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FIGHTING FUNGUS

Friday, July 22, 2016

If you don’t have an effective skincare regime, you could contract a fungal infection — especially during this season. Purva Indulkar tells you what precautions you should be taking during the monsoon

The monsoon has hit the city in all its strength now and we’re struggling with itchy feet from wet socks and red patches caused by a mixture of moisture and sweat. These are all signs of fungal infections, which can occur throughout the year if you don’t take proper care of your skin, but affect you most during the monsoons. If your skin stays wet for too long, you will begin to notice the rise of common infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm and itching. What’s that you say? You’re forced to sit in an air-conditioned office room in rain-soaked clothes? Join the club! We tell you what you need to do to avoid common monsoon infections, but just in case you already have a skin issue that refuses to go away (even after you try all those home remedies!), it’s wise to not take it lightly. Consult a dermatologist at the first sign of an infection.

Monsoon madness
Why do fungal infections affect us most during the monsoon? During this season, humidity is high, we sweat a lot and oil deposits settle on to our skin and hair. These wet areas around our body, especially in skin folds at the groin, underarms and around the breasts (for women) are the perfect spots for fungus to thrive in — they provide an easy entry for fungi and yeast. Due to this you could develop itchy, circular, reddish and flaky patches near these areas. If you wear closed shoes all day, fungal infections might also affect your feet.

Your skincare routine
Don’t want to spend big bucks on dozens of products? Don’t have enough time for a 45-minute spa ritual? We help you out with tips for the simplest, most basic, but also most important routine.

  •  Cleansing Use a non-soapy face wash to cleanse your skin at least three or four times every day. Ensure that you wash your skin when you come indoors (regardless of whether it’s been raining), as this will remove excess oil and dirt from your pores and let your skin breathe. Wash with soap to remove impurities, but avoid using anti-fungal and perfumed soaps to protect your skin’s natural oils. Avoid rubbing your skin when you want to dry it.


This can cause hyperpigmentation. Instead, dab your skin gently with a towel.

  •  Toning To maintain the natural pH balance of your skin, use a non-alcoholic skin toner twice a day. Doing this after a shower as well as before bed will revive your skin and give it a healthy glow.
     
  •  Moisturising Moisturising is essential, because your skin tends to dry out faster during the monsoon. Apply rose water, glycerin or almond oil before going to bed. This will keep your skin feeling and looking healthy and supple. If you have visible whiteheads or blackheads, minimise oil secretion from your skin with water-based moisturisers or a good cleanser.

Tea tree treasure
Tea tree oil has anti-fungal properties so use it in home remedies to treat athlete’s foot or yeast infections. Use a regular cream, but add a few drops of tea tree oil to it to get rid of an infection. Have a dead toenail? Dab a ball of cotton in tea tree oil and apply it to your toe twice a day. This can also help treat vaginal infections, recurrent herpes labialis, toothaches, infections of the mouth and nose, sore throats, and ear infections.

Monsoon must-dos

  •  Drink water You sweat and your skin loses a lot of water during the monsoon. Drink at least seven or eight glasses of water every day to stay hydrated.
  •  Scrub often Use a good skin scrub (or make one at home) to exfoliate your skin. This will help to remove dead skin cells and keep your skin radiant.
  •  Wash your hair regularly If you step out in the rain, make sure that you wash your hair thoroughly (with a mild shampoo) and use conditioner afterwards.
  •  Wear the right kind of shoes Allow air circulation around your feet and wear sandals or floaters in order to avoid fungal infections. If you must wear closed shoes, dust some talc on the soles of your feet and between your toes to prevent the accumulation of sweat and moisture in the folds of your skin.

CHECKLIST
Stepping out in the rain? Make sure that you have all these things handy:

  •  Sunscreen to reapply from time to time
  •  Dry socks (if you wear socks)
  •  Tissues to wipe away accumulated water
  •  A bottle of water to keep yourself hydrated

EXPERT SPEAK
Dr. Aakriti Mehra, a consultant dermatologist at Enhance Clinics, tells us, “Skin infections are extremely common during the monsoon, mostly because the humidity leads to increased sweating, which in turn creates a conducive environment for pathogens to breed in. These infections can affect your skin, hair and nails, and can be quite troublesome to deal with. They have a tendency to recur if they are not treated correctly. Wearing loose cotton clothes, keeping the folds of your skin dry, avoiding closed shoes and using an anti-fungal powder are some ways to keep these types of infections at bay.”
 

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