BRITTLE, DISCOLOURED NAILS
WHAT CAUSES IT: We often think that leaving on nail polish too long can lead to yellow nails, which are also easily breakable. While that is true, the biggest culprit that causes yellow brittle nails is a fungal infection. "Nail discolouration could be due to fungal infections, trauma, calcium deficiency and other hereditary nail disorders. In most cases, discoloured nails are a result of infections with common fungi that can be found in the air, dust and soil. Chronic medical conditions like diabetes can also affect the appearance of nails," says Dr Simal Soin, dermatologist, Three Graces, New Delhi. "Brittle nails or nails that are prone to breaking show vitamin and mineral deficiency. It can also be due to a long-term habit of nail biting," adds Dr Indu Tolani, dermatologist, Clinic Dermatec, New Delhi .
TACKLE IT: Proper hygiene is very important to fight against fungal nails. It is also recommended not to apply polish to nails suspected of infection. In case of severe problems it is better to consult a doctor rather than stick to home remedies. Dr Soin advices that if nails get brittle as well as discoloured, see a doctor for prescription medicines. Agrees Tolani, who suggests that you need to treat the infection first. "Oral calcium and Vitamin D3 supplements and oral antifungal medications can be prescribed. Locally nail lacquers are used to improve fungal infections," adds Soin.
QUICK FIX: If you have brittle nails that are prone to breakage, then you can camouflage this by opting for artificial gel. UK-based nail and hair expert Pammy Kaul suggests that gel-based artificial nails are the best solution for women with nails that refuse to grow. "The gel nails are easy to apply and you have the option of deciding on your nail length. They are also gentle on the nails. In fact we have found that people with nail-biting problems actually forget to bite their nails once they start wearing gel-based nails." To strengthen the
nail bed of brittle nails, Tolani suggests that you apply coconut oil every night on your nails. During the day, keep the nails shiny and strong by massaging
DRY, DARK KNEES AND ELBOWS
WHAT CAUSES IT: The skin around the knees and elbows is thicker by comparison, and tends to have more pigment than the rest of our body. But constant rubbing and dry skin conditions can actually make the areas darker, drier and harder as time passes. "Many women also get dark pigmentation around their neck, along with their knees and elbows, which is caused by sun exposure, and sometimes it can be due to an allergic reaction to the hair colour that you use. For many, it can also be due to atopic dermatitis, where you will notice thickening and scaling of the skin," explains Tolani.
TACKLE IT: If your dark knees, elbows and neck are due to dryness, try this: use a good body scrub and spend a little extra time during your shower sloughing off the dead skin layer. Do not rub too hard. Pat the area dry and apply rich body butter. Another useful home remedy: mix lemon juice with olive oil and fine sugar granules, apply on the dark, dry areas, rub gently and wash off with tepid water. This works both to lighten the area and moisturise it. When heading out in the sun, you can apply whitening body lotion to ensure that your skin is protected from the sun and extra pigment production.
FIX IT: Tolani says that it is not always possible to completely wipe away pigmentation, but you can lighten it with whitening peels. Always consult a dermatologist if you are planning any treatment. In case of atopic dermatitis, your dermatologist will be able to prescribe the right treatment depending on the stage of your condition.
PATCHY SKIN, UNEVEN PIGMENTATION
WHAT CAUSES IT: Uneven melanin deposition under the skin leads to patchy skin or pigmentation. Pigmentation can appear on your face in two different forms-big patches or as small brown spots. In most cases, the sun is the biggest culprit. Photo damage to the skin leads to melanin getting concentrated in one area. Pigmentation, especially the patchy kinds, is caused by hormonal imbalance. During pregnancy, many women get dark patches on their face and body due to increased hormone levels. In most cases, this kind of pigmentation subsides once the baby is born. However if the pigmentation persists even after delivery, it is important to check with a doctor.
TACKLE IT: First and foremost you have to protect your skin from the sun, and then use products that have melanin inhibitors so that your skin can get even toned, advises Dr Belliappa BR, consultant dermatologist Apollo Hospital, Bengaluru. You have to protect your skin from the harmful rays as your first line of defence. You can use skin brightening creams which have sunscreen and melanin blockers. While the cosmetic products show results to a certain extent, for real effectiveness, try medicated anti-pigment lotions and creams as they have a higher ingredient potency.
FIX IT: Besides using concealers and camouflage make-up, check with your doctor for the actual cause of pigmentation on your face. Belliappa says that laser treatments are a good option to wipe away patchy skin. He also suggests going for lightening peels which can help you deal with pigmentation to quite an extent. In case the pigmentation is very strong, check with your dermatologist for prescription pills.
HAIRY FACE, CHEST, NECK AND BACK
WHAT CAUSES IT: Hirsutism or excessive hair on your face, chest, neck and back is often caused by hormonal imbalance. Informs Soin, "Strong and excessive hair growth on the chest, back and neck could be indicative of a medical condition called idiopathic hirsutism. The excessive hair growth can also occur due to polycystic ovarian disease."
TACKLE IT: The easiest way to tackle excessive hairiness, especially on your face, is to go for regular threading sessions. It can be a painful affair. If your hair quality is thin then you can also bleach the area. However Tolani suggests opting for laser hair removal for long-term results.
FIX IT: It is advisable that you seek the help of a doctor if the growth is dense or you notice a gradual increase in hair density. "In the case of idiopathic hirsutism, the treatment must aim to stop or at least slow down the formation of new terminal hair growth. Generally, the treatment procedure includes three steps, androgen suppression if it involves androgen excess problem; peripheral androgen blockade; and mechanical or cosmetic removal and destruction of unwanted hair," advises Soin.
CELLULITE OR ORANGE PEEL
WHAT CAUSES IT: Cellulite has very little to do with being thin or fat. Cellulite is the orange peel appearance of the skin on the thighs which has to do with hormonal, hereditary and postpartum causes.
The best plan to minimise the appearance of cellulite and stop its proliferation is to strengthen the fibres of the connective tissue so that no more fat can permeate into the dermis," says Soin. Some positive changes in lifestyle like a diet comprising salads and fruits over fried snacks, and keeping oneself well hydrated may also help to manage cellulite. "Regular exercises that help drain toxins from the body is also important in dealing with cellulite," adds Tolani.
FIX IT: While you cannot ever banish cellulite from your body, you can try cellulite treatments such as mesocellulite, LPG, Triactive laser and thermage. Both Soin and Tolani stress on the point that the anti-
cellulite treatments should be done by a trained person-the treatment can help reduce cellulite by about
20 per cent. Both the doctors also say that creams selling the anti-cellulite dream do not work because they cannot penetrate deep under the skin. "Because of its structure under our skin, cellulite can recur after treatment, and in most cases never go away," explains Soin. So stay informed and make the right
Reproduced From Prevention. © 2012. LMIL. All rights reserved.