Here is how to know- when to change your skin products?

Our skin and hair are ever changing. On an average, our skin and hair show changes every 1 to 2 years. These changes are subjected to changes in the way our hormones work, our lifestyle, our food intake, our sleep and weather changes. Hence, the skin products which you had used before, might not suit your skin all of a sudden. Never mind! It indicates that it is time to change the products. The below are a few signs and symptoms for you to decide upon reconsidering your skin care products:
Unusual redness or irritation on the skin with the usual products could occur anytime. For example, a person who has used hair dye for many years could suddenly get allergic to the contents in it. Your skin could show sudden sensitivity to the contents of the product, even if you have used it for many years. Hence, better to take a dermatology opinion and consider changing the product that you are using.

Changes on the skin such as appearances of breakouts, blemishes, wrinkles and photo damage are signs to reconsider your product. Our skin is subjective to changes with hormones and aging. For example, teens using certain creams at the age of 11 or 12, might notice that they are breaking out with the same at the age of 15. Hence, reconsider your products if there are sudden changes in your skin.

This is very common and most of you would have experienced sudden dryness or scaling of skin especially in the winter. Your daily products might not be sufficient and you would require a change in the products. Similarly, patient traveling to a different country might notice that their usual products are not suiting their skin. Then, it is time to review your daily routine and change accordingly.

4. IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN TRYING NEW BRANDS OR NEW PRODUCTS: Most of us love trying different products on our skin. Especially the packaging and the colours in the product attract us to use it. But, make sure that you are not carried away, rather buy products, which you think are really necessary for your skin. It is no harm in trying to change the product, but make sure to try smaller samples of it if possible. Or you could check the review of the product online before deciding to buy it.

If you are keen on changing your skin care routine, first find out what your skin would require from a skin expert. Find, what types of skin products your skin will require and invest wisely on the products.

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Obesity and Skin Diseases

Obesity is a progressive health disorder worldwide. Obesity results in various skin diseases. However, there is less attention towards managing obesity as a part of managing skin diseases.
Skin diseases due to obesity occur due to the following reasons
1. Hormone dysfunction due to obesity: Obesity results in features of hyperandrogenism, which includes acne, hirsutism ( increased hair growth), patterned hair loss resulting in early balding, acanthosis ( darkening of skin on flexural areas of the body), skin tags and seborrheic warts. Obesity results in polycystic ovarian disease which includes all the above-mentioned features along with irregular periods. Obesity has become so common that , nowadays 80% of females suffer from PCOD.

2. Skin infections due to occlusion: Increased weight could result in occlusion of flexural areas such as underarms and groin region, which results in the accumulation of body secretions. This could be a source of common infections such as fungal rashes and yeast infections. Similarly, bacterial infections such as furuncles, body acne and hidradenitis suppurative ( infected nodules in flexural areas) are common in obese patients.

3. Immune dysfunction: Obesity could cause immune dysfunction which could result in disorders which affect the skin barrier function such as psoriasis and lichen planus.

Thus obesity is related to several skin diseases. Skin diseases of obese patients deserve particular attention as these diseases are mostly preventable if the patients could consider improving their lifestyle.

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FOOD and ACNE- A myth or reality?

Earlier and still many assume that food is not associated with acne. However, research has proven that food habits have an effect on acne prone skin. There is special mention of dairy products such as milk, sweets, chocolates, cheese, butter and ghee. These could increase something called insulin growth factor, which in turn can induce the androgen function and result in excess sebum secretion. Hence it is advisable to control the consumption of these products as much as possible to control break-outs. Similarly, animal proteins such as chicken, egg, lamb meat and beef could as well aggravate acne. Still, a debate prevails for use of health proteins in acne patients. As physicians, we encounter a lot many people with acne which worsens after the start of health supplements. We have also noticed patients presenting with acne immediately after starting the protein powders. Studies show that high meat intake, high dairy intake and high carb diets could stimulate a complex metabolic pathway called mTORC1, which is a nutrient-sensitive kinase.
These days most teenagers continue to have acne to their adulthood. With high intake of western diets and our lifestyle factors such as stress, less sleep, environmental pollution and injudicious use of cosmetic products, the prevalence of acne has become more common among adults. Hence it is appropriate to consider dietary factors while on treatment for the acne. A question arises if the above-mentioned products should completely be stopped? Well, there is no research on that as such. However, if at any point of time, if you feel your acne is very recurrent and not responding well to any of the treatments given, consider “DIETARY” changes.

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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. Skin Specialist Chennai

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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.

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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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