Amir Khusro's quotation immediately springs to mind "Gar firdaus bar- roo-e ast, haminasto, hamin asto, hamin ast.""If there is a heaven on earth, it's here, it's here, it's here."This quote, later echoed by Jahangir, is the most appropriate description that one can give of the beautiful valley and our pride North East as climates are extreme and roads are so tough of life to travel on what all call Sikkim and I a Doctor, Dermatologist by profession but have loved the terrain, city and simplicity , humility and warmth exubated by people of these mountains.

Fair skin, blush touched cheeks, fine features make the Sikkimese women truly stand apart.

But unfortunately this dreamland no longer remains just that. The simple people here have been subjected to hostile circumstances, far beyond their control, which have begun to take their toll on them. Day in and day out they are victims of what is a major cause of worry these days, STRESS, that they have resulted majorly in affecting the people psychologically. Indeed there is strong relationship between our mind and body. Psychological conditions often result in skin and hair disorders that we are totally ignorant about. And who faces these conditions more than the simple Sikkimese.

These disorders can vary depending upon the stress a person faces, and their mental capacity to deal with it. These may range from cystic acne to vitiligo vulgaris, when the person undergoes psychological conditions like depression or anxiety. Eczema andpsoriasis are also stress related. At a psychiatric level it can also be responsible for delusional parasitosis. Lichenplanus, urticaria, allergy problems and even early ageing are also an outcome of stress.

The skin is not the only one to be a victim of this condition, the hair is also not spared.Exposure to the kind of difficult circumstances that the Valley dwellers experience nearly everyday, can result in chronic tellogen effluvium or chronic hair fall of more than 100hair/ day. It is also responsible for stunted hair growth, where hair doesn't grow beyond a point. Early greying is another outcome of this affliction. Alopecia in both men and women has also become very common, resulting in severe balding and hair loss.

These problems creep in even before we become aware of them. They are often a result of the environment we live in and need to be redressed as soon as possible. If left unattended they may worsen the conditions by having greater psychological impact, resulting in conditions like low self esteem and even being socially stigmatised, as unlike other diseases, skin conditions are very obvious. Therefore treatment is a must, and consists of a team effort of the dermatologist leading and being assisted by a psychologist and a therapist. But at our personal level individuals can also follow these tips to be free of these skin and hair disorders:

  • Bathing once a day in winters and twice in summers keeps the skin clean and less prone to infections.
  • Hair needs to be washed for the same reason thrice a week.
  • Haircut too is a must. Once a month for men and once in two months for women.
  • A nice pedicure, manicure not only cleans the feet and hands but can also be quite relaxing. So enjoy it!
  • Strengthen family ties and spend quality time together. It is quite a stress buster. Adverse external circumstances can be combated by strength within.
  • Listen to your favourite songs, watch a movie, read a book. Declutter your mind by indulging in activities you enjoy, once in a while
  • Actively find some minutes of "me" time, no matter how busy you are!
  • Once in a while smile at yourself in the mirror and then share it with others.

Also as I conduct regular OPD’s at Sikkim I have seen interestingly more pigmentation of a different kind than North due to the city being closer to the sun owing to its high attitude and the poet in me feels the city is closer to God so applying Sunscreen which is a cosmeceutical product 10-15 minutes before going in the sun daily morning and even applying the day not going out should be a good idea then also doing a simple home remedy which is applying lemon juice mixed with tomato juice on face pigmentation will besurely helpful. Using night creams prescribed by a trained Dermatologist at an early stage of the pigment can surely remove it but later or chronic pigmentation needs treatments like laser, peel, etc.

A healthy, strong mind will help a long way in having a healthy skin and hair.Remember stressed read backwards is desserts. 

If we can reverse the conditions, life will be as sweet as a dessert!

So go for it!

Nutrition & Skin Ageing

Nutrition is the foundation toward optimal health. Antioxidants help us to up-regulate and maintain a healthy defense system to ward off stressors (such as free radicals) that accelerate the ageing process. Antioxidants found in diet, particularly in beans, deep-colored fruits and vegetables, green tea, garlic, and herbs such as turmeric, cinnamon orrosemary work synergistically to support immune defenses against oxidative stress. Being slow or fast acting, antioxidants through diet must be obtained on a daily basis as they are quenched quickly and absorbed by the potentially damaging free radical molecules.Although we aim to achieve all nutrients through diet like strawberries, prunes, plum, broccoli, cherries, tomatoes, fish liver oil, garlic the inconvenient truth is we are often challenged with this on a daily basis. To complement diet, antioxidants through functional foods, beverages or supplementation are becoming a critical component in professional beauty and anti-aging programs. Coined and myself being a believer of “beauty from within," nutricosmetics offer formulations that target oxidative stress to help protect the skin internally from damaging free radical activity. Combined with topical treatments, supplemental nutricosmetics help to bridge the gap in nutrient deficiencies to ensure the body can best defend itself from oxidative stressors.

So, try these tips & see the magic work! You're sure to fall in love with your skin & hair again!