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 Skin & Hair

July 2011
Skincare During the Rains
Dr. Radha Shah
 
The heat-induced rashes of summertime give way to the humidity-induced problems of the rainy season.

Fungal Infections:
Fungus thrives in humidity – wet skin folds rubbing against each other get macerated easily, providing easy entry to fungi and yeast. As a result, you develop itchy, circular, reddish, flaky patches on the body, especially in skin folds at the groin, underarms and around the breasts in women. Fungal infections can also affect your feet, especially if you wear closed shoes all day. Staying dry is the best way to avoid fungal infection. Use plenty of talcum powder to prevent accumulation of sweat and moisture in skin folds.

Athlete's Foot: This is a combined bacterial and fungal infection that affects people whose feet stay wet for hours, especially after exposure to dirty water. Starting from the toes, the skin turns whitish or greenish, itches terribly and there may even be a foul-smelling discharge or pus. Thoroughly washing your feet with soap and hot water, and then drying them completely, can prevent this. A good disinfectant may be added to the water.

Pityriasis Versicolor: Patients develop light or brown coloured scaly patches on the body, usually chest, back and neck. As these usually don't disturb the patient, treatment is sought only for cosmetic reason or if it spreads rapidly and extensively. The problem can be avoided by keeping skin clean and dry, using good absorbent talcum powders. It can be treated with antifungal creams, lotions and powders.

Pruritus(itching):
Very commonly people experience itching on exposed areas or even the whole body after getting drenched in the rain or staying in wet clothes for a long time. It usually settles after drying the skin and applying body lotions or Calamine lotion. Sometimes, it proceeds to Urticaria, when red, raised rashes develop after scratching and settle down by themselves in few minutes or hours.

Viral Rashes:
As environmental temperature drops, there is a rise in viral infections, usually of the throat and accompanying viral rashes on the skin are seen more often. These are usually widespread, red, itchy, flat or raised rashes, which may last for a day or about a week. It does not need special treatment except for anti allergics, if itchy, or soothing lotions.

Dry Skin:
Dryness of the legs and arms gets accentuated in cool weather and aggravation of eczemas or dermatitis is seen in the predisposed.

Pitted Keratolysis: This is seen in people who wear wet socks and shoes for long hours. This infection is seen as small pits or holes on the soles of both feet and the surrounding skin is whitish or macerated. Keeping skin dry and clean and using antifungal creams and powder can easily manage this problem.

Skincare Tips
  • Observe good hygiene – have bath twice a day, taking care to clean the problem areas of groin, underarms, in between the toes and under the breasts (in women). Keep these areas dry.
  • Use a good absorbing talcum powder after bath.
  • Use a face scrub twice a week to exfoliate.
  • Avoid heavy moisturising creams or oily foundations and cream-based colour makeup. Use a light mousse or a matte compact or simply a few drops of calamine lotion as a makeup base.
  • A facewash containing alpha hydroxyl acid helps to freshen the skin, but do not use it more than once a day.
  • Use a toner each time you wash your face to close the pores and restore your skin's pH balance.
  • Chemical peels (skin treatment performed by dermatologists) are also an excellent way to freshen up dull skin and the monsoon is the best weather for them – as there is no risk of sun exposure and sensitivity after the peeling session. There are a variety of peels available nowadays: skin-lightening peels, acne peels, peels for sensitive skin, arginine peels for under-eye circles etc. Ask your dermatologist for details.

  • Although moisturisers to be avoided on the oily skin of the face, it should be applied on the arms and legs to avoid dryness.

  Dr.Radha Shah is Dermatologist, Apollo Health City, Hyderadad.


    
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