Doctor in Sakhiya Skin Clinic Private Limited
A common skin condition, which causes the discoloration of your skin in patches across the face, melasma is more of a social embarrassment and cause for distress rather than being a serious condition. Although it affects men as well, studies have shown that over 90 percent of patients are women. It is also known as the mask of pregnancy as many pregnant women develop this skin condition.
Causes of Melasma
Primary causes of melasma have been attributed to various hormonal changes within the body. Let's look at some of the factors that may cause this disorder:
- Pregnancy: This is often attributed as the leading cause of melasma, the primary cause has often been attributed to hormonal changes that a woman may experience due to pregnancy.
- Treatments that may change hormonal balance: Women on contraceptive pills or who have implants such as intrauterine devices may also develop this disorder. This is due to the balance of estrogen and progesterone being changed within the body.
- Sun exposure: Continued sun exposure may also lead to melasma. This is due to the activation of melanocytes within the body which start producing more melanin.
- Stress: Long periods of stress on the body can also trigger hormonal changes and cause melasma.
- Thyroid problems: If someone suffers from Hypothyroidism or low levels of the thyroid hormone, it can trigger other hormonal changes and also cause this skin disorder.
It has also been noticed that people with generally a darker skin tone tend to get melasma and it is less common in people with fairer skin.
Melasma develops in certain patterns which can be easily diagnosed either as spots on the skin similar to freckles or brown patches of skin that grow bigger. Some of these patterns are:
- Malar pattern: This grows on the nose and cheeks
- Mandibular pattern: Starts growing around the jaw line
- Brachial melasma: This grows on the upper arms and shoulders
- Lateral cheek pattern: Grows on the cheek on both sides of the face
- Centrofacial pattern: Nose, upper lips, forehead and cheeks
Treatment of Melasma
Most women who develop melasma during pregnancy report that it goes away after childbirth. However certain forms of melasma may appear in non-pregnant women due to hormonal changes. Treating the underlying hormonal changes usually, resolves the problem. However certain other methods may be required to resolve the issues such as skin creams, chemical peels, dermabrasion and microdermabrasion.
Pinta is a skin disease caused by a bacterial infection. It is usually acquired during childhood and contracted through the skin to skin contact with an infected person. The disease is endemic to Mexico, Central America and South America. About One million of cases with Pinta were reported in Central and South America in the year 1950. The disease sets in within an incubation period of two to three weeks. It affects mostly the exposed areas of the skin including the arms, legs and face. The word ‘Pinta’ is a Spanish word which means ‘painted’. Pinta is classified under a treponemal disease because it is contagious and is caused by treponemes, a genus of spiral-shaped bacteria. Recent reports suggest the occurrence of disease in the Philippines and some areas of the pacific region.
The bacterium enters the skin through a cut, scratch or a lesion and causes a red scaly bump called the primary lesion. Other lesions may start to form surrounding the primary lesion usually in exposed surface of arms and legs. Local lymph nodes also become enlarged. Within three to nine months, these thick flat lesions called pintados spread all over the body. Sometimes the disease spreads to eyes causing eyelid deformities. The last stage of the disease is characterised by pigment changes in the skin including a combination of hyperpigmentation and depigmentation causing permanent discoloration. However, many patients get treated successfully before they reach the last stage.
Clinical Diagnosis of the infection is usually done through a blood sample showing bacterial infection or through diagnosing the scrapings of the lesion. The patient is subjected to an antibiotic treatment of drugs like penicillin, tetracycline, azithromycin and chloramphenicol. If prescribed dose of antibiotics is followed regularly, the cure is possible, however, skin damage caused due to lesions remain irreversible.
The disease is prevalent in rural and poverty-stricken areas and thus holds a strong connect with the socio-economic life of people. The living conditions, adequate water supply, domestic, personal and community hygiene, a proper waste disposal system and mosquito prevention and control play an important role in the prevention of the disease.
Prevention and control programs for Pinta must focus on awareness generation among high-risk groups. Though community hygiene is covered under many state health programs, for many communities, personal hygiene and the safe domestic environment remains far from satisfactory. Thus, first and foremost intervention must include building knowledge about maintaining proper hygiene and inculcating good habits for health and disease prevention. Since the disease is generally acquired in childhood, educating the parents about the early signs and symptoms of infection can also go a long way in ensuring that timely medical help is provided.
Your nail health might serve as a primary indicator of your overall health. Your nails need proper care to remain strong and healthy. If you notice dents or ridges on them, then it might indicate an underlying medical condition , which would require prompt medical attention. Healthy finger nails are supposed to be smooth and uniform in color with no spots or discoloration. Sometimes, there can be development of harmful vertical ridges from the tip of your nail till the cuticle, which can become more prominent as you grow older.
There are many ways to keep your nails clean and healthy:
- Good nail hygiene: You should always use good quality sharp clippers or manicure scissors. The proper way to cut your nails is to trim the nails straight across and then round the tips in a gentle curve.
- Keep fingernails dry and clean: You can prevent the growth of bacteria under your fingernails if you keep them clean. Wear a pair of cotton lined rubber gloves while performing activities, such as using harsh chemicals or washing dishes.
- Biotin supplements: Biotin supplements can increase the thickness of your nails and also prevent splitting and breaking. Biotin is a member of the vitamin B family and helps the body to convert food into energy.
- Don’t go for professional manicures: Going for professional pedicure or manicure on a regular basis can make your nails dry and brittle. Another way to remedy the problem is to take your own tool to the manicure salon, which reduces the chance of infection. Regular professional manicure can make you suffer from nail bed infections, which can be chronic in nature.
- Avoid acetone: Using acetone based polish removers, will strip your nail of the essential nutrients in due course of time thus, making them brittle.
- Don’t bite: Avoid biting your fingernails as this can damage the nail bed. Bacteria or fungi can enter through a small cut along the fingernail, which can cause an infection.
- Do not ignore minor problems of the nail: If you have some infection in your nails which doesn’t seem to go away, then there are chances of the infection being a result of some other underlying health condition. You should immediately get the problem evaluated by a doctor or a dermatologist.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
If you see continual and long-term white patches of depigmentation on your skin, it could be vitiligo. Vitiligo is a condition that appears when melanocytes in your skin are no more alive. This bunch of cells is responsible for producing the melanin pigment that endows the skin with its colour as well as protects it from the harmful UV rays. The area which may be affected by this dermatological disease varies from person to person, and it can also affect the hair, mouth and eyes as well. In most cases, the vitiligo affected area stays discoloured for the rest of the patient’s life.
Various types of vitiligo and their symptoms
Scientists have classified vitiligo into two types: segmental and non-segmental. The non-segmental vitiligo is the most common variant and 90 percent of vitiligo affected patients suffer from this kind of disorder. In this disease, the patches take place with little symmetry on both sides of the body. It can be further broken down into 5 sub-divisions.
- Generalised vitiligo: It can occur at any part of the body without any rules, and this is by far the most common type.
- Acrofacial vitiligo: It is mostly seen on the toes and fingers.
- Mucosal vitiligo: In this condition, the discolouration normally takes place around the lips and mucous membranes.
- Universal vitiligo: This is the rarest type of vitiligo where the whole body is covered in white patches.
- Focal vitiligo: This is most commonly found in children. The children have white and scattered patches across the body.
Possible treatments for vitiligo
Though there are no treatments possible that will re-pigment your skin to its original colour, there are several remedies that aid in decreasing the visibility of white patches on the affected areas of the skin. Some of them include:
- Phototherapy with UVB radiation: This is a common form of treatment where the affected area is exposed to UVB radiation and can be performed at home too. If you have large white spots across the body, it is important to have the treatment performed by an expert at any healthcare centre.
- Phototherapy with UVA radiation: In this treatment, a drug is first administered for increasing skin’s sensitivity to this radiation. Then the affected area of the skin is exposed to high doses of UVA radiation.
- Skin camouflage: In mild cases of vitiligo, cosmetic creams and make-up can be used to camouflage the affected area. It can last for about 12- 18 hours when applied in proper techniques.
In case you are suffering from vitiligo, it is crucial to speak with an expert and opt for the best means to curb down the impact of vitiligo.
What are Warts?
Warts are infectious outgrowths that may appear on any part of the body. For example, the most common warts occur on fingers. They are caused by virus, most typically the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) and several of its subtypes. They appear as dense painless rounded nodules of about 0.3- 1 cm in diameter. The mode of transmission of this virus is usually by contact. You can also contract warts by sharing objects like razors, towels or other personal items. They can be sexually transmitted if the warts are present on genitals.
Usually, they are benign outgrowths but sometimes, they may be cancerous if present on genitals.
How To Prevent Warts?
Earlier, the only way to prevent contracting warts was avoiding contact with infected people. But now-a-days, vaccines against HPV are present that are given in teen years to prevent genital warts and cancer caused by them.
How are they diagnosed?
Your doctor can easily tell if the outgrowth is a wart just by having a look at it. If it is not clear, your doctor may take a sample of your skin and look at it under the microscope to ensure that it is a wart.
Cauterization is a medical procedure wherein a part of the body is burnt in order to damage some tissue in order to prevent an outgrowth. Cauterization can be done by medicine, cryotherapy (using localised or general low temperatures to treat benign or malignant tissues), radio frequency cauterization or laser. The method applied depends on size and location of the outgrowth or the choice of you dermatologist as well.
It is recommended to get warts removed at its earliest to prevent spreading of the disease.
Several myths are present in the market that state cure to warts by various homemade remedies but these can do more harm than good. Treating warts must be done by practised medical personnel. Incomplete removal of warts can cause recurrence of warts due to secondary infection.
Are you growing hair in unusual places where you do not want them to be such as on the neck, chest, chin and back? Hirsutism is a medical term, which refers to excess body hair and facial hair in women. It occurs because of an increased production of androgens or male hormones. The increased sensitivity of the androgen receptors in the skin follicles also causes hirsutism.
Hirsutism is diagnosed using two methods:
- The Ferriman Gallwey model involves the visual inspection for detecting the presence of excess hair. The amount of hair growth in nine areas of your body is quantified in this model. However, this is not an ideal method as many women shave or pluck their hair.
- Blood test for excess androgens is another method for diagnosis of hirsutism. The different tests include free testosterone, total testosterone and DHEAS or dehydropiandosterone sulphate. Women with PCOS are likely to have increased levels of free testosterone in their body because of the absence of enough sex hormone binding globulin.
Removing excess hair
There are several ways by which you can get rid of excess body and facial hair. They are as follows:
- Plucking is a way of hiding hair during early stages. It is an easy fix. However, plucking from the follicle may lead to the distortion of the follicle, which may cause hair to thicken and turn darker.
- Depilatories is another way of removing excess hair due to hirsutism. Depilatories remove excess hair by the use of a chemical which dissolves the hair.
- Waxing is also effective for removing excessive hair. In waxing, warm wax is spread over the affected areas; a strip of cloth is placed over it, and rubbed on the wax. After holding the skin tight, the cloth is pulled off.
- Several medicines are used for dealing with hirsutism in women such as oral contraceptives, which help in removing the amount of androgens in the body. The androgen production may decrease as a result of oral contraceptives. The amount of circulating concentration of androstenediones and total testosterone are also reduced. Anti androgen medicines are also prescribed in some cases.
- Electrolysis is opted as a measure of managing excessive hair. In the process, a needle gets inserted along the hair shaft. After this, an electric pulse is sent to the root. This makes the hair release from the follicles and they are pulled out.
Laser hair removal is the final option for hirsutism treatment. In this method, light from the laser eliminates several hairs in the affected area. The pigment present in the hair absorbs the energy from the laser and gets destroyed.
The skin produces a natural oil known as sebum from the sebaceous glands. This acts as a protective layer and is passed out through the multiple, minute pores. With the teenage years seeing excessive hormones, excessive sebum is produced which clogs the pores, and the underlying sebum may not be released from the glands. In some cases, there could also be bacteria trapped in these acne. In severe cases, there can be extreme pain and pus formation. The acne can be quite large in size and may leave marks, which often take a long time to disappear.
Though acne affects any age group, it is most common in the teenage years and is attributed to the hormones called androgens. In women, there is also a hormonal correlation where acne is more common with menstrual cycles, pregnancy and polycystic ovaries – all conditions associated with increased hormone levels.
Before heading out for medical help, the following are some tips to manage acne.
Avoid touching it or picking it. Else it will result in a faster spreading of the infection to the surrounding areas.
Use ice cubes on the acne as they help reduce redness and swelling by lowering the blood supply.
Learn to keep calm as stress increases hormonal release and thereby acne.
Do regular exercises. A good workout routine helps by keeping your skin clean and the pores open. There is a more frequent clearing of sebum leading to reduced acne.
Maintain a healthy eating pattern. Avoid oily food items, which only add to the oiliness of the skin. Sugars again are proven to be harmful for acne.
Follow a proper sleep routine as it will relax your muscles and keep you calm.
Use mild detergents for washing pillow covers and towels, which are often used on the skin.
Frequent washing, regular moisturizing, and exfoliating should be a part of your skin care routine. Avoid heavy chemicals and adhere to one regimen with as many natural substances as possible.
Medications would be required in more severe cases, where there is infection along with pain.
Topical products would include creams, gels or lotions with retinoids like tretinoin, tazarotene and adapalene. In some cases, topical antibiotics like clindamycin or erythromycin combined with benzoyl peroxide are used. Light therapy, laser resurfacing, dermabrasion, chemical peels and steroid injections can be used to remove acne scars, which may be very concerning cosmetically.
Despite all this, let nature take its own course, and in majority of the cases, acne runs its course and settles down with the passage of teenage years. Try the next level therapy only if absolutely required. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!