What do you do if you have unhealthy or bad skin?
Teenagers like to experiment to improve their complexion and hair. In the fervor of their new found awareness, they would love to try out a shampoo that a friend might have used. Seeing the friend’s hair grow healthier encourages them to use the same product, little realizing that it may not suit them, says beautician Rajni Agarwal of Gorgeous Beauty Parlor in the city. Hygiene and cleanliness have taken second place, laments Agarwal.
Nowadays youngsters are exposed to a range of commercial and herbal beauty products like Oriflame, Avon, Aviance, Revlon, etc., which are available openly in India. A lot of good herbal beauty products like Shahnaz Herbals, Ayurvedic Concepts, etc. are also available. Agarwal who specializes in Shahanz Hussain’s herbal beauty treatment avers that one must buy creams and lotions from shops that you know do not sell spurious products. Also one should not go according to what is written in magazines or even brochures, she advises.
If you have a dandruff problem, don’t use a clinical shampoo instead use a good herbal shampoo after consulting your beautician. It is also best to consult a beautician before using peel–off masks, scrubs, sunscreens, shampoos, hand lotions or sea bath lotions. A good nail strengthener plays a dual role in not only making them look attractive but also keeping them strong, Agarwal opines. Pollution, hard water and dry weather add to the problem.
Identifying your skin type before using beauty products is very important, reiterates Agarwal. The best way to identify which cosmetics will suit you is by doing a self grooming course, she informs. Doing the course at a reputed beauty parlor may be a little expensive but you can obtain personalized information on what will suit you best.
What do you do if your beautician gives up?
If you want to improve you complexion, then consulting your beautician is appropriate, agrees Dr Tolat. Generally, most teens get carried away by advertisements. Before using a product, its content and authenticity must be verified with your dermatologist," beautician Agarwal is quick to add.
Many youngsters also opt for cosmetic surgery like face lifts or brace lifts. Cosmetic surgery also helps remove blemishes and scars on your skin. Ten years ago, cosmetic surgery was just a branch of medicine, but lately it has developed into a popular treatment, says Dr Shah. Today, there is treatment available for every cosmetic blemish like acne, depressed scars, skin tags, warts or birth marks, or white spots on the face or body.
At each grade a new line of treatment is available. There are good acne–saddled drugs available in the market. If treated in the early stage, the intensity of acne can be brought down. Is allopathic treatment better than other types of medication like homeopathy, ayurveda or even herbal treatment? According to Dr Tolat, very few conditions respond dramatically. Allopathic doctors refrain from prescribing commercial remedies to skin problems. "Critically, allopathy is a better science of medicine as it deals with hard facts. There are no dadi ma’s treatments in this science, asserts Dr Tolat. Some skin specialists do prescribe herbal medication. Dr Shah maintains: “Ayurvedic and herbal products are sometimes more effective than allopathic medicines”.
Medication for a skin problem should preferably be prescribed by an skin specialist. “It angers a doctor to see a patient whose skin problem has become worse due to wrong medication prescribed by quacks or those who are not qualified”, says dermatotherapist Dr Narendra Patwardhan. There are a few drugs called Retinoids which are exclusively used to treat nodulo cystic acne and should be prescribed only by a dermatologist, he argues. “Allopathic treatment is good in spite of some side–effects they might produce. For instance, if a Retinoid drug is prescribed, the patient must not get pregnant for six months as it can affect the fetus”, cautions Dr Patwardhan.
The downside is that some Retinoid drugs are imported and not easily available in the market. So, people have to buy them from the black market. Also a major stumbling block faced by dermatologists is that they have to pay high Government duties on equipment like laser equipment which is required for acne scars. “Surgical laser machines are less expensive than cosmetology laser machines”. reveals Dr Patwardhan.
Many alternative forms of treatment are available for skin problems. Most of them are experimental and should be undertaken only with after due counseling and consultations. Commercially launched in late 90’s, the Kerala Ayurvedic Treatment Center has brought traditional Ayurvedic treatment that has been practiced since a thousand years in Kerala to the masses. The therapy claims to cure many ailments including skin problems. All medication is prescribed after personal consultation with a doctor qualified in Ayurvedic science. After the ailment is isolated, medication is given depending on how chronic the patient’s condition is and how he/she responds to the treatment. Skin–related therapies offered are sarvakaya abhiyanga (complete body massage to remove stress and tension), a rejuvenation package which is a combination of mukhlepam (facial massage), keshpalanam (hair and scalp massage), oral medication and oil massage, and the traditional kitdhi treatment. The Kerala Ayurveda treatment claims to cure freckles, pimples/acne, rashes and psoriasis (itchy dark patches that spread fast on skin).
Or, you could try aromatherapy. With so much pollution around us aromatherapy is a quick way to stimulate your body. The therapy promises many mental and physical benefits. The aromas can be used as perfumes with massage oils (during bathing) as an inhalant. The therapy claims to help get rid if scars, acne and blemishes, dandruff, relieve sunburn and also provides cure for eczema and dermatitis. If you have pimples/acne or have sensitive skin or are pregnant, it is advisable to consult a beautician or a aromatherapist before use.
Keeping your skin healthy
- Have a bath twice a day, especially if you live in tropical areas. Sweating predisposes a person to most infections.
- Use mild soaps and avoid over soaping.
- Include leafy vegetables in your daily diet. Vitamin A in the vegetables is good for your skin.
- Include carrots and beetroot in your diet. Betacarotene found in these vegetables is a natural sunscreen.
- Use a scarf in the afternoons. Liquids and lotions are not as good a sunscreen as a cloth.
- Aerobic exercises when done regularly help build immunity naturally against skin infections.
- In case of persistent and itchy rashes, approach your doctor at once.
- Avoid overeating, spicy food and irregular eating habits.
- Avoid using hard water for bathing.
- Avoid wearing tight fitting clothes, as occlusive clothes do not allow sweat to evaporate.
- Avoid late nights.
- Facial resurfacing (CO2 slash to peel): To remove pimple–scars and blackheads.
- Peeling : Chemical peels for superficial pigmentation.
- Cryotherapy or Micro–epiderm Abrasion: Treatment for superficial pigmentation and scars. Aluminium Hydroxide micro crystals are rubbed on the upper layer of skin. The cost of treatment depends on the skin area covered.
- Non–surgical face lift (like removal of double chin) and brace lift (on calves and thighs): To bring back the muscle tone in the area. Requires lifelong maintenance.
- Cosmetic surgery/laser surgery for skin aesthetics: To remove skin tags, freckles, moles, warts, wrinkles and disfigured skin after chicken pox.
- Surgical treatment by skin graft or micro–pigmentation: For removal of static resistant patches of vitiligo (patches of unpigmented skin) and leucoderma (white spots).
- Superficial X–ray: Therapy for chronic eczemas.
- Electrolysis: Removal of excess facial hair.
- Iontophonesis: For excessive sweating at palms, soles and armpits.