Poor Sleep-Poor Skin!

Can poor sleep affect the skin integrity? Yes, most commonly it is understood that we need 8 hours of sleep to have healthy psychological and emotional stability. But did you know that sleep deprivation can alter our body’s biological functions, which in- turn can affect our skin?
At the deeper layer of the skin, the collagen gives strength and elasticity, which maintains the skin barrier function. Few animal studies and human studies have proven that Sleep deprivation (SD) can affect the collagen synthesis, which will affect the integrity of the skin barrier and the elasticity. SD can also activate a signaling pathway in the brain called the hypothalamic-pituitary axis (HPA axis) which will result in increased release of glucocorticoids from the adrenal glands. This increase in cortisol levels will initiate changes in the immune system, which could damage the skin integrity. It could result in various immune-mediated cutaneous dermatoses such as psoriasis and eczema. Similarly circulating excess cortisol could increase sebum secretion and could aggravate acne.
Another hormone which is largely researched is the Melatonin, which is secreted during the sleep cycle from the Pineal gland. It has natural anti-oxidant properties and suppresses the UV-induced damage on the skin. Melatonin is largely used in sleep disorders. It can induce melanin synthesis under the skin- that explains the UV protection properties! Thus, sleep is a vital physiological function which affects our skin well being. A good night’s sleep will maintain the biological processes in maintaining a healthy and younger looking skin.

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GET SET GO, FOR THE SUMMER! Choose the right sunscreen for your skin.

Summer is heading and it is time for sunscreens. While most of us don’t burn, tanning becomes obvious this season. So make sure that Sunscreen is a definite routine for the summer.

Questions frequently asked about sunscreens are- Which sunscreen will suit my skin? How many times a day should I wear them? Should I wear when I am in Office or indoors?  Can kids wear sunscreen?

Choosing sunscreen is a task, as most people feel that the sunscreens make their face look dull or oily. However, choosing the right sunscreen will provide a good aesthetic appearance along with protection.

If your skin is little oily but not acne prone, go for matt finish sunscreen as it will provide a smooth, primer like feel on skin. You can apply a compact or a foundation on top of it. If your skin is generally very oily and acne prone, keep it simple- use a gel-based or fluid sunscreen. This will not clog pores and also gives enough sun-protection. While gel based sunscreen could leave your skin little dull, you can always wear a compact or light foundation on top, to give you a neat finish. If your skin is dry and sensitive, go for a cream or a mild lotion formulation sunscreen. You could also choose sunscreens which includes moisturizers in it. The moisturizer in it will help reduce the dryness.

All Sunscreens, including the one’s with highest of sun protection factor (SPF), stays on skin only for 30-45minutes. Hence, it is important to wear sunscreens every 1 -2hrs if you are someone who stays out in sun for long hours. Yes, we have to wear sunscreen when  in indoors too. The normal light bulbs or the white lights do emit some radiations which can possibly cause DNA damage and aging of skin. LED lights emits the least radiations.  Also the UVA radiations from sunlight is not filtered by the glasses, hence a sun protection is a must when in indoors as well.

Kids can start wearing susncreen from  6months of age. Physical sunscreens such as  Zinc Oxide is mostly preferred, as it forms a physical barrier on skin providing sun protection. Whereas, chemical sunscreen such as benzophenones could penetrate the skin and the chances of hypersensitivity is little high, compared to a physical sunscreen

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Often in cosmetic practice patients come with acne flare up on the back and upper arms following waxing of hair in that area. It comes as a shock to them, when we tell that waxing could have aggravated the acne in that area. So often, we are asked which is the best way to remove hair- is it shaving or waxing?

While LASER HAIR REMOVAL is the only way to get permanent hair reduction, temporary solutions such as shaving, waxing, epilation and hair removal creams are commonly used for hair removal.

Shaving is a better option for temporary hair removal on legs, arms, and back. It involves just superficial removal of hair contrary to waxing, where the hair is pulled out after application of hot wax.  A hot wax application could block the pores and result in acne. Similarly, pulling of hair could irritate the hair follicles more and cause more inflammation & folliculitis (infection of hair follicles).

Often, there is a myth attached to the shaving of hair that it can make the hair grow thicker and make the skin dark. Neither of them is true! Shaving involves only a superficial removal of hair. It does not have any effect on the hair roots. Hence, cannot make the hair grow thicker. Whatever hair has to grow, will grow. Similarly, it does not do anything to the skin color.

So what about face? Waxing is a definite NO to remove hair on the face for the same reasons mentioned above. The facial skin is very sensitive, can react overtly to waxing for many. There are exclusive face epilators which can be safely used for the hair removal on face.

As mentioned before, LASER HAIR REMOVAL is the only option available for safe hair reduction, which is permanent and safe.

Read http://www.dermecure.com/laserhairremoval.php for more details




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WINTER Call for Skin

Now that the rainy season is setting in, we get to see patients with various winter related skin diseases. The common among them is Eczema, which is nothing but a red, dry, itchy skin. Another common skin issue during this climate is Psoriasis, which is similar to eczema but with more scaling, dryness and with itching sometimes.

Basic skin care during winter for patients who already suffer from the above mentioned disease would be to start applying some medicated moisturisers, especially with ingredients such as ceramides, hyaluronic acid, shea butter , wheat germ oil and  vitamin E, to mention few. It is vital to use moisturisers at least 3 to 4 times daily to give a sustained hydration to the dry skin. There are few oral moisturisers which have recently come up, about which you can discuss with your skin physician before consuming them.

Avoiding agents which can cause dryness might be of help to reduce the dryness, such as hand wash, detergents and soaps. Rather switch over to moisturising soaps, which can prevent overt drying of skin.

In spite of the moisturisers if the itching, dryness or the redness continues , then it is best to visit your skin physician to get some short term strong creams such as steroids or oral medicines. Please do not get over-the-counter medications for the same as long-term use or injudicious use of them can worsen the existing skin problem.



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Understanding Acne/Pimples as a multi-factorial skin disease.

Acne/pimples which once used to be a skin disease of adolescent, have now become a lifestyle problem. We often see patients in their late 20s and 30s presenting with acne/pimples on face, chest and back. Invariably, the common questions, we as skin physician face are- Why are the pimples still continuing at my 30s? Doesn’t it stop after teens? When will I get a clear skin?

We often see patients with acne in age group as young as 10 years and sometimes as old as 50 years.  It is imperative to understand that Acne is more than justhormone changes. It is a multi-factorial disease and it is difficult to find one particular cause for it. The reasons for acne could be different for different people.

Treating acne does not end with giving antibiotics or antibacterial gels; rather it requires a complete assessment of one’s lifestyle. This will include assessing one’s hormone status, assessing dietary impact, assessing impact of occupation, assessing mental status and other environmental factors such as climate.

Still no research has proved to “CURE” acne. However, understanding your skin by assessing the above factors would help curb acne to a great extent

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Pores on the face can get blocked with sebum (oil secretion) and dead skin which causes clogging and results in a blackhead or a whitehead.


Anything which blocks your skin pores could result in blackheads or whiteheads. Especially if you have excessive oily skin, it could block the skin pores with dead skin resulting in a blackhead. It is not dirt as most people believe. It is simply oxidized oil. Sometimes the clogged pores appear as white bumps under the skin, which does not seem to go away easily, called as white heads or comedones. Using creamy or oily products could as well, cause blocking of pores.


– If the clogged pores appears more as whiteheads (present under the skin), do not try to extract it manually as it may result in scarring. Rather, consult with your dermatologist for prescription of retinoid tablets which would help in opening up of the blocked pore and clearing the comedones.

– Sometimes manual extraction preferably by your dermatologist, would be of help. Certain products which contain keratolytic agents such as salicylic acid will help clear the pores from within and keep clogging under control.

– Do a steam inhalation or sauna to open up the pores. Wipe the face with a soft wash  cloth or sponge. Following this, wash your face with salicylic based foaming gel to cleanse the pores. Finish, with applying ice pack to reduce the size of pores and prevent further clogging. Do this routine weekly once.


Pores cannot be removed completely from the skin, as they are natural opening on the skin. However, products containing retinol could reduce the size of the skin pores and make them less visible. Antioxidants such as vitamin C serum help prevent oxidation of sebum & prevent blocking of pores.



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Dandruff Treatment

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Patient’s  with under-eye circle often, question-why they get dark circles in spite of good sleep?  

This blog is all about under-eye circles and recent developments in its management. When the skin is thin surrounding the eye, it shows up the blood vessels underneath and cause dark circles. The common reasons for skin thinning around eyes are:  hereditary, aging, sun-damage and deep orbital socket. While the above are the basic causes for under-eye circle, there are few factors which can aggravate the appearance of dark circles such as : smoking, alcoholism, sleeplessness, starvation, thyroid and adrenal problems, bleeding disorders.

Now there are various creams available in the market to manage under-eye circles. Scientific studies have shown that creams which contains 2% phytonadione, Retinol Palmitate and Vitamin C and Vitamin E can improve the appearance of dark –circles. Opt for temporary measures such as concealers from time to time,  to mask the under-eye circles.

Other important steps to prevent under-eye circles include:

  1. Apply sunscreens in the morning. As sun can damage the collagen under skin and worsen the dark circles.
  2. Stop smoking.
  3. Massage an aqua-based moisturisers at night, to keep skin hydrated. Do not use thick paraffin based moisturises as it can be heavy on skin.
  4.  Use Vitamin A based creams, especially one containing retinol palmitate. This smoothens fine wrinkles and helps prevent dark circles.
  5. To calm puffy eyes, place cold spoons, slices of cucumbers, chilled tea bags. Sliced potatoes provides a bleaching effect.
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DANDRUFF is one of the most common hair problem

how to avoid dandruff


DANDRUFF is one of the most common hair problem faced by men and women alike.
the white flakes can be annoying and embrassing and they only show themselves at the ost
inappropriate of times
what more . they also cause ACNE

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Understanding Cosmetic Melanosis

Most people have an unspoken feeling that gravitates towards having a fairer complexion. The journey in search of the products, which claims to offer fairer tone, is widely expanding. It is expanded in such a pace, that people are often swept away by the marketing gimmicks.  Various pharmaceutical companies and cosmetic corporations endorse skin-lightening products through print media , internet and television. Thus, customers often compromise on the logical understanding of the products: how exactly it works? what could be the possible results or side effects (if any)?  are the results long lasting?

An increasing impetus to have a fairer skin tone, often results in a paradoxical effect- Cosmetic Melanosis. This is a condition, where the skin gets more darkened than before due to injudicious use of bleaching creams and over-the-counter (OTC) skin glow products. This article elucidates about Cosmetic Melanosis and the ways to prevent the same.

Hydroquinone (Hq) is the most common depigmenting agent available in the market. It gives a drastic colour change over a short period. However, the FDA and other standard setting agencies have reported that, long term use of Hq can result in blue-black darkening and thickening of skin, a condition called Ochronosis.  A study was conducted, amongst darker skin individuals from two South African hospitals. Among 69% of patients who used skin-lightening agents, 42% of females and 15% of males were recognised with Ochronosis.  Hq also makes skin sensitive to sunlight. Hence, it is mandatory to use good sun-safety measures when using Hq containing products. Nevertheless, most patients who buy OTC products are not aware of the importance of sun protection. Thus, they notice skin darkening in spite of using this agent continuously.

In fact, Hq is banned in certain parts of the world due to its long-term side effects. In India, 2% Hq is available over the counter and 4% available from doctor’s prescription. However, it is not advisable to use Hq more than 3 months due to its side effects. Though, the National toxicology programme, which provides scientific study data to FDA in U.S is still assessing the long-term dermal toxicity effects of Hq, there are few animal studies, indicating that oral Hq has carcinogenicity and immunotoxic properties.

In addition to Hq, the other common ingredients in skin glow products are steroids and tretinoin ( Vitamin A derivative).  Tretinoin helps in penetration of Hq, whilst steroid helps in reducing the irritation caused by tretnoin and Hq. This combination is studied worldwide and is proven effective in skin lightening. However, if used over a wide-time frame, steroids can result in side effects such as acne, hirsutism and telengectesia (fine blood vessels under skin) and skin atrophy. Similarly, imprudent use of tretinoin, can result in retinoid dermatitis, where there is intense irritation, dryness and redness of the skin. Using Hq and tretnoin continuously in areas with thin skin such as nasolabial folds and around eyes, can result in hyperchromia (skin darkening). Thus, it is worth an effort to have these products prescribed by a skin specialist who would advice rightly on how to apply these products and for how long to apply.

Another common way of masking skin pigmentation is through use of bleaching agents. In many areas, unregulated products are sold without listing their contents.  These agents often contain steroids, Hq and mercury oxide. In most bleaching products, Hq may be included with different names such as Quinol, Benzene-1, 4-Diol, Tequinol and many more. Thus, the customers are not aware of the exact product contents. Mercury can cause skin and nail darkening gradually. In a study conducted in 620 females from Saudi Arabia, most females were forced to use the bleaching agents, as stopping them caused more darkening of the skin. Thus, they were compelled to carry on the practice of using bleaching agents.

It is always worth an effort to understand the reasons behind pigmentation, before commencing any treatment with the skin glow products. The reasons can vary from simple sun damage to inflammatory skin disorders. Doctor’s palette of skin brightening treatment options are widely increasing ranging from topical agents to physical treatment options such as chemical peeling and lasers. A formal assessment with the skin specialist will help with:

-Understanding of the pigmentary problem in depth

-Understanding different treatment options

-Choosing the option according to your concern and skin type

-Understanding how the treatment works

-Precautions while switching treatment options

– Understanding the side effects and how to get it treated, if any


Thus, the treatment through a skin specialist will be individualised according to patient’s skin characteristic and cosmetic concerns unlike OTC products, to prevent adverse effects such as Cosmetic Melanosis.

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