin lesions similar to skin tags but the pathology in them is different and such a method used in those can worsen the condition or create a secondary infection so it’s better to confirm the diagnosis first by a specialist.
For obvious safety reasons, no one should ever use a home remedy for any growth on or around the eyes, or for particularly large growths. Dermatologists usually use electrodessication or laser to get rid of skin tags. Removal does not cause more of them to grow; it’s just that once a patient has a predisposition to form skin tags, they may pop up from time to time.
C for yourself
The right concentration of vitamin C can do wonders to your skin
Did you take or apply your vitamin rich supplement today?
The skin research has proven that the antioxidant properties of vitamins contribute to the prevention and treatment of skin and photo-ageing. Although many face creams contain vitamins, known as antioxidants, very few are actually effective in preventing or reversing the skin damage.
To find the right supplement, one needs to check the percentage and type of vitamins included in the products as numerous topical formulations contain very low concentrations of antioxidants that are not well absorbed by the skin.
Why vitamin C?
The recommended daily intake of Vitamin C for adults is about 90mg per day but some people are so seduced by the idea that Vitamin C supplements help protect them against skin and hair disorders that they happily pop one, two or even more a day – and feel guilty if they forget to do so. The oral supplementation with vitamin C is not very effective at increasing skin concentrations of vitamin C because its absorption is limited by active transport mechanisms in the gut. In addition an overdose of Vitamin C can cause numerous gastrointestinal disorders. In fact, applying vitamin C in form of serum to the skin is 20 times more effective than oral ingestion.
What does the application of vitamin C cream or serum do?
Acts as an antioxidant: The process of oxidation damages the skin cells. Vitamin C serums are rich in anti-oxidants that repair and renew the cells and give the skin a healthier look.
Helps improve collagen: Collagen binds the cells of our body. Vitamin C serum stimulates the synthesis of collagen in the skin which gives a tighter, firmer and less sagged feel. It is a good first-step solution to treat the onset of skin ageing and sagging.
Restores and regenerates: Vitamin C attacks the free radicals in the body and does some hardcore damage repair. If you have any acne scars left from your previous breakout, you’ll find them fading with regular application.
Protects from the sun damage: Getting overexposed to the sun can cause hyper-pigmentation and sun spotting. A vitamin C serum will counteract the harmful effect of the sun. But it is important to note that a vitamin C serum cannot replace your sunscreen. A sunscreen provides the much needed SPF protection by shielding the outer layer of the skin while the vitamin C serum acts as a sun barrier from within the skin.
When starting out with a vitamin C cream, it’s a good idea to gradually increase usage by starting off with the cream that has a lower vitamin C concentration. You can start with a vitamin C serum that has a 10 per cent concentration, and as your skin gets used to it, you can increase to 15-20 per cent range.
How to apply
After you’ve chosen a vitamin C serum, it is important that you use it right. Correct method of application will definitely increase the effectiveness.
Dampen your face with water and start by applying the serum to your face and neck.
Let it dry for some time and then apply a moisturizer, if possible use one with a sunscreen in it. It is important that you use the serum before moisturizing and not after. This is because the serum is easily absorbed into the skin, while moisturizers work on the surface. If you use the moisturizer first, your skin will not be able to absorb the vitamin C serum.
Vitamin C serums are oil free preparations that are perfect for balancing oily skin by exfoliating naturally. Because of its exfoliating properties, it is a good idea to follow up a vitamin C serum application with a fragrance-free moisturize.
A reason to smile
The nasolabial folds, commonly known as “smile lines” or “laugh lines” are the two skin folds that run from each side of the nose to the corners of the mouth. These folds become a cosmetic problem when they get deep and more pronounced. Some have associated darkness of skin colour along these lines making them look odd. For most, such deep smile lines are nothing to smile about. These lines or creases tend to get deeper as we age. The folds when more pronounced make one look older and tired than ones actual age thus becoming cosmetically undesirable.
The most significant factors that contribute to the prominence of the fold are excess skin, skin thinning, excess cheek fat, and ptosis of cheek fat. Nose to mouth lines or folds are one of the earliest signs of facial ageing, as we age, the cheek skin falls down or drapes over the nasal labial line to create the nasolabial fold.
A youthful face is a full face with plump cheeks. A structure called the malar fat pad is attached to our cheek bones high in the face and gives a plump or high cheek bone appearance. As our ageing skin and cheek fat pad sag downward, the nasal labial line blocks the downward sag, the loose skin and cheek fat pad fall over the nasal labial line thus creating a fold of skin-the nasal labial fold.
Most people, specially in age group 30-50 years, seek cosmetic and dermatological treatments as these nasolabial lines become too deep or pronounced. There are both surgical and non-surgical methods to correct the nasal labial fold.
Non-surgical correction of Nasolabial lines or folds include:
The most common non-surgical method is to inject soft tissue filler into the Nasolabial fold line to plump the deep line beneath the Nasolabial fold. This technique plumps and camouflages the line and makes the overlying fold less obvious. Fillers are biodegradable and do need to be repeated at six month to one year intervals.
The liquid face lift technique also uses soft tissue fillers but they are used to plump the mid cheek area and the cheek bone area. The effect is to plump and lift the sagging cheek and pull the nasal labial fold higher.
Fat transfer is a more permanent filling solution to correct Nasolabial fold lines and mid face aging. Fat is harvested from an area of fat excess in the body, usually the hips or abdomen and injected into the mid face region.
Skin tightening with laser and light therapies are new non-surgical skin tightening technologies available. All are based on the concept of heating the deep layers of the skin to 60 degrees centigrade, the collagen in the skin will then shrink and the skin will tighten. This deep skin heating has to be achieved while the surface of the skin is cooled, otherwise the skin could be injured. The best results though achieve only a 20-30 per cent skin tightening, usually not enough to lift the cheek or lessen the nasal labial fold.
Body piercing has become a fashion mania as more and more youngsters (both the genders) are getting their body parts pierced for that trendy look. Apart from the traditional piercing on the nose and ears, the silver and golden studs piercing the eyebrows, lower lip, tongue, navel, nose, inner concha, helix and the cartilaginous part of ears are the new craze.
However, one must remember that piercing is a wound and that negligence at the time of the procedure or afterwards can play havoc with one’s health. Therefore, it is imperative to keep certain important points in consideration once you have made up your mind to follow the trend. The decision to get pierced should never be taken in the spur of a moment. Piercing should be done on a dry day, never go for it on rainy and humid days since that will increase your propensity to infection.
Once you have made up your mind to get the procedure done, you need to be aware of the risks that you will be predisposed to. The joy of having this aesthetic statement is short lived in persons with sensitive and keloid prone skin as they end up having large hypertrophic scars and allergic reactions therefore one must know his/her skin type before undergoing the procedure. Tongue or oral piercing can lead to speech impediments whereas ear piercing can cause painful abscess. Genital piercing can interfere with the functionality of genitals and piercing on nose can also lead to abscess formation. Once you are with your piercer, be vigilant. Avoid taking sleep inducing drugs. The safe bet is the use of local anaesthesia. See that the syringes used are disposable.
Once done never ignore the wound. Always take good after care.
If you do not keep your new piercing sterilized, it will eventually lead to an infection. This infection will cause a bump containing pus and fluids to appear. A scar can appear if infection is not treated early.Scars are bound to form when you keep touching your piercing and playing with it. Too much of scratching and fiddling can delay the healing process.
Do not be shocked if you find your hair, threads from clothes and sweaters getting stuck to your piercing. What you must be careful about is that you do not allow the piercing to get pulled really hard.
While you’re cleaning your piercing, try to gently rotate the stud or ring. This will help open up the piecing and clean the area as well.
Sometimes an allergic reaction may appear even months after the first gunshot or needle pierce. So, always be aware of the signs of such a reaction. An allergic reaction caused by the stud can cause the area on the skin to gradually turn red, crusted and dark. There may also be associated recurrent itching, skin flaking or oozing.
Do not use oil on your piercing as it will accumulate dust and germs which can coagulate and collect on the skin.
Another rule to remember is that you cannot donate blood for a year after you’ve been pierced.
Clean & clear
Having too much oily skin is a problem encountered by many, and the problem increases 2-3 times in the current rainy season. Oily skin appears as shiny, thick and dull coloured. Often a chronically oily skin has coarse pores and pimples and other embarrassing blemishes. It is prone to blackheads. In this type of skin, the oil producing sebaceous glands are overactive and produce more oil than is needed.
Oily skin makes one prone to a number of skin diseases and infections.
Causes of oily skin
Because of the hormonal shifts of adolescence, oily skin is more common in teenagers, but it can occur at any age. In general, skin tends to become dry with age. The flow of sebum or oil increases during adolescence and starts decreasing with age.
During pregnancy and menopause, hormonal imbalances can also upset the oil balance and increase the activity of sebaceous glands.
Many people have skin that is oily only in certain areas and dry or normal in others, a condition known as combination skin.
Skin care for oily skin
The one and only great advantage of oily skin is that it ages at a slower rate than other skin types.
Oily skin needs special cleansing with lukewarm water and special medicated face wash to prevent the pores from being clogged.
Avoid harsh products that strip your skin of oil and encourage flakiness because of the loss of natural oils.
Avoid skincare products that leave your skin feeling taut and dehydrated. These cause the upper layers of the skin to shrink. This restricts oil flow through the pores leading to blockages and breakouts.
To cleanse oily skin, use oil-based products as they dissolve sebum effectively. Opt for oil-free moisturisers to maintain a shine-free complexion.
Choose your cleanser with care. Avoid heavy cleansing creams.
Avoid the use of harsh soaps or cleansers. Use a pure soap with no artificial additives.
Do not use cleansers or lotions that contain alcohol. After cleansing, apply a natural oil-free moisturiser to keep the skin supple.
When cleansing, massage your face well with your fingertips, using an upward and outward motion. Be careful not to rub soap into the skin; it can clog pores.
Choose cosmetic and facial care products specifically designed for oily skin.
Before applying makeup, use a day cream with active ingredients that diminish sebaceous secretions.
Right diet for oily skin
Take a diet rich in proteins but restricted in sugar, fluids and salt.
Take plenty of leafy green vegetables and fresh fruits.
Have your blood brought up to par by the suitable administration of necessary vitamins, iron and similar substances.
Even a slight deficiency in vitamin B2 can cause oily skin. Nutritional yeast, wheat germ and organ meats provide both vitamin B5 and vitamin B2.
Drink plenty of quality water to keep the skin hydrated and flush out toxins.
Reduce the amount of fat in your diet.
Do not eat any oils that have been subjected to heat, whether in processing or cooking. If a little oil is necessary, such as in salad dressing, use cold-pressed canola or olive oil only.
Avoid sugar, chocolates with high glycemic index, and junk food.
Get sufficient sleep as the skin’s cellular repair activity is at its optimum during this resting phase. Exercise benefits skin as it boosts circulation and encourages blood flow.
Hair to dye for!
Once the growing age is reflected in grey hair, the importance of hair dyes and colours becomes paramount. Hair dyeing and colouring, an ancient art, involves treatment of the hair with various chemical compounds. In ancient times, the dyes were obtained from plants. Some of the most well known dyes are henna, indigo, cassia obovata, senna and amla.
The development of synthetic dyes for hair started with the discovery of the reactivity of PPD (Para-phenylene-diamine) with air. Hair dyeing is now a multi-billion dollar industry that involves the use of both plant-derived and synthetic dyes.
Hair colouring is the practice of changing the colour of hair. The main reasons for this practice are cosmetic, eg to cover grey hair, to change to a colour which is fashionable or desirable, and to restore the original hair colour after it has been discoloured by hairdressing processes or sun bleaching.
How does hair-colour work?
It’s the result of a series of chemical reactions between the molecules in hair, pigments, as well as peroxide and ammonia, if present. The natural colour of hair depends on the ratio and quantities of two proteins, eumelanin and phaeomelanin. Eumelanin is responsible for brown to black hair shades while phaeomelanin is responsible for golden blond, ginger and red colours. The absence of either type of melanin produces white/grey hair.
Don’t leave the dye on your head any longer than needed.
Rinse your scalp thoroughly with water after using a hair dye.
Wear gloves when applying hair colour.
Carefully follow the directions in the hair dye package.
Never mix different hair dye products.
A lot of people at home just buy a box, skip the test, and put it on. This is a mistake as the patch test is our first line of defence when it comes to avoiding allergic reactions to hair dye. So doing a patch test for allergic reactions before applying the dye to your hair is must. This should be done at least 48-72 hours before you plan on dyeing your hair. To test, put a dab of dye behind your ear and don’t wash it off for two days. If you don’t have any signs of allergic reaction, such as itching, burning, or redness at the test spot even after 72 hrs, you can be somewhat sure that you won’t have a reaction to the dye when it’s applied to your hair. If you do react to the patch test, do the same test with different brands or colours until you find one to which you’re not allergic.
It’s important to do this test each time you dye your hair. Never dye your eyebrows or eyelashes. The FDA bans the use of hair dyes for eyelash and eyebrow tinting or dyeing. An allergic reaction to dye could cause swelling or increase risk of infection around or in your eyes. This can harm your eyes. Spilling dye into the eye by accident could also cause irreversible damage.
Hair colouring involves the use of chemicals capable of removing, replacing and covering up pigments naturally found inside the hair shaft. Use of these chemicals can result in a range of adverse effects, including temporary skin irritation and allergy, hair breakage, skin discolouration and unexpected hair colour results.
Side effects of various products result in loss of hair and in extreme cases balding If consumed by the body by means of inhalation or digestion, certain hair dye brands have shown evidence of causing constipation and other dangerous disruptions within human organs.
Hair dyes can cause allergic reactions, including itchy, red skin, swelling or more rarely, anaphylaxis, which is a life-threatening condition requiring immediate medical attention.
Lead acetate is used as a colour additive in “progressive” hair dye products. These products are put on over a period of time to produce a gradual colouring effect. Do not use dyes containing lead acetate to colour moustaches, eyelashes, eyebrows, or any parts of the body other than the scalp.
If you do develop any symptoms of allergies, the safest thing to do, of course, is to skip the colour and talk to a dermatologist about alternatives that might work for you.
A lot of people in the region tend to shiver as the cold months of January and February arrive. This is because they have the tendency to develop the cold pain of chilblain in these months which affects their lifestyle. Exposure to cold water sometimes seems to play a triggering role.
What causes chilblains?
Chilblains occur from the exposure to cold temperatures followed by rapid re-warming. This results due to blood vessel shut-down. They occur several hours after exposure to the cold. Cold causes constriction of the small arteries and veins in the skin and quick or extreme dilation of blood vessels from rapid re-warming causing leakage of fluid from the blood vessels into the surrounding tissues, resulting in the symptoms of chilblains–painful inflammation, swelling and itching, red patches, ulcers or blisters on the affected areas of skin.
A familial tendency
Peripheral vascular disease due to diabetes, smoking, hyperlipidaemia
Low body weight, or poor nutrition e.g. anorexia nervosa
Hormonal changes. Chilblains can improve during pregnancy
It is very important to rule out connective tissue disease.
Clinically, patients present with recurrent painful, tender, erythematous-violaceous plaques on the distal extremities, especially the fingers and the toes. Pernio usually involves the hands, feet, ears and face in children, the legs and toes in women and the hands and fingers in men. Lesions are more common on the back and sides of the fingers and toes. Other exposed areas, such as the nose, face and ears, may also be affected. Heels, lower legs, fatty lumps, wrists in babies and thighs in horse riders are the other affected sites. Lesions may be accompanied by itching and a burning sensation and may be complicated by blister formation or ulceration. Horse-riding enthusiasts who wear tight clothing in cold weather may develop similar lesions on the thighs.
Some people are more likely than others to experience chilblains, including those with poor circulation, high bad cholesterol, low blood pressure or people who are very sensitive to temperature changes. It is of paramount importance for people who are susceptible to chilblains, that when venturing out into cold weather, dress warmly and cover all exposed skin, especially the hands, feet, earlobes and nose that are especially vulnerable to chilblains. Keeping both the affected extremities and the core body dry and warm are essential in preventing pernio. Patients should wear thick socks and shoes. For perniosis of the hands, gloves are recommended. Clothing should be loose- fitting. Feet should always be kept dry as moisture enhances cold injury. Keep your surroundings comfortably warm. After cold exposure, re-warm skin gradually to avoid causing or worsening chilblains as rapid re-warming can be extremely harmful; do not use hot water bottles or sit too close to a heater, fire or other heat source.
Exercise is a good way of minimising chilblains because it keeps the blood pumping around the body, but there are also certain nutritional strategies that can help to improve the circulation. Diet should be rich in such antioxidants as vitamins C, D and E, beta carotene and selenium by eating plenty of fresh fruits (blueberries, kiwi and citrus fruits).
Because nicotine damages the lining of the blood vessels and decreases blood flow, thus further affecting poor circulation or chilblains – so for smokers another reason for giving up the bad habit!
Best foot forward
The winter can sometimes affect the important weight bearing area of our body; that is the feet on which we stand proudly. And pretty feet is really important to attain that well-groomed look.
The problems of cracked heels, eczema, discolouration of toe nails, fungal and bacterial infections of feet and nails, increased sweating, foul odour, etc tend to increase in the winter.
In addition to that the lack of moisture in the air can dry out the feet, and heavy socks and shoes may prohibit dead skin from shedding, leading to dry and flaky feet.
Here is how to deal with common problems of the feet in the winter:
In literal terms, frostbite is frozen body tissue. Wearing socks and shoes helps, but be sure that they are completely dry. Wearing wet socks or shoes for long can lead to frostbite.
Frostbitten feet should not be immersed in hot water, as you are likely to burn your feet that may be numb from the cold. Instead, use lukewarm water. In case of severe frostbite, which can cause blisters and blackening of skin, it is better to seek medical intervention.
‘Chilblain’ is an old English term compounded from chill and blain, an archaic usage for an inflamed swelling or sore on the body. Also called ‘perniosis’ or ‘blain’, it is caused by exposure of skin to damp air.
It is painful but causes little or no permanent impairment. It appears as red, swollen skin, which is tender and may itch. In worst cases, it can lead to aching, prickly (pins and needles) pain, and even numbness. It can develop within a few hours if the skin is exposed to cold.
And finally, you have to make sure they cut and clean their nails regularly to prevent fungal infection. Hardened nails in cold season can be avoided by protecting them from detergent exposure.
What to do
Change socks daily
Keep feet clean and dry
Wear 100 per cent cotton socks
Use foot powder in socks and shoes
Soak feet in lukewarm water
In case of severe frostbite, don’t warm your feet near a heat source such as open flame. Don’t use a heating pad.
Receive immediate medical attention if there are signs of tissue damage.
Use glass balls or pebbles in the bath/shower. Rub your feet on and between them, as long as you stay in the water.
Rough heels with cracked parts may be the result of wearing synthetic stockings, or vitamin A and B deficiency.
Each day, even 15 minutes of attention can restore your feet’s glory.