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Skin peels – Your answer to acne scars, pigmentation, fine lines and other skin problems

Posted by on Dec 13, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Skin peels – Your answer to acne scars, pigmentation, fine lines and other skin problems

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December 12, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Want to get rid of skin problems like acne scars, fine lines, blemishes, pigmentation and more? Skin peels are an effective way to go about it. Depending on your skin damage, your dermatologist will recommend the desired peel best-suited for your skin. Dr Snehal Sriram, a cosmetologist from SevenHills Hospital, explains the nitty-gritty of various skin peels.

What are skin peels?

Skin peels are solutions that are applied on the skin that leads to peeling or exfoliation of a few layers of the skin. They stimulate regeneration of skin, in effect removing the damaged layer and revealing fresher, brighter skin from within.

Skin peels are generally classified as superficial, medium depth and deep peels depending on the depth of exfoliation, and are done under a dermatologist’s supervision. Deep peels are not that suitable for the Indian skin as they may be associated with complications like pigmentary changes.

What do they treat?

Skin peels are essentially used to treat:

  • Acne
  • Acne scars and marks
  • Blemishes and pigmentation

They are also used for other purposes like:

  • Anti-ageing
  • De-tanning
  • Rejuvenation and brightening – regular and for special occasions
  • Regular skin health maintenance

Types of skin peels

Superficial peels work on the top layers of the skin and do not go too deep into it. A few examples of this type are:

Glycolic peel: Originally derived from sugarcane extract, it is one of the most popular peels as it is multifunctional. Available in different concentrations, they work for acne, pigmentation, blemishes and scars. They are also good for regular skincare.

Salicylic peel: This includes combinations like salicylic-azelaic peel and salicylic mandelic peel. It is originally derived from willow bark and is meant for oily and acne prone skin as well as for active acne.

Lactic peel: Originally derived from milk, this is a gentle peel and can be used for all types of skin including sensitive skin. It is also popular as a party peel as it can be done a day prior to a social event without any downtime.

Medium depth peels are used when the damage is more and superficial peels won’t be enough. Types of this peel include:

TCA peel: Partially buffered TCA (trichloroacetic acid) gel peels are safe for Indian skin, offer great results for anti-ageing, acne scars and blemishes. They cause the skin to peel and require about a week’s downtime. They are good to treat matured skin to reduce fine lines and even out skin tone.

Retinol peel: Retinol is a derivative of vitamin A. This peel offers good results for various types of pigmentation and deep acne scars; it also is suitable for all skin types. Depending on the skin damage a single or multiple sessions may be required.

How effective are skin peels?

Peels are very effective in rejuvenation of the upper layers of the skin, in de-tanning, brightening, acne control. For anti-ageing and scar treatments, they work well when combined with dermaroller or fractional laser treatments. For deeper pigmentation, peels need to be combined with Q-switched Nd YAG laser toning.


Though price may vary from clinic to clinic, skin peels typically range from Rs 1,200 to Rs 2,500, depending on the type of peels used and the areas covered.

10 reasons unexplained weight loss needs to be taken seriously

Posted by on Dec 13, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

10 reasons unexplained weight loss needs to be taken seriously

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December 13, 2013 at 9:52 am

You are not dieting; you don’t work out to lose weight; and you are losing weight quickly. Initially, you are not concerned, maybe even you are pleased a little.

Overweight Mani too was pleased when she found herself losing weight and without any effort but little did she know that diabetes was slowly eating into her system. She became aware something was wrong when she started feeling thirsty and hungry all the time and extremely fatigued right from the start of the day. By the time she consulted a doctor and started on medication, her diabetes had progressed too far.

Unexplained weight loss and fatigue are two of the commonest symptoms you will experience with a progressive illness.

Causes of sudden weight loss

There are many possible causes of sudden weight loss. Some of them are discussed here.


Diabetes is a metabolic disorder in which you may have high blood glucose levels (blood sugar) either because sufficient insulin is not produced in your body or because your body does not respond properly to insulin, or even both.

Symptoms: Frequent urination, excessive thirst, intense hunger, weight gain (type-2 diabetes), significant and sudden weight loss (especially in type-1 diabetes), fatigue, cuts and bruises not healing properly, numbness or tingling in feet and hands.


Depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or longer.

Symptoms: Not sleeping or sleeping too much, difficulty concentrating, negative thoughts, feelings of hopelessness and /or helplessness, irritable, suicidal, significant and sudden weight loss.

Overactive thyroid

The thyroid gland produces the hormones thyroid which regulates your body’s metabolism, for example, your heart rate, how quickly you burn calories, and digestion. Thyroid gland also produces a hormone calcitonin that regulates the level of calcium in your blood. When the thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone (overactive), the condition is called hyperthyroidism.

Symptoms: Palpitations, fast and irregular heartbeat, hot flushes and increased sweating, sudden weight loss, shortness of breath, panic attacks, gritty and bulging eyes, fatigue, mood swings, infertility or decreased libido. However, not everyone has all these symptoms. You may relate to just a few of them. You may relate to many of them, too.


Tuberculosis (TB) is a serious infectious disease caused by the bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It mainly affects the lungs. Tuberculosis can also affect the kidneys, spine or brain. The disease can be treated with a six-month course of antibiotics.

Symptoms: Coughing, sometimes with sputum or blood, chest pains, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, fever and night sweats.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a group of lung diseases that block airflow and make breathing difficult. The airflow can be blocked by an inflammation of the lining of bronchial tubes that carry air to and from the lungs, which is called chronic bronchitis. When the air sacs in the lungs are gradually destroyed making breathing difficult it is called emphysema.

Symptoms: Symptoms often don’t appear until significant lung damage has occurred. The symptoms are mainly wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness, frequent respiratory infections, lips or fingernail beds becoming blue, tiredness and unexplained weight loss in the later stages.

Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It causes inflammation of the lining of your digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhea and even malnutrition.

Symptoms: Diarrhoea, abdominal pain, cramps, reduced appetite and weight loss, fatigue, blood in the stool, and ulcers.

Addison’s disease

Addison’s disease is a hormonal disorder in which the adrenal glands produce insufficient amount of hormones, cortisol and, in some cases, aldosterone. It can affect all age groups and both genders.

Symptoms: Weight loss, fatigue, low blood pressure, and muscle weakness.


Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in a body. Cancer can begin in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs (carcinoma) or in bone, cartilage, fat, muscle, blood vessels, or other connective or supportive tissue (sarcoma), or in blood forming tissue such as the bone marrow (leukemia) or in the immune cells (lymphoma and myeloma). When the cancer begins in the brain and spinal cord it is called central nervous system cancer. Sometimes the cancer cells break away from the original cells and attack other organs or tissues; it is then termed metastatic.

Symptoms: Signs and symptoms vary according to the type of cancer. Some of the common symptoms are sudden weight loss, fatigue, unexplained muscle or joint pain, night sweats, lump or thickening under the skin (for example, breast cancer), changes in bowel or bladder habits (bowel cancer), skin changes or changes in the size and color of moles (skin cancer), hoarseness and difficulty swallowing (lung cancer).


Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is just like other viruses, except for one important difference – while the human immune system can destroy other viruses, it can’t flush out this virus. Rather, HIV destroys the immune system so that your body can’t fight infections and diseases anymore and AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection.

Symptoms: HIV infection as such may or may not show symptoms of fever, rash, sore throat, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, ulcer in the mouth and fatigue, but when the HIV infection progresses to AIDS, all these symptoms are prominent. In addition there is sudden weight loss due to wasting, cough and shortness of breath, chronic diarrhoea, and blurred and distorted vision.

Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that causes stiffness in the body and face, or slowing of movement. This disease cannot be cured but medication can improve the symptoms.

Symptoms: Impaired posture and balance, loss of automatic movements such as blinking, smiling or swinging arms when walking, stiff muscles, speech and writing changes, and sudden weight loss. However, weight loss is NOT one of the main symptoms of this disease as is evident from Dr. Melissa Nirenberg’s statement – ‘People with PD often lose weight prior to the diagnosis of PD, for a variety of reasons such as loss of smell and taste.  The weight loss usually levels off once people are on appropriate PD medications.  For this reason, ongoing, unexplained weight loss in PD should never be attributed to PD until more serious medical issues such as cancer and depression have been excluded’.

When to see a doctor

If you are losing 4.5 – 5 kg or 5 percent of your normal body weight over 6-12 months or less, and you don’t know the reason, you may be having a problem called sudden weight loss or unintentional weight loss. See a doctor.

It is important to recognize the warning signs. The earlier the disease is discovered, the more successful treatment is likely to be.

Beware of dirty make-up brushes!

Posted by on Dec 12, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Beware of dirty make-up brushes!

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December 12, 2013 at 3:23 pm

Women tend to have elaborate make-up sets but they often forget the importance of keeping the application brushes spic-and-span for hygiene and longevity. reports that the market offers specialist make-up brush cleaners from leading brands like MAC. Even if they are a little costly, they work very well.

Or, a gentle foaming cleanser may also be used. It is vital to remember that the water you use for cleaning is clean. Put the brushes under the tap and lie them flat to dry since if the water seeps into the handle, the bristles can become loose.

What dirty brushes can do to your skin

Can hold onto oil, bacteria and debris

Not keeping your brushes clean will lead to them holding oil, bacteria and debris. ‘Brush hairs and sponges are porous, so they hold onto oils, debris, and bacteria. If your brushes are dirty, your application will be spotty and blending will be difficult,’ dermatologist Ashleigh Ciucci told

May cause infections

Even though experts have not found any link between dirty brushes and skin infections, it is better to wash them regularly in order to be safe.

Dirty brushes may be hard on your skin

Make-up build-up on dirty brushes can lead to scratchy feeling on your skin. Cleaning them once a week will ensure that the brushes remain soft and supple and remain like that for a long time.

Control Hair Loss with These Diet Tips

Posted by on Dec 11, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Control Hair Loss with These Diet Tips

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December 11, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Hair loss is not just due to external factors like dandruff, sun exposure and so on. It is also a result of an unhealthy diet. When you deprive your body of essential nutrients, many of which are needed for normal hair growth, you are likely to suffer from hair fall. If nothing’s done about it for a prolonged time, you are likely to near baldness. In order to control this situation, it is best to feed your locks a healthy diet, high on the nutrition scale. Here’s what your hair needs to remain healthy.

Vitamin B-Complex: This is required to help the haemoglobin supply oxygen to the scalp and hair follicles. More oxygen promotes hair growth and a healthy mane. The lack of vitamin B-Complex can lead to weak, undernourished and damaged hair. You can either get this from natural sources like chicken, tuna and salmon, or eat vitamin tablets if you have its deficiency.

Zinc: Our scalp contains oil glands which need to function adequately to produce enough oil, the lack of which can lead to a dry scalp, dandruff and eventually hair loss. Eat foods like nuts, whole grains, lentils, meat and seafood to provide enough amounts of zinc to your hair.

Copper: Haemoglobin is needed by our body to supply enough oxygen and blood to various organs including our hair. Copper helps in the formation of more haemoglobin. Lack of it can result in weak, brittle hair which will lead to hair loss. Good sources of copper include sesame seeds, soya, cashew nuts, meat, and seafood.

Iron: Iron is very essential for men and especially women as they lose out blood and iron during their menstrual cycle. Even pregnant and lactating women need a high dose of iron as it helps produce haemoglobin. The lack of iron can weaken your hair right from the roots which will cause them to break very soon. Losing more than a 100 strands a day is a sign of hair loss. In order to avoid its deficiency, eat spinach, soybeans, dal, red kidney beans, chicken, meat, eggs and fish. Iron from animal sources is more easily absorbed into our system.

Vitamin C: Collagen production is very important to hold the hair tissues together in place and vitamin C helps do the needful. A lack of this can lead to frequent split ends, hair fall and brittle hair. Include fruits like oranges, lemons, berries, sweet lime, watermelon and tomatoes in your diet. If you are a smoker, you need more amounts of vitamin C so cut down on smoking and eat more fruits.

Protein: A very important nutrient which acts as the building block of every tissue in our body including the hair and scalp, protein is highly essential for us. It helps in the production of new hair to replace the ones lost. A lack of protein can lead to thinning of hair, dry and brittle hair as well as eventual hair loss. Get your protein intake from foods like beans, nuts, grains, milk, cheese, fish, eggs, chicken.

Eating right can help control hair fall to a large extent as your diet makes your mane stronger from within. Instead of relying on just shampoos and serums, make sure you are getting an adequate dose of these nutrients from the food you eat

How to exfoliate skin in the winter

Posted by on Dec 10, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | 3 comments

How to exfoliate skin in the winter

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December 10, 2013 at 11:38 am

Now that the winter season is upon us, it is important to change our tactics while dealing with skincare challenges, like dry skin.

Dermatologist Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra said that dry skin looks dull because it is caused by dead skin cells, and both need to be taken care of by exfoliating on a weekly basis.

While beauty expert, Shahnaz Hussain, suggested mixing honey and brown sugar into a paste to use as a scrub, as it exfoliates and moisturizes the skin, skin specialist Dr Rashmi Shetty said that rather than going for harsh scrubs, one should go for products that have natural exfoliating properties.

Shetty advised to apply the juice of a lemon and to keep it on for five minutes before washing off and in the case of tamarind, it’s pulp should be rubbed for a couple of minutes and dead cells will dissolve away.

Moreover, Monsoon Salon India offers the goodness of Vitamin C in its Tamarind and Sugarcane scrub, which renews the skin by removing dead skin on the surface, making it ideal for even those with sensitive skin.

6 expert tips to keep your skin looking gorgeous in winter

Here are some skincare tips by Dr Manish Gautam, dermatologist at Sterling Wockhardt Hospital that will help keep your skin looking gorgeous in winter.

Drink lots of water: People tend to drink less water during winters but it is highly important to hydrate your skin from within. Carry a bottle of water with you whenever you step outside. Herbal tea is also a great remedy to moisturise your skin from within. Don’t leave your skin thirsty. Drink more water and help your skin retain its shine.

Bathe with lukewarm water: Winter is the time when your skin and hair need maximum attention. Though the idea of piping hot water is very tempting, stick to a lukewarm water bath every day. Make sure you use a mild non-drying soap or a moisturising soap to prevent your skin from getting dry and itchy.

Keep your skin moisturised: Choose a good, oil-based moisturiser to keep the skin moisturised and soft. Pay special attention to the exposed parts (and the most affected areas) like your hands, nails, feet and lips. Keep them well moisturised at all times. Use a lip balm to keep your lips soft and supple. Lip balm with SPF works better. Even those who have oily skin must use light moisturising lotions after cleansing to keep the skin soft.

Use a good sunscreen: People like to enjoy the sun during winters but little do they know that exposure to the sun can harm their skin in winter too. Use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or more when you step out in the open. In fact, it should be a part of your daily routine throughout the year. Don’t say goodbye to your sunscreen just because summer is over.

Do not lick your lips: Winter is the season of chapped lips and licking them will make them more chapped. Instead, use a good lip balm, preferably which contains tea tree oil as it helps heal painful cracks.

Internal wellness: This continues to be a requirement all through the year as a healthy skin is a reflection of good inner health. One should continue to eat healthy, drink plenty of water and exercise regularly.

What NOT to do during pregnancy – 10 things to avoid!

Posted by on Dec 9, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

What NOT to do during pregnancy – 10 things to avoid!

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There are so many myths surrounding pregnancy and what pregnant women should and shouldn’t do that it gets confusing at times. But there are certain things that are completely out of the window once you are pregnant. Sonali Shivlani, an internationally certified pregnancy, lactation and child nutrition counsellor lists 10 things NOT to do during pregnancy.

Alcohol consumption: Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can result in birth defects like poor growth, mental retardation and learning disabilities. Even a glass of wine or beer which is fine on other days is a strict no-no when pregnant.

Smoking: Tobacco causes cancer even when not pregnant. Smoking can pose a health risk not only for the mother but also the baby. It can result in premature delivery and can rupture membranes. The baby will get insufficient oxygen which will hamper the foetus’ s growth.

Drug abuse: Use of drugs like cocaine, marijuana, etc can cause serious damage to the unborn child. It can result in low birth weight, and various other serious complications before and after delivery.

Heat: Excessive use of sauna, steam and heated pools aren’t good during pregnancy; even excessive use of hot water bags in the torso region can result in the uterus getting overheated and in extreme cases can result in foetal death.

Extreme exercises:Though moderate amounts of exercise is encouraged during pregnancy, exercises where your heart rate exceeds 160 bpm can result in less oxygen to the baby leading to foetal hypoxia which means that oxygen to the foetal brain is restricted and can result in brain damage.

Massage at home: Going to spas which have trained professionals and masseuse are fine but don’t just go to any salon or get one from your maid at home for relaxation. Massage (reflexology) if undertaken by an untrained therapist can trigger certain uterine pressure points which can result in preterm labour contractions.

On your feet 24×7: Standing for long hours can result in varicose veins as well as oedema (abnormal accumulation of fluid) in the legs and feet. It is best to rest, sit and lie down when pregnant.

X-rays: It is advised that X-rays should be avoided unless the abdomen is protected with a lead apron as this can lead to radiation exposure to the foetus which has again been known to contribute to birth defects.

Stress: Stress is a trigger for various problems and can be bad for both the mother and baby’s health. It can result in the mother being upset, cranky and can result in the baby feeling upset as well. Research has shown that babies actually experience the emotional environment of the mother.

Unbalanced diet: Not eating a balanced diet will result in non-optimum foetal development and even be bad for the mother’s health. She will have difficulty in shedding the kilos piled on during pregnancy.

What parents of newborns ought to know

Posted by on Dec 6, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

What parents of newborns ought to know

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After a long preparation and wait, you finally become proud parents of your little bundle of joy but it can get overwhelming at times when you don’t know what to do. At trying times like these, you often wish to seek help and advice from someone more experienced at it. Dr Zinal Unadkat, a leading paediatrician, neonatologist and lactation consultant answers some basic doubts that every new parent has.

Parents are usually sleep-deprived for the first few months after the baby is born. What are the coping strategies you recommend for this?

Parenthood is a new milestone in one’s life. There is a huge difference in talking about it and experiencing it firsthand. The most important preparation is to train the mind. Hence the antenatal preparation — taming the mind about changes in lifestyle, one’s priorities and schedule. Mothers should try and get adequate rest when the baby is asleep — all babies sleep at least once a day continuously for three to four hours.

Keep help to sort the kitchen and other household chores so that the mother isn’t stressed with other responsibilities. The most important advice is to give a lot of skin-to-skin contact as it calms and soothes down the baby and reduces irritability and crying. Lastly, look at the bundle of joy and see all your stress vanish.

A newborn is very prone to infections. How can the caretakers avoid these to some extent?

Babies identify the bacteria which mothers harbour and her heartbeat as normal. So let the mother do maximum handling of the baby. Keep visitors to a minimum during the first few days to avoid external infection When someone comes from outside make sure they use hand sanitiser before they touch the baby. Keep the environment where the baby is as clean as you can — vacuum clean the room, clean the floors, make sure the carpets are dust-free, wash the curtains and keep pets away.

Keep the temperature of the room constant as bacteria get a chance to grow when there is a fluctuation of temperature. Change baby diapers frequently even if they aren’t stained. Use mild disinfectant to clean baby’s rugs, bed sheets and clothes.


Memory And Ageing

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Memory And Ageing

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 It is common to hear older adults complaining about memory loss.  The more informed may even worry about having Alzheimer’s disease. A little loss of memory is normal with every passing decade in the older adult. This happens due to the normal ageing of our brain.

Just as we lose our hair or wrinkle our skin, our vision loses sharpness and our joints begin to creak. As we slow down with age, our brains slow down, too.

How Do We Lose Our Memory?
  • In the normal brain, information is carried around in the form of electrical signals through specialised fibres called neurons.
  • The neurons, in turn, pass on this information to one another using specialised chemicals called neurotransmitters.
  • As we age, the neurons in our brain become less abundant and the neurotransmitters dry up. One such neurotransmitter is called acetylcholine.
  • The drying up of acetylcholine makes us lose a bit of our memory.
Did You Forget This?
  • Typically, we begin to forget names more.
  • Or we remember something that was said but cannot remember instantly who said it or the context in which it was said.
  • Sometimes, we even forget an event or two. We may remember them later but sometimes not at all.

Check Your Forgetfulness

How do you distinguish normal ageing from abnormal memory loss? A simple test is to check with people of your own age.

  • Do they seem to have the same problem or does your’s seem to be much worse?
  • What is the rate of progression of the memory loss?
  • In Alzheimer’s disease, there will be a definite worsening within a year or two of onset, while this will not happen in memory loss of normal ageing.
Will You Get Alzheimer’s?

Can we predict who will move from normal ageing to Alzheimer’s disease?  In most cases we cannot, but there are some patients who will pass through a milder form of memory impairment called Minimal Cognitive Impairment (MCI) before advancing to florid Alzheimer’s disease.  MCI is somewhere in between normal ageing and Alzheimer’s disease, though not all patients with MCI progress to Alzheimer’s disease – some may even improve in due course. The importance of MCI lies in the expectation that future treatments to prevent or delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease might want to target this stage of memory loss.

5 Tips to Remember Right
  1. Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  2. Have a well balanced diet with lots of green vegetables (with a spoon or two of turmeric)
  3. Have a healthy habit of walking or doing any other exercise every day
  4. Keeping your sugars and cholesterols down
  5. Keep your brain active

Obesity Weighs Heavily On Your Brain

Posted by on Dec 5, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Obesity Weighs Heavily On Your Brain

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The brain or the central nervous system has signals to ‘stimulate’ food intake as well as to ‘inhibit” it, but the dominant signals are the stimulatory ones.

Overweight and obesity are amongst the major public health issues of our day. Obesity for that matter is now referred to in epidemic parlance. It is the major risk factor for brain stroke, heart attack and cancer, the three leading causes of death in the world. India too has sufficient cause for alarm. According to the National Family Health Survey (2007), 16 per cent of Indian women and 12 per cent of Indian men are obese. Needless to say, it is important to understand the issues leading to obesity, to better address the management and treatment of obesity.

Neurological Aspects Of Obesity
The reasons for becoming obese are often oversimplified and cited as ‘higher intake of food’ or ‘burning fewer calories’. However, there are complex reasons behind it them. The centres for ‘satiety’ and ‘hunger’ are both located in the brain, implying that our urge to ‘eat’ or ‘not to eat’ is also controlled by the brain! No doubt, that the taste and aroma of the food in question dictates our initial urge to gorge, but the continued urge to overeat is controlled by signals from the brain. The brain or the central nervous system has signals to ‘stimulate’ food intake as well as to ‘inhibit’ it. The dominant signals are the stimulatory ones. That people tend to over eat chocolates and ice creams in a party or that most people always have enough space for desserts even after having a wholesome meal should prove it, sufficiently, for us.

The other aspect regarding brain and obesity is the link between stress and overeating. It has been noted that people with chronic stress and some forms of depression tend to overeat over long periods leading to obesity.

Obesity also has some adverse effects on brain. It has been found that obese people tend to have poorer memory and poorer cognitive functions, as compared to those with normal weight.

Also, obese individuals tend to remain isolated and are often made fun of in their peer group, leading to anxiety and behavioural problems.

Weight Regulating Mechanism
The regulation of body weight is coordinated by the interplay betweena food intake and energy expenditure. Leptin, the hormone secreted by adipocytes is the key regulator of both of these processes. Indeed, mutations in the genes encoding leptin and its cognate receptor cause severe obesity. Leptin’s actions are mediated principally by target neurons in the hypothalamus, where it acts to alter food intake, energy expenditure, and neuroendocrine-function. Recently, it has also become clear that a number of critical neuropeptides are regulated by leptin in the hypothalamus.

Weight Loss Treatments/ Medications: Pros & Cons
The growing awareness on the importance and obvious benefits of maintaining a healthy weight has also made weight loss treatments very popular. The cause for concern, however, is a certain misguided penchant of even those with normal body weight to take to rigorous weight loss programmes. The younger generation in particular is prone to this measure. Weight loss treatments can be hazardous or affect adversely too and a person has to be cautious and well-guided before embarking on one. Consult a doctor, always.

Crash diets are the commonest method employed to lose weight and they are typically low in carbohydrates. Some are even deficient in essential vitamins and nutrients. Diets rich in fat and low in cholesterol may lead to certain diseases in later life. Heart disease, high cholesterol, kidney problems and cancer are some to mention.

Weight loss pills are the other common method of reducing weight in the obese. Some points to be noted are:

Weight loss drugs have only been tested in obese people and not overweight people. So, these pills may not work in those who are overweight by say just 20-25 kg. Moreover, they may have side effects.
They have not yet been tested for long-term, so their efficacy beyond 1-2 years is unknown.
One weight reduction pill – fenfluramine/phentermine – was withdrawn from the market, after it was found to cause heart valve problems.
When you stop or get off the pills, a part or whole of the lost weight may be regained.
Indian Scenario
Obesity is a major factor that has led to an increase in the prevalence of type II diabetes, heart attack and brain stroke in India. Diet management and exercise remain the best methods to control body weight. Anti-obesity pills are not yet available in India. Moreover, they are costly (Rs 6,000-12,000 per month).Drugs Approved For Treating Obesity
After what was a gap of 13 years, in the US, its FDA recently approved two drugs for treating obesity [Belviq – locaserin hydrochloride and Qsymia – a combination of phentermine and topiramate]. But these drugs too have not been tested in overweight people but the obese only. Regular counselling and exercise were part of the clinical trials to test them. Adverse effects that were noticed during the period were attention and memory problems and low sugar in diabetics (Belviq); increase in heart rate, tingling of hands and feet and increased risk of foetal malformations (Qsymia).

Therefore, anti-obesity pills should only be taken under strict medical supervision.

Home remedies to get rid of tanning

Posted by on Dec 4, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Home remedies to get rid of tanning

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As Indians, we are constantly worried about tanning. Understanding the  process of tanning is important to prevent it and treat it in the future. So, instead of opting for the expensive de-tan or fairness facials, you could try using some natural methods to get rid of the tan. Here are three natural ways to do soBut before that, let’s understand a few basics of why does our skin tan.

Why do we tan?

It‘s simple, tanning is your body’s way of protecting your internal organs from damage brought on due to exposure to UV rays of the sun. Known to cause serious conditions such as cancer, UV rays are extremely dangerous to our internal organs as well. To help keep them from entering the body, our skin produces a pigment called melanin. On exposure to the sun, the skin automatically sends this pigment to the surface to help fight off the damage – the greater the sun exposure, the darker the melanin turns. This is because the sunlight breaks down the melanin leading to it getting oxidised and darkening the skin.

Why do some people tan more than others?

The amount and degree of darkness of melanin present in one’s body is determined by one’s genes. For example, people who are genetically fair, will have lesser and lighter melanin than darker people for whom the amount and colour of melanin will change. What further worsens the situation is the fact that different people have different types of skin (varying in thickness and sensitivity); this again is a deciding factor for the amount of tanning.

How can home remedies help?

Lemon and glycerine face pack: This is a bleaching, blemish removal and skin softening pack. It can be made and stored for about three weeks. All you have to do is take about five tablespoons of glycerine and add the juice of one lemon to it. Make sure the consistency of the solution is not too thin. Now, apply this on your face – avoiding the areas around your eyes – and neck every night after washing your face with your regular face wash. Leave on for about half-an-hour and wash off with cold water. Make sure you gently pat dry. This pack gives best results when left on overnight. It will not dry and stretch your skin and will make your face glow the next morning.  You can even apply this pack on your hands and legs to get rid of tanning on them. Use this pack on a daily basis to see considerable difference in about one week.

Besan bleaching face pack: This is a scrub and facial glow pack all rolled into one. Take about two tablespoons of besan, add a pinch of haldi (the type that is used for application and not for cooking), a few drops of lemon juice and some milk (if you have very dry skin). You can add crushed orange peel to the mix for an added scrub effect. If you don’t have orange peel, use crushed masoor or moong ki daal to the mix. Now, mix all the ingredients and  make it a paste by adding cool rose water. Apply this paste all over your face and neck, carefully avoiding the areas around your eyes. Allow this to remain on the face till it dries up partially. Once dry, wet your hands and pat the areas that have dried out. This will make the area soft. Now, gently scrub your face and then wash away. This pack will give you glowing and supple skin. Continue doing this on a daily basis for a week to notice considerable difference.

Multani mitti and aloe vera face pack: This pack is great to soothe irritated and tanned skin. The aloe vera present helps to heal acne, remove blemishes, and soothe irritated skin. The multani mitti helps unclog pores and makes the skin glow. To make this pack, mix a few spoons of multani mitti with a tablespoon of aloe vera paste or juice. Add a pinch of haldiand make it a smooth paste. Add chilled rose water to dilute the pack. Apply this on your face and neck leave on for about fifteen minutes or till it dries. Pat with a wet hand to loosen the dried portions and scrub the face in gentle circular motions. Wash your face with cool water and pat dry. Use this face pack twice a week for desired results.

Finally, while home remedies may seem a bit messy and time consuming, it is the best way to rid you of the tan without the side-effects of chemicals. Plus, it is much lighter on the pocket.