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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.
Pigmentation of the skin is a medical term, which refers to the phenomena of colouring. Our skin is made up of cells that produce a pigment named melanin. The colour of the skin largely depends on the production of melanin. If more melanin is produced, the skin looks darker and vice-versa. When the melanin producing cells are damaged due to long exposure to sunlight, pregnancy or any other disease, pigmentation of the skin takes place. The skin may get dark entirely or in patches due to pigmentation. In some cases, decolouration takes place or white patches are formed on the skin.
Causes and Types of Pigmentation
The type of skin pigmentation depends on the cause behind it. Here are some of the common causes and types:
- Melanin: The skin colour varies from one person to another due to the presence of a pigment called melanin. It is produced by melanocytes cells in our body. Melanin protects our skin from damage on exposure to sunlight. When we spend long hours under the sun, the melanin production is increased. This gives a tanned look.
- Freckles: These are caused by clusters of melanin. These gets accumulated or concentrated in clusters on being exposed to sunrays.
- Liver Spots/Age Spots: These are also known as solar lentigos. This can be due to ageing or excessive exposure to UV rays.
- Birthmarks: These are referred to the irregular blemish that appears on any part of the body soon after birth or at the time of birth. These are of two types: vascular and pigmented.
- Melasma/Chloasma Faciei: This is usually found in pregnant women. It occurs due to the over-activation of melanocytes as there is a hormonal imbalance.
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation: This refers to inflammation as a result of inflammation caused by trauma.
Treatment: There are several ways to treat skin pigmentation. There are medicines and cosmetics available in the markets, which help in getting rid of the pigmentation. Skin pigmentation can also be tackled by certain home-based remedies. Here are some of these remedies:
- Milk and honey face pack: Milk is known to contain lactic acid. Apply a mixture of milk and honey on the affected part of the skin. This makes the hyperpigmented skin lighter in colour.
- Vegetable juices: Some vegetables like tomatoes, cucumber and potato are effective in getting rid of the skin pigments. Cut slices of these vegetables and rub them over the affected parts. The juices from these vegetables will lighten the pigmented part.
- Avocado magic: It is advisable to peel off an avocado and apply its juice with honey over the affected area.
- Add Vitamin E to your diet: Include foods rich in vitamin E in your meals. It helps in restoring the pigmented skin back to its normal form.
- Face mask: There are several face masks available that can work wonder in curing pigmentation of the skin. You can use face packs containing oatmeal, honey, sandalwood, turmeric powder, raw milk, and orange powder.
- Sun-screen: It is important to guard your skin against the ultraviolet rays. UV rays lead to pigmentation of the skin. So, apply a sunscreen lotion or cream before stepping out of your home.
- Take up some exercise: A key to a healthy skin is a good lifestyle. One must exercise regularly to maintain proper blood circulation throughout the body. Proper flow of blood keeps the skin healthy and free from pigmentation.
- Avoid consumption of alcohol and cigarettes: The consumption of alcohol and cigarettes leads to the generation of toxins in our blood stream. This is harmful to our skin.
- Cocoa butter: It has nourishing and de-tanning effects on the skin. Use a cream that contains cocoa butter extracts on daily basis.
- Oil massage: Certain oils like olive and almond are good for treating damaged skin.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Stretch marks don’t only happen after childbirth, they can happen to anyone due to sudden changes in body size and weight. These are like ugly brown scars usually present on the stomach, thighs and hips. Truth be told, 90% of pregnant women will get stretch marks around these parts of their bodies.
These are some very easy things one can do to get reduce the appearance of stretch marks both old and new:
Moisturizing- Lotioning –up regularly can lighten stretch marks. Moisturizing helps to hydrate skin and this makes it easier for it to stretch. Moisturizing is very effective in lightening new stretch marks and can prevent new stretch marks from forming. Older stretch marks are more difficult to get rid of, though.
Retin A- Retin-A based creams are very effective against stretch marks. Retin-A works by boosting collagen production which helps the skin to stretch out and avoid tears which cause stretch marks. Pregnant and nursing women should not use Retinoic acid containing products, however. It also doesn’t work on old stretch marks.
Glycolic Acid- This too can increase collagen production when used on skin. It is even more effective as alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA) which is used in chemical skin peels. You can use glycolic acid on skin even during pregnancy. Save your skin from sunlight when using glycolic acid.
Vitamin E Oil- This is touted as the miracle cure for stretch marks and it delivers especially when used on new stretch marks. Use it with an unscented moisturiser for better coverage.
Essential Oils- These are common home remedies for tackling stretch marks. One can use them directly on skin or mix with the carrier oil before use. These are the ones to go for:
Vitamin C- You can take Vitamin C as a supplement to lighten stretch marks. You can also mix topical glycolic acid with Vitamin C and apply on the skin directly.
Lasers- These are the magic wands of cosmetic surgery and rightly so. Fresh stretch marks can be tackled using a pulsed dye laser also called vascular laser. The downsides of this laser treatment are that it works on early stretch marks and not on mature ones. It is also very expensive. This laser also doesn’t work on darker skins.
Fractional Laser Treatment- These are very effective against older stretch marks. Your doctor will use this laser to resurface the older marks smoothing the surface of the skin. The treatment is very expensive and can cause hyper-pigmentation and scarring.
Abdominoplasty or Tummy Tuck- This is the only certain way to obliterate stretch marks. What the surgeon does is cut out swathes of skin from your abdomen with stretch marks. Downsides are that it’s a risky procedure. There could be life-threatening complications and recovery takes long, sometimes as long as 3 to 6 months.
Skin complexion varies and is caused by the skin pigmentation known as ‘melanin’, produced by cells called melanocytes, which gives skin the colour. The more amount of melanin, the darker the complexion. Melanin has a protective effect against sun exposure, as it reduces damage caused by the sun on the skin. It is proven that people with a darker complexion (with more melanin) are less prone to damage from sun exposure.
What are they? Freckles are cells that contain more amount of melanin compared to the surrounding areas. It is a common sight where some people have small, tiny black/brown spots on their faces. These spots may also be present on the hands, elbows, neck, back, etc., but are most obvious in the face. These are known as freckles.
Causes: Freckles are very common, and they are triggered by exposure to sunlight. The melanocytes absorb the sun and produce more melanin, thereby causing freckles. They are a natural reaction of the skin to the sun.
- It runs in families, and children are likely to have freckles if the parents had them.
- It also depends on complexion – fair people are more prone to have freckles than dark people.
- Tanning, whether done by the sun or in a salon, also increases the chances of having freckles.
- In some people, the freckles appear in the summer and disappear in the winter.
- While some precancerous lesions may start off as tiny brown spots and be mistaken for freckles, freckles per se are not cancerous.
Management: While there are stories that freckles are angel kisses, they are not true. Freckles do not bring any good luck charm and can be prevented and avoided to improve overall skin and esthetic appeal.
Prevention is the first option, and if you are genetically disposed to have freckles, it is best to take measures that can reduce freckles. Avoiding or reducing sun exposure and using good sun protection can help in reducing the number of freckles and the darkness of the freckles.
Freckles can be treated by one of the following:
- Topical Creams- Though widely used, these contain bleaching agents which act on the entire skin and not just the freckles. Retin-A is one of the widely used products.
- Laser- Considered the best method for freckle removal, a beam of the laser is used to get rid of the unwanted melanocytes which produce melanin. This not only reduces freckles, it also improves skin tone and colour.
- Cryotherapy- Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the melanin-producing cells, thereby removing freckles.
If you have freckles, try these measures for getting rid of them. Once that is done, preventing freckle formation with limiting sun exposure and sun protection is extremely essential. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Apart from the skin on your face, the skin on your elbows and knees needs special attention as well. Whether you’re fair skinned or dark skinned, with age you may notice your skin on the elbows and knees becoming darker than usual. This happens because the skin in these areas is thicker than the rest of the body and has more folds than usual. It also has no oil glands and very little blood supply that makes this area rough and dry.
Genetics, exposure to the sun, improper hygiene, hormonal imbalances and certain medications are some of the factors that play a role in the darkening of the skin in these areas. Resting your elbows on the tables or kneeling puts the skin on your elbows and knees in contact with other surfaces and causes friction that can also make the skin darker. Luckily this is not a condition that requires medical attention and can be treated with simple home remedies. Here are a few-
Lemon and Honey Scrub: Lemon and honey are excellent for the skin. Lemon juice has natural bleaching properties and honey is a great moisturiser. When combined together, they lighten the skin and make it softer simultaneously. Mix 1 lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of honey and apply on the affected areas. Leave on for at least 20 minutes and then rinse.
Vinegar and Yogurt Mask: The combination of vinegar and yoghurt helps remove black spots and moisturises the skin. To use, mix a few tablespoons of vinegar with yoghurt and apply on the skin. Once dry, rub the mixture in a circular motion to scrub the dead cells off and then wash off.
Aloe Vera Gel: Along with all its other health benefits, aloe vera gel is also very good for the skin. In particular, it addresses damage caused by sun exposure and moisturises the skin. Ideally, use the gel from a plant directly. Apply aloe vera gel on the elbows and knees and leave to dry for at least half an hour before rinsing it off.
Turmeric, Milk, and Honey: Turmeric is well known as an antiseptic and when combined with the moisturising properties of honey and the bleaching properties of milk can do wonders for darkened elbows and knees. To use, mix equal proportions of all the three elements into a paste and apply to the affected areas. Leave on for 20 minutes and scrub in a circular motion before washing off.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!