Thursday, March 28, 2013

Treat Marks, Patches on your skin

A handy cause-and-remedy guide to marks and patches on your skin

On: Stomach and thighs

These are fat deposits that sit below the surface of the skin, giving it a dimpled appearance like the rough skin of an orange. Cellulite accumulates on the abdomen, lower limbs, and the pelvic region.
What causes it: "Unlike what most people believe, being overweight or thin has no bearing on the incidence of cellulite, although shedding some kilos can help reduce its incidence," says Thomas. The thickness and colour of your skin, hormonal changes, total body fat, rate of metabolism, crash dieting and lack of physical activity are major contributing factors.
How to beat it: Cellulite is difficult to beat with medication although sundry pills and creams are available in the market. "Creams that claim to dissolve fat, often contain a compound called amino phylline which narrows the blood vessels by forcing water out of the skin. This is dangerous since it can cause blood circulation problems and allergies," says Thomas. Keeping your skin hydrated and indulging in exercise can work towards reducing its appearance.

Dark and light patches
On: Hands, feet, face

Prolonged exposure to the sun and bad hygiene play a part in discolouration on your face, hands and feet.
What causes it: Rubbing your skin with pumice stones and rough sponges can end up causing skin discolouration. "Friction causes the skin cells in the epidermis layer to die," says dermatologist Dr Manohar Sobhani, adding, "This leads to the deposit of amyloid, a type of protein, forming dark spots or patches. Regular back and forth wiping of the back with a towel, and the use of artificial scrubbers on your arms, elbows and knees can leave you with dark patches." Poor hygiene can lead to fungal growth on your skin, causing de-pigmentation also known as tinea versicolor. These light patches resemble spots seen in vitiligo disease. Sweating in tropical weather conditions, skipping a bath, and not drying yourself after a shower can be contributors.
How to beat it: Be gentle with your skin. Use natural loofas and sponges made of plant extracts. Human skin has a Ph level of 5.5. Use soaps and cleansers that match this level, to avoid irritation. Always take a shower after exercising. Check with your dermatologist and rule out skin allergies to perfumes and deodorants.

Spider veins
On: Ankle

The red, blue or purple patterns that resemble a spider's web are most commonly found around the ankle.
What causes it: Dr Mohan Thomas, senior consultant, cosmetic surgery at Breach Candy Hospital, says factors such as abnormal » blood flow and weak vein walls cause spider veins. "It can be occupational hazard for people who are constantly on their feet. On the other hand, sedentary jobs lead to a lack of movement that can cause the blood to remain stagnant in veins, leading to an increase in venous pressure, causing the capillaries to stretch and dilate. That's what gives the skin a characteristic purple colour," he says. Wearing tight clothing and under garments can add to the problem.
How to beat it:Wearing support calf stockings, keeping the legs elevated when resting, and doing calf muscle exercises can help channel the blood flow from the veins to the heart. Consult your dermatologist if you wish to undergo sclerotherapy.

Here, saline is injected into the vein forming an internal scar tissue, and fading the mark over time.

Stretch marks
On: Belly, thighs

When stretched, your skin thins out just like a plastic bag, leaving permanent marks. Stretch marks are common among pregnant woman, teenagers who put on and lose weight radically around their abdomen, butt, thighs and shoulders, and adults who work out.
What causes it: The marks appear on your body when collagen, a fibrous protein that makes up to 75 per cent of your skin, is affected. "Babies don't develop stretch marks even though their bodies are growing because their skin is well nourished," says Sobhani. "The problem arises when the natural order of collagen fibres is disrupted due to an unhealthy lifestyle, bad eating habits and aging." Exposure to ultra violet radiation and free radicals from smoking add to collagen woes.
How to beat it: Despite your age, stretch marks can be made less prominent by stimulating the redistribution of existing collagen and promoting new collagen synthesis in the skin. Eat foods that are high on vitamin C and E, both of which are known to assist manufacture of the protein. Keep your skin well hydrated since dry skin is more susceptible to developing marks. Nourish it every day with a moisturiser.


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