Dr Ajay Rana
Monsoon may be welcome after the extreme heat, however, the humidity and the moisture in the atmosphere during this season can lead to many skin problems like rashes, pimples, eczema, ringworm, etc. Our skin naturally has several very small micro-organisms. The local skin temperature and environmental humidity are quite conducive for the growth of microorganisms during monsoon.
There is a higher risk of infection in people suffering from auto-immune diseases when the humidity in the atmosphere rises, particularly in the monsoon season. Therefore, skin care is essential in this season. Inflammation of skin folds can be caused by skin-on-skin scraping which can increase due to moisture. Such inflammation is bothersome in obese adults as well as children. Also, such swelling can also occur in natural body folds.
During rainy season, clothes and shoes often get wet. Wet clothes and shoes become a hotbed for allergies, especially when a person remains in wet clothes and shoes for some time. Also, synthetic clothes have chemicals and wet clothes tend to rub against the body causing allergies on the skin. These allergies can give rise to fungal infections, especially in the body folds such as inside of the elbows, back of the knees etc.
This humid climate also translates into sweaty feet and wet sticky shoes. The roads are full of dirty water and muck and it enters the footwear easily. People wear these wet shoes for hours and the result is unclean, smelly feet. These are ideal conditions for skin allergies to develop. Chemicals such as bonding agents, glue, adhesives, treatment agents, etc. are present in rubber or plastic shoes which react with water and cause contact dermatitis, a painful and uncomfortable allergy.
Prevention is better than cure. People are more susceptible to infections due to the change in temperature and exposure to the increased humidity. Increase natural intake of vitamin C as it boosts immunity and speeds up body’s healing processes to fight against any kind of infection.
Tips to keep skin allergies at bay during the rains
- People with diabetes are more susceptible to skin allergies and infections during monsoon, especially nail infection. Therefore, they should take extra care.
- If you see the onset of any skin allergy, immediately visit a dermatologist.
- Wear loose-fitting, comfortable, cotton clothes.
- Practice good personal hygiene. Keep yourself and your clothes clean.
- Don’t stay wet for too long. .
- Remove wet shoes and socks and don’t wear these again without washing properly. Opt for simple and airy footwear during monsoons. This will help keep the feet dry.
- Skin infections can be contagious sometimes. Keep your towels and other personal belongings separate.
- If you swim then take a bath with a disinfectant after the swim and use a fungal powder in your underarms, groin area and the gap between the fingers and toes.
- Do not scratch the skin.
- Fix any leaks around the house to prevent moulds.
- Keep pets out of the bedroom to prevent eczema.
- Use dust and mite-proof covers on mattress and pillows.
- Eat a healthy diet that includes lots of seasonal fruits and vegetables and yogurt, almonds, garlic, brown rice, oats, daliya, dates, etc.
- Keep yourself hydrated at all times. Drink purified water at regular intervals.
- Use medicated soaps, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial creams during the rainy season. Ask your dermatologists which cream or soap will suit your skin the best.
- Use a face scrub to exfoliate your skin twice a week.
- Use a pumice stone to exfoliate the skin at the feet and remove the dry and wrinkly skin.
- Always use a moisturiser during monsoon. Avoid heavy creams.
- Use a toner whenever you wash your face. This will help restore the skin pH.
- Apply sunscreen on the skin before stepping out. Use a spray kind of sunscreen in monsoon and reapply frequently.
— The writer is founder and director, Institute of Laser & Aesthetic Medicine, New Delhi.
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