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Skin diseases like psoriasis, eczema, vitiligo, and irregular patches are major cosmetic concerns. Therefore, to even out the skin tone, there are various options available, and phototherapy is one of the most important ones. Phototherapy, as the name suggests, involves the use of light waves to treat these conditions. What happens is that when the light is targeted at the affected area, then the underlying skin layers react to form a new skin and the condition is thereby treated.
The skin has a top layer known as epidermis and underlying layers known as the dermis. The inner layers contain collagen and other tissue, which are essential for new skin formation. The light waves act on this underlying layer to treat skin disorders.
What is narrow-band UVB?
The laser light used in skin treatment usually 290 to 320 nm. The narrow-band refers to the use of 310 to 315 nm, which is believed to be the most effective for treating skin disorders. This narrow spectrum produces less redness and light of greater wavelengths, which is most effective.
Benefits over regular wavelength therapy:
- Reduced exposure time of the lesion to UV light
- Quicker response
- Reduced duration of treatment
- Reduced recurrence
Duration of treatment: Depending on the extent of the lesion, the exposure to UV light can be regional or to the whole body. Regional is when only a part of the body is exposed to the radiation. The whole body is when the person is made to stand in a chamber that has lights emitting the radiation for seconds to few minutes. Depending on the condition and severity, repeat sessions are planned with intervals to allow for skin recovery. A psoriasis patient may require about 15 to 20 treatments for complete relief.
Indications: The following skin disorders are usually treated with narrow-band UVB phototherapy.
- Psoriasis: Compared to regular phototherapy, the narrow-band produces less redness and reduced recurrence.
- Vitiligo: UVB is proven to be effective and safe, producing reduced repigmentation and stabilization of the condition.
- Atopic dermatosis: Phototherapy is being tried instead of steroids to treat atopic dermatitis, and the results are very promising.
In some cases, light is also used in combination with topical therapies like tar and other steroid creams.
Side-effects and precautions: Generally very safe. Only if taken continuously for years can result in signs of aging. Patients requiring long-term treatment running into years, a gap of about 2 to 3 months should be given after a year. Also, regional therapy is preferred to a whole body treatment. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Dermatologist.
Acne is a disorder which is characterized by small red bumps on the skin or occluded pores in the skin such as blackheads. It can make people conscious of their appearance and result in low self-esteem and anxiety. It usually affects people who fall in the age group of 12-25, but sometimes older people also get affected.
There are various factors that makes the skin prone to acne. Acne occurs when overactive sebaceous glands (glands that produce oil in the skin) produce excess oil and the dead skin cells clog the pores of the hair follicle present in the skin. Inflammation occurs in the clogged hair follicle resulting in acne.
Some causes that makes your skin prone to acne are:
- Diet: Following a proper diet is a key factor in keeping your skin healthy. Food usually doesn't cause acne directly but can cause other problems such as greasy skin that are linked with acne. However, foods high in iodides such as seaweeds consumed over time can cause acne.
- Stress: Stress is another major cause that makes your skin prone to acne. When the body is stressed, it produces excessive testosterone (a sex hormone) resulting in excessive oil production. Stress also impairs the immune system of the body so that it becomes vulnerable to acne.
- Cosmetics: Some cosmetics (usually oil based) tend to clog the pores of the skin which may result in acne. Using harsh cleansing agents can dry and irritate the skin. Also, gentle washing of the skin is recommended to avoid breakouts.
- Hormones: Changes in hormonal balance can cause acne especially in the beginning of puberty. In some cases, women are affected by acne when the menstrual cycle stops. The acne caused by hormonal changes may also be genetic in nature.
Freckles are not always unwanted. While some people can't stand them, a few people find them cute. However, everybody loves clear skin and to achieve that it is essential to bid farewell to freckles. Freckles are tiny brown spots that are caused by an increased production of melanin in the skin cells.
People with sensitive skin are more prone to freckles than others. If you're looking for a way to get clearer skin, here are a few remedies to help you deal with freckles:
- Use sunscreen: The first step towards fighting freckles is to prevent them. Freckles are a result of exposure to the sun and hence using a good sunscreen every day is a must. Choose a sunscreen that fights both UVA and UVB rays. The more your exposure to the sun, the higher the amount of SPF needed.
- Bleach them with lemon juice: Lemon juice is the best form of natural bleach. Apply freshly squeezed juice or bottled lime juice onto the skin and leave for 15*20 minutes. Do this twice a day to see your freckles fade. Along with bleaching the skin, the citric acid also helps tighten the skin and makes you look younger.
- Increase your intake of vitamin C: Vitamin C helps lighten the skin. Apart from the limes and lemons, kiwis, tomatoes, bell peppers and papaya are good sources of vitamin C.
- Use sour milk and sour cream: Sour milk and sour cream contain lactic acid that inhibits melanin production and lighten the skin. Wash your face with sour milk three to four times a day. You may rinse your face with water a little while after each sour milk wash. Apply the sour cream on your face as a mask and leave on for 15*20 minutes. This will help your skin absorb the lactic acid.
- Mask them with honey: Apply a mixture of honey and warm water over the freckles. Let it sit for a while and then rinse with lukewarm water. Follow this by rinsing your face with cold water. Alternatively, you could try a mask of honey and yogurt. Leave this mask on for at least half an hour.
- Try a fruit peel: Along with eating them, you could also put fruit directly on your skin to fight freckles. Blend fruits like strawberries, papaya, pineapple and cucumber and apply it on your face. As it dries the top layer of skin sticks to the fruit and is peeled off. With repeated use, you will notice your freckles fade away.
The joys of growing old are often marred by the horrors wrecked on the body. But there are a few simple but time-tested ways to prevent the signs of aging.
1. Start Early.
By your mid-twenties, make it a regular habit of using collagen creams before going to bed and always carry a scarf with you cover up against the grime and dirt when out on the road.
2. Drink Water By Gallons.
Drink at least 2 liters of water every day to flush out those toxins. Toxins are a result of environmental pollutants (smog, smoking, junk food etc.) and hormonal imbalances caused by behavioral stress, undue anxiety etc. These toxins hinder normal functioning of the body cells. The body then tries to send out visible signs that all is definitely not well within and you notice the sudden appearance of dark circle, wrinkles, grey hair, excessive dryness, white spots, pigmented patches on your face amongst other such tragedies…
3. Get Regular Massages.
Regular massages help stimulate the lymph nodes and even the body’s central nervous system which will not only benefit your skin but your overall health.
4. Eat Consciously.
‘You are what you eat,’ and these days, more than ever, the age old adage seems to be ringing true for the larger group. Eating nutrient rich foods help to eliminate the free radicals from your body, leaving you feeling energetic and fresh even at the end of a long day.
5. Stay Stressfree.
Keep that pesky new age problem called “stress” at bay. Learn the principles of effective time management to take decades off your lovely features
6. Keep Mind Over Matter.
Often in the quest for physical beauty, we forget that there can be nothing is more beautiful than the human mind and that the key to everlasting youth lies within a happy and healthy mind.
There is nothing more meaningful in life, than trying to understand the meaning of life itself. When you find that calm within, you will reflect it on the outside as well. Meditation is nothing but mindfulness. Whatever activity you are at, do it with complete concentration and at all times maintain an upbeat and positive attitude, remembering that if there is a problem at hand then the only way to really solve it would be with a calm mind.
Exercise to remain fit and healthy and don’t believe in any fad diets that will do you more harm than any good. Exercise also releases endorphins, which are often called the “Happy Hormones!” Those who feel good, look younger.
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