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Irritation on your scalp can be an embarrassing and frustrating problem, especially when you get the continuous urge to scratch your head. There can be lots of causes for an itchy scalp and it is important to identify the cause and treat it accordingly. Some of them include:
Seborrheic dermatitis or dandruff
The symptoms of this condition include redness, irritation and skin flakes. Seborrheic dermatitis can occur in any part of the body due to excessive growth of a fungus called malassezia and when it hits the scalp it is called dandruff. It can be a recurring problem for some, but it is treatable with prescribed shampoos and steroid creams. Cosmetic shampoos targeted to cure dandruff works too.
Not only children, but adults can get lice too. It is mistakenly thought that poor scalp health causes lice but actually they breed in clean hair. Small white flakes that look like dandruff are actually lice eggs that cannot be shed off easily; they need to be treated with medicated shampoos containing insecticides pyrethrin or permethrin.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin disorder that can occur in any part of the body including the scalp. The symptoms are same as dandruff with raised red patches of skin. People with psoriasis are more likely to incur dandruff and itchy scalp. The exact cause of the disorder is not known, though heredity is a popular belief.
Eczema and allergic reactions
Redness, flakes, irritation are the signs of eczema and allergic reactions. During summers with excessive perspiration the condition worsens. It usually occurs in children but adults can get eczema too. Over the counter medications helps in reducing the severity of the symptoms and gradually heal the condition.
Male pattern baldness is hair loss due to underlying susceptibility of hair follicles to shrink owing to the influence of androgens. It is the most common cause of baldness in men. Typically, hair loss occurs at the vertex and the temples for men, whereas women usually lose hair all over their scalps.
- Male pattern baldness is related to your genes and male sex hormones. It usually follows a pattern of receding hairline and hair thinning on the crown, and is caused by hormones and genetic predisposition.
- Generally, baldness occurs when the hair follicle shrinks over time, resulting in shorter and finer hair. Eventually, the follicles do not grow new hair. The follicles remain alive, which suggests that it is still possible to grow new hair.
- The typical pattern of male baldness begins at the hairline. The hairline gradually moves backward (recedes) and forms an" m" shape. Eventually the hair becomes finer, shorter, and thinner, and creates a u-shaped (or horseshoe) pattern of hair around the sides of the head.
The cheapest way is to hide it by wearing a wig. Medicines that treat male pattern baldness include:
- Minoxidil (rogaine) - It is a solution that is applied directly to the scalp to stimulate the hair follicles. It slows hair loss for many men, and some men grow new hair. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.
- Finasteride (propecia, proscar) - It is a pill that interferes with the production of a highly active form of testosterone that is linked to baldness. It slows hair loss. It works slightly better than minoxidil. Hair loss returns when you stop using this medicine.
- Dutasteride is similar to finasteride, but may be more effective.
- Hair transplant - This process consists of removing tiny plugs of hair from areas where the hair is continuing to grow and placing them in areas that are balding. This can cause minor scarring and possibly, infection. The procedure requires multiple sessions.
The skin of a newborn baby is very fragile. It is thin and has low pigmentation. It takes quite some time (about a year) for the epidermis to develop and function effectively. Once the baby turns one, the skin gets thicker and more immune to skin problems. Here are some common skin problems found in almost every infant.
1 Diaper rash
Diaper rash is the development of red and inflamed skin in the area under the diaper. It is recommended to check the diaper for any wetness at regular intervals, and to change it when required. The diaper should not be too tight or left on too long. Applying a diaper rash ointment and keeping the area dry and open whenever possible can help in relieving your baby from the problem.
2 Baby acne
Development of acne/pimples on the skin of an infant is a common occurrence. It is advised to not to apply anything on it. It mostly resolves on its own in a couple of days.
3 Prickly heat
Prickly heat rashes are the rashes which develop on the face, neck, back or the bottom of the baby because of heat. To deal with this situation you should try to keep the infant cool and dry (not let him/her sweat) and ensure that they wear loose and comfortable clothes made of cotton.
Rashes that develop on the scalp, eyebrows, cheeks, chest, and/or neck of a newborn baby (up to 6 months), are known as seborrhea. It appears to be gruesome, but does not bother the baby. It is recommended to use mild baby shampoo and creams to get rid of the problem. If there is no improvement, see a dermatologist.
20% of the babies suffer from a very itchy skin rash known as 'eczema'. The affected area of the skin may turn red, ooze pus or crust over. It can be a result of an irritation caused due to sweating in a hot weather or due to the drying up of skin in a cold weather. Some clothing, specifically wool can even trigger this skin condition in a baby. A dermatologist or a pediatrician should be consulted in order to know what should be done.
Soft growth occurring on the genitals are known as Genital Warts. Genital warts are infections that are transmitted through physical intimacy (STI). These are caused by certain behaviours of the human papillomavirus (HPV). These growths on the skin cause discomfort, pain and itching. They are particularly harmful for women since certain types of HPV might also cause cancer of the vulva and cervix. HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases. Due to this, sexually active people are most vulnerable to various health complications, including genital warts. Prevention of this infection requires essential protection and treatment.
Transmission of genital warts occurs through sexual activity. Development of warts occurs several weeks after the infection. Sometimes, it is not possible to view them with the naked eye. The top of the growths might resemble a cauliflower and might feel slightly bumpy or smooth while touching. The person who is infected may have a single wart or a cluster of warts.
In males, the genital warts may appear in the following regions.
- Inside or around the anus
In females, they might occur in:
- Outside the vagina or anus
- Inside the vagina or anus
In a case where the person has had oral sexual contact with the infected person, the genital warts might appear on the mouth, lips, throat or tongue of the person. In case the genital warts are not visible, the other related symptoms include:
- Vaginal Discharge
Even though the genital warts disappear with time, it is not possible to eliminate the virus once it is in the bloodstream. This would result in several outbreaks during the entire course of life. This is a vital reason why the symptoms should be managed so that transmission of the disease is prevented. Treatment is possible only for relieving symptoms that are painful or for minimizing their appearance. Some topical wart treatments prescribed by the doctor may include:
- Podofilox and Podophyllin (Condylox)
- Trichloroacetic Acid (TCA)
- Imiquimod (Aldara)
Some surgeries that the physician might conduct to remove genital warts that do not disappear with time include:
- Interferon injections
- Laser treatments
- Cryosurgery, or freezing warts
- Electrocautery, or burning warts with electric currents
- Excision, or cutting off warts
Periodic Pap smears after the initial treatment is recommended for women with genital warts to monitor changes in the cervix.
If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
In most cases, you can easily blame excess hair on your face on your hormones. Male hormones called androgens are responsible for the development of certain 'manly' features like deepening of voice or production of sperm. And the one hormone behind all this is called testosterone. But women produce testosterone too, albeit in smaller quantities. If, for some reason, this hormone level increases in women, it leads to increased sex drive, irregular menstrual cycle and yes, excessive facial and body hair.
One of the main causes of high levels of male sex hormones in premenopausal women is polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a condition which causes cysts to grow around the edge of the ovaries (the organs which produce eggs and sex hormones). PCOS also results in excessive hair growth, acne and weight gain. Some women are stuck with this condition in the post menopause stage too, when the hormonal imbalance fails to rectify itself after menopause has passed.
Besides blaming it all on the hormones, here are some other causes you should know about:
- Blame your genes for cushing's syndrome or acromegaly as they are rare hormonal disorders and ovary tumors and they too can a cause of such a condition. However, cosmetic remedies are enough to get rid of unwanted or excess hair. So you may not have to go out of your way to handle this problem unless you have a special case.
- Being obese (weight gain is a side effect of PCOS too, so this is a slightly tricky one)
Most cases can be treated with:
- Waxing: This is a pretty much standard procedure
- Bleaching: Can work for areas you don't want to shave
- Hair removal creams: Try and test out to see which one suits you
- Shaving: Not the most womanly thing to do, but it is quick and easy. Mind the stubble between the shaves
- Laser treatment: A powerful beam of single color light is used to destroy the hair from its root
Eczema is a very common skin condition that can be identified by reddening of skin, feeling of itchiness in the infected area, appearance of scaly and dry patches of skin. This disease is mostly caused due to skin inflammation or irritation. If a person is suffering from chronic eczema, he or she would experience recurrent skin rashes.
The factors that play a role in causing eczema are:
- Genetics is one of the factors that may affect the proper functioning of your skin as a barrier against harmful substances. Therefore, if either one of the parent or both suffers from the condition, it is very likely that their children too will suffer from it.
- Abnormal functioning of your body's immune system can also lead to this skin condition. This is because it's your body's immune system that fights off infections as well as harmful intruders.
- Dry skin brings down your skin's ability to fend off irritants as well as allergy causing substances from entering your skin, resulting in an inflammatory condition.
- The presence of the bacteria called Staphylococcus aureus, which brings about sweat buildup, inflames the skin considerably, leading to this condition.
- Even environmental factors like pollen, cigarette smoke lead to the flaring of eczema.
How can you prevent an eczema outbreak?
It is very common for this skin condition to flare-up from time to time. But you can avoid such outbreaks or reduce their severity by following these very simple ways:
- Sudden changes in temperature can cause the skin condition to break out. So, when the weather is hot, keep yourself cool but during cold weather, use a humidifier to prevent the skin from drying out.
- Keep sweating in check as it can cause an outbreak very easily
- Keep your skin well-moisturized so that it doesn't dry out causing further irritation.
- Avoid the use of harsh detergents and soaps, woolen materials as well as the consumption of foods that may lead to flare-ups.
A quick wash in the morning is all that people do to keep their hair and scalp clean. But did you know you can end up with dirtier hair than before if you don't wash off the shampoo properly?
Improper washing of hair post-shampooing can lead to the build up of shampoo residue in your hair, which only adds to the dirt you try to clean by shampooing. Also, excessive build-up of product residue causes hair and scalp irritation and even impedes hair growth.
How do you know if you have shampoo residue in your hair?
- It feels as though there is a layer of heavy coating on the hair mass
- You hair feels flat as though there has been a loss of volume
- You hair appears dull, dry and dirty despite being freshly washed
- Styling of hair becomes difficult and time
- Consuming the signs of shampoo residue build-up closely resemble that of hair damage
In order to prevent it, thorough rinsing is of utmost importance. In fact, rinsing your hair for a minimum of two minutes post-shampoo is strongly advised in order prevent build-up. Also, using a clarifying shampoo regularly clears residue out of the hair and unnecessarily over-applying the product should always be avoided.Cleanse your hair once a week to keep it fresh and healthy and use a good shampoo with a formula that is suited to your hair.
Actinic keratosis is a medical condition in which there is a formation of rough scaly patch on your skin due to excess and prolonged exposure to the sun's rays. It is also known as solar keratosis and is commonly found in the areas of ears, lips, forearms, scalp and neck. They take years to develop and a small percentage of cases can even develop into skin cancer. Read on more to find out all about the different causes and symptoms of actinic keratosis.
Causes: The primary cause for actinic keratosis is due to frequent or intense exposure to the UV rays either from the sun or from tanning beds. It has been seen that although people of all ages can be affected by actinic keratosis, people who are above the age of 40, people who live in sunny climates, people who have a history of frequent or intense exposure to the sun or sunburn, people with a history of actinic keratosis and people with a weak immune system are more prone to be affected by actinic keratosis.
Symptoms: Actinic keratosis has distinct features and if you have developed such symptoms, then you are more than likely to be suffering from actinic keratosis.
- Existence of rough, scaly or dry patches of skin concentrated in certain parts of the body. These patches are usually less than 1 inch in diameter.
- They are usually flat and in some cases can be slightly raised in the form of a bump on the top most layer of the skin.
- In some instances, however, they can have the form of a hard wart like surface.
- These bumps or lesions can be pink, red, brown or flesh colored.
- Intense itching and burning can occur in the affected area.
- Actinic keratosis occurs primarily in the areas of the body, which have been exposed to the sun's rays the most. These include the face, ears, lips, back of the hands, forearms, scalp and neck.
As it is very difficult to differentiate between cancerous and noncancerous spots, it is recommended to consult a doctor and opt for treatment.
Athlete's foot is a common form of a fungal infection. It most commonly occurs between the toes and is medically known as tinea pedis. The most common cause are sweaty feet which when enclosed inside a tight-fitting shoe for a prolong time leads to this condition. The most common symptom of athlete's foot is a scaly rash which causes itching and burning on your foot. It is a contagious disease and is most commonly spread through towels or clothing of people who have that disease. It can also be spread through the floors which people with athlete's foot walk on. Here is everything you need to know about athlete's foot.
- Dirty wet socks inside covered shoes: As mentioned earlier, athlete's foot is a contagious disease which originates from wearing dirty wet socks inside covered shoes.
- Infection: You may also get it by coming into contact with an infected person or their towels and/or clothing. Even walking on the same floor as they walk on may cause an infection.
- Scaly red rash: There is usually a scaly red rash in between the toes when you have athlete's foot.
- Itching: There will be severe itching throughout the persistence of this disease especially when you first take off your shoes.
- Blisters and ulcers: This is not a very common symptom of athlete's foot. However, blisters and ulcers do occur on certain types of athlete's foot.
- Chronic dryness and scaling: This occurs on the soles of the feet and then slowly starts spreading upwards. These symptoms only occur on the type of athlete's foot known as moccasin. Due to this, athlete's foot is often mistaken for eczema and sometimes even dry skin.
- Spreading to the hand: Athlete's foot always starts in your legs and in some cases spread to your hands as well. The likelihood of athlete's foot spreading to your hand is increased if you scratch or pick at the areas of the foot infected.
There are three stages of treatment and these depend on the severity of the infection.
- Over-the-counter medicines: In the first stage of treatment, the doctor will simply prescribe over-the-counter antifungal ointments, sprays or powders.
- Prescription medications: In the next stage of treatment, prescription medications need to be applied to your feet.
- Antifungal pills: If nothing else works, only then should antifungal pills be prescribed.
Hives is a very common condition and about 20% of the world has got it at some point in their lives. There are many causes to it ranging from blood transfusions to certain allergic reactions to food. It starts off as an itchy patch of skin but slowly swells and turns into red welts. There are certain factors which makes the itching worse including stress, alcohol and scratching the area of skin which was itchy in the first place.
Here are all the causes and symptoms of hives:
- Food: Allergic reactions to foods such as nuts, eggs and shellfish are a common cause of hives.
- Medications: Certain medications also have a side effect of causing hives. Penicillin and sulfa are two of the antibiotics, which can cause hives. Ibuprofen and Aspirin are also two other medications, which are commonly known to cause hives.
- Infections: Both bacterial and viral infections can lead to hives. Strep throat, urinary tract infections, common cold and hepatitis are some of many bacterial and viral infections, which may cause hives.
- Stimuli: Certain factors such as temperature, pressure, sun exposure and other physical stimuli may cause hives as well.
- Plants and animals: Dander in animals are the flakes of skin in their fur. Moreover, coming into contact with certain poisonous plants may cause hives.
- Insects: When insects sting or bite you, you may get hives.
- Latex: Latex is a type of rubber used in many types of clothing. It has been said that wearing clothing made out of latex can cause hives.
- Pollen: Pollen is a light powdery substance produced by plants such as oak trees. It travels through the air and may cause hives if it comes into contact with your skin.
- Bumps: Itchy red bumps appear on the skin when you have hives. Sometimes, the bumps can be skin-colored as well.
- Blanching: When the bumps turn white after you press them, it is known as blanching. Blanching is the only clear symptom of hives.
Healthy, luscious hair is what everyone wants. But for maintaining healthy hair, a good brand of shampoo is not enough on its own. One needs to inculcate certain habits and avoid other ones in order to keep their hair healthy.
Here are 7 tips to how you can keep your hair healthy. Read on more to find out all about it.
- Regular Haircuts: Avoiding regular haircuts is actually detrimental for healthy hair. In order to grow long hair regular haircuts are much needed as otherwise the ends would split and dry. Regular trimming reduces the chance of breakage and split ends and you should go for a trim once every 6 to 8 weeks.
- Keep it natural: Keeping your hair in its natural way is the best way to keep it healthy. Although doing that during the week could be a problem if you have long hair, specialists recommend that you keep your hair 'on rest' during the weekend. This includes letting it dry naturally, not using styling products and avoiding using headbands or tying up your hair in ponytails.
- Scalp care: If regular shampoo use is not stopping you from scratching your head, consult a doctor. Itches tend to traumatize the scalp, which weakens the roots of the hair follicles.
- Eat healthy and take in a lot of protein: Eating healthily and making sure that a healthy amount of protein finds its way in your diet is another sure shot way of maintaining healthy hair. Iron is another mineral required, which helps you to maintain those luscious locks.
- Try avoid hot tools: Blowing your hair dry sure makes it dry faster, but it also takes away the natural moisture making it dry. If you have to use blow dryers, use them at a cooler setting and turn them at a lower velocity. This might take more of your time but it keeps your hair healthy as well.
- Deep condition: Go for a deep conditioner once every week as this keeps your hair both hydrated and healthy.
- Wear hats: If you are going out in the sun a lot, wear hats as they prevent the scorching heat of the sun from sapping all the moisture from your hair.
Related Tip: "How to Maintain Good Hair Health"
During pregnancy, quite a few changes occur inside a woman's body. It is quite common for some of these changes to surface outside. Skin changes are quite common in pregnant women, and pinkish streaks on the stomach and a sudden glow on the face are commonly observed. Although not all women experience the same skin changes, there are some changes which are quite common during pregnancy. Some of them are:
1. Stretch Marks - Stretch marks are the most common and usual skin changes that occur during pregnancy. Nearly 90% of all pregnant women are likely to experience stretch marks. Stretch marks are the reddish streaks that run down the abdomen or breasts of a pregnant woman. Exercising and applying lotions rich in the vitamin can help in preventing such marks.
2. Mask of pregnancy - Melasma, commonly known as the mask of pregnancy, causes dark splotchy spots to appear on your face. Fluctuations in hormonal activities during those nine months can lead to an increase in pigmentation. These spots usually occur on the forehead and cheeks. Nearly 50% of all pregnant women encounter signs of melasma.
3. Pregnancy Glow - During pregnancy, the body produces 50% more blood; hence, there is a greater circulation of blood in the body, and the increased blood flow causes the face to appear brighter. The body also produces a lot of hormones that cause the glands to overwork, which renders the face shiny.
4. Acne - Hormonal fluctuations in the body can cause the oil glands to secrete more oil, which can cause a breakout. In case of pre-existing acne, the condition may heighten and, thus, get more inflamed.
5. Spider and Varicose veins - Increased blood circulation can cause minute, reddish blood vessels to protrude outwards. These veins usually appear on the face, neck, upper chest and arms. Varicose veins refer to the thick, bluish veins that appear on the legs. This happens because the body compensates for the extra blood that flows to your baby.