January 6, 2016
Human skin color varies from different hues of brown to pink. The pigment which determines the skin color of each individual is called as melanin. The skin color evolved primarily to protect the skin from the harmful UV rays. People who live near equator with high exposure to UV rays have more melanin pigments for protection. Hence they are dark skinned. People who live closer to the poles with less UV exposure have less melanin pigments and are light skinned.
Change in skin color can happen due to various reasons. Changes in skin tone because of tanning or scars are considered normal. Other changes which require medical advice are considered as skin abnormality.
Tanning is caused when the skin is exposed to excessive sun rays. The body tends to produce more melanin for UV protection. The area exposed to sun rays becomes darker than the rest of the body results in uneven skin tone. Tanning is not exactly a skin condition or abnormality. Covering the exposed areas or using a sunscreen can protect one from the UV rays. But overexposure to UV rays can cause sun burns, skin ageing and even skin cancer.
Scars are a form of tissues called fibrous which replaces the normal skin after an injury. Simple scars from small wounds, acne, itchy insect bites can fade away in weeks. Any other major wound or surgery can cause permanent scars. Even though the skin looks different from the rest of the body, scarring is considered as a natural part of the healing process. There are some treatments available as well to remove the scars.
Hyper pigmentation is caused because of the over production of melanin but it is not only because of the exposure to UV rays. Hyper pigmentation can be because of the various following reasons. Pregnancy can be one of the main reasons for hyper pigmentation. The skin is darkened around neck and at the lower part of stomach which eventually goes away after the child birth. Decrease in the function of adrenal gland can cause hyper pigmentation. Use of certain medication is one of the reasons for hyper pigmentation. Skin inflammation, fungal infection, accumulation of iron in the body, exposure to mercury and smoking are the other reasons for hyper pigmentation.
Acanthosis Nigricans is a type of hyper pigmentation caused by hormonal imbalance. It results in occurrence of dark patches on neck, under arms and knuckles. The dark patch is nothing but extra skin cells produced by the imbalanced hormones regulating the blood sugar level called insulin. Sedentary lifestyle, junk food, lack of exercise, obesity, diabetics and polycystic ovary syndrome are the causes of Acanthosis Nigricans.
These dark parches are often mistaken as dirt accumulation. Irrespective of regular cleaning and scrubbing, these patches won’t fade away. Doctor consultation is a must to treat this condition. Proper medication along with healthy food and lifestyle changes can help to overcome the condition.
December 24, 2015
Let’s say you are planning for an important event for so long. You want everything to be perfect from the venue to the way you look on that day. The night before the D day, you have sorted out everything such as what time to start, how to reach the location, what dress to wear etc. Finally the day has arrived and with loads of excitement, you are looking in to the mirror hoping to see the perfect you. What if you find a little pop on your face? This pop also popularly known as pimple or acne can totally spoil your mood and make you feel like cancelling the entire plan. This little monster can cause jittersmore than a horror movie.
Acne is not a teenage problem alone. From tiny zits to scarring cysts, acne can affect anyone irrespective of age and gender. We all wish for a clear skin without acne or acne marks. So what causes acne? Before we explore the causes of acne, we should be able to differentiate the different types of acne.
- When they appear as small, congested pores they are known as comedones, also known as blackheads or whiteheads.
- When they are tender red bumps, they are known as papules.
- When they are tender, red or with a yellow tinge, pus-filled, they are known as pustules.
- Nodule is a severe type of acne. They are large, hard bumps under the skin’s surface. Scarring is common.
- Cyst is the most severe form. It appears similar to a nodule, but is pus-filled. It can be painful and scarring is common.
Let’smove on to the major causes of Acne,
- Hyperkeratinization (increased production of skin cells called Keratin)
- Excess Sebum/ oil production by oil glands called Sebaceous glands.
- Increased multiplication of bacteria called P. acnes.
- Hormonal Imbalance
Now as we know the types and causes of acne, let’s explore the prevention methods and treatment options in the upcoming posts.
December 1, 2015
From Rapunzel to the girl from latest 4g advertisement, irrespective of the length of the hair, everyone wants a healthy hair which doesn’t shed at all.
A few hair strands on the comb after combing can cause mild heart attack to anyone. We spend hours in front of the mirror thinking “Am I going bald?”, “What is causing hair fall?” “What is the right thing to do to stop hair fall?” We are ready to try every possible ways from home remedies to over the counter medicines to stop hair fall.
But wait! Let’s take a pause here and think. Do we really know about our hair? What is it made of? How the growth happens? Why hair strands fall?
Let’s talk about hair. Shall we?
The Hair Mechanism
What appears to be a thin strand has a whole mechanism happening inside. It is so true that we should not judge something by its appearance.
The hair manufacturing unit consists of 3 parts – Hair follicle, sebaceous gland, dermal papilla. The hair follicle is a pouch shaped structure inside which the entire hair machinery functions. Sebaceous gland is an oil secreting gland which provides enough moisture and lustrous shine to the hair. Derma papilla is the gateway for all the hair growth ingredients such as blood vessels, amino acids, vitamins, minerals etc
The main hair ingredients which are responsible for the health and growth of the hair strands are keratin, melanin, water, minerals and vitamins.
Keratin is a protein component which is also present in our skin and nails. It is resistant to wear and tear and it is one of the main ingredients which determine the health of the hair. Melanin is a pigment which determines the color of the hair (black, blonde, brunette). Hair is made of 10-13% of water. Minerals are the chemical elements required for hair growth and vitamins are the organic components required for healthy hair growth.
You are what you eat holds perfect when it comes to hair. Drinking more water, eating vitamin and mineral rich foods can promote hair growth and make the hair lustrous and strong.
The portion of the hair we see outside from the scalp is called Shaft. The shaft consists of three layers. Cuticle is the outer most layer which defines the appearance of the hair, medulla is the inner most layer which adds strength to the hair and cortex is the layer between cuticle and medulla which contains melanin and keratin.
We are sure that you must have amazed by the entire hair mechanism. Now the million dollar question is “what causes hair fall?” Of course we are getting there but you have to wait till our next blog post.