FUNGI and FURUNCLE – Here is What You Need to Know

Have you ever noticed a brittle nail, with a flaky texture or yellowish tinge? Or maybe a painful, red bump on your skin, especially after a tropical vacation or a trek outdoors? Don’t worry, you’re not alone and you have plenty of options as far as treatment is concerned.

Although fungi and furuncles are equally uncomfortable, they are completely different from each other. It’s important to know these differences so that they may be successfully diagnosed and treated. Let’s start with the basics- fungi affect the nails whereas furuncles affect the hair follicles. There are treatments available for both, so there’s no need to worry if you notice either of the two erupt on your skin or nails. Let’s go into detail:

What are the symptoms of fungi?

  • The initial symptom is spotting on the nails, they begin to get stained yellow or white, and then get darker from the debris that collects under the nail
  • The texture of the nails is notably different, they tend to become extremely brittle, fragile and crumb-like.
  • There is also an unpleasant odour that develops if the nail is covered for a long time
  • In extreme cases, or if not diagnosed on early, the nail can also be dislodged from the skin

What causes fungi and how can I prevent it?

  • If you wear socks and shoes on a daily basis, you are at risk because you’re feet do not get the ventilation they need. This is the perfect chance for bacteria and infection to spread. Make sure that your shoes aren’t too tight, and your socks are made from a breathable fabric. Thick socks that absorb perspiration work the best.
  • Walking around public areas, such as swimming pools or saunas barefoot may not be the best idea. This is because these areas are an open ground for infections. If you are going to the nearest club for a swim, or for a relaxing massage at a spa, make sure you are wearing some sort of footwear at all times.
  • If you have an injury on your fingernail or toenail, make sure it is covered up. This is because an open wound makes you more susceptible to disease, especially fungi.

What are the various treatments for fungi?

  • A long-term treatment for fungi would be oral antifungal medicines which can be prescribed by a doctor. This treatment could last for six weeks, or could even take as long as five months for a healthy nail to grow back.
  • Another long-term treatment is medicated nail polish, which can also be prescribed by your doctor. This usually takes a year.
  • If you’re looking for something faster, there is laser therapy treatment for fungi as well.
  • In extreme cases, you might have to get your nail surgically removed. In this case, you will have to wait for a new, healthy nail to grow back.

 

So now that we have an understanding of what fungi is, why it’s caused and how to prevent it, let’s move on to furuncles!

What are the symptoms of furuncles?

  • A furuncle usually begins with a tiny, pea-sized reddish bump, and can be quite painful
  • The skin around the bump gets inflamed and appears red and swollen
  • The furuncle actually grows continuously as it fills with pus. If it’s not treated on time, it can grow to the size of a tennis ball
  • Like pimples and boils, the top of the furuncle has a tiny, white tip which is where the pus can be drained out from

What causes furuncles and how can I prevent them?

  • Furuncles are caused by a bacteria which infects the hair follicles
  • If your skin is broken due to an injury or an insect bite, you’re at risk because bacteria can enter your skin with ease. Make sure to clean the area thoroughly and keep it covered and dry till it scabs. Scratching insect bites is a big no-no as it’s a sure way to rupture irritated skin

What are the various treatments for furuncles?

  • If your furuncle is detected before it grows too big, it can be drained by a doctor
  • If your furuncles are severe or keep recurring, antibiotics are usually prescribed
  • A simple home remedy is to apply a warm, muslin cloth on the furuncle through the day. This helps it rupture and drain quickly. If you are not a professional, do not try rupturing the furuncle by yourself! You’ll need the help of a doctor for the same

Fungi and furuncles can be easily avoided if you take care of yourself and maintain proper hygiene. If you find yourself in the great outdoors, make sure you’re equipped with the right footwear, socks and insect repellent. The next time you see early signs of either fungi or a furuncle, remember it’s best to nip it in the bud. Remember not to self-diagnose or self-medicate, you can always reach out to us if you’re in need of a trusted Doctor.

A Cheat Sheet for Winter Skincare

There’s a slight nip in the air and the woollens are out by now already. Unfortunately, to look and feel good, only wearing sweaters and jackets doesn’t suffice. As much as one would prefer covering up and stay warm and cosy, the low temperatures ultimately manage to affect the skin and cause damage. Ideally, following a good winter skincare regime is the way to go. That takes daily commitment for adhering to a schedule, of course. But worry not. If you are hard pressed for time, here is a cheat sheet to still manage to look radiant.

  • Hydration is the key. Dry weather can cause flaking and itchiness. This is even more prominent for sensitive skin. A simple trick for this is to stay hydrated. Though winter doesn’t make us feel as much thirsty, drink at least 8-10 glasses of water each day. Dry skin aggravates skin ageing so it is imperative to keep it moist internally.
  • For cleansing, use a cleanser with Aloe Vera as it helps restore moisture. It doesn’t have any harsh properties and, therefore, post cleaning leaves behind a soft feeling. For very dry skin, avoid soaps. If you follow the daily facial cleansing-toning-moisturizing routine, it is important to use an alcohol-free toner to avoid excessive drying. Look for ingredients such as chamomile and calendula when buying skincare products. These are non-irritants and have natural anti-inflammatory properties.
  • When choosing a moisturiser, someone with an oily skin tone should opt for a light moisturising body lotion whereas; for a dry to normal skin, a thick cream (but non-greasy) should work well. Apply lotion post a shower while the skin is still damp and refrain from excessive towel drying. It helps lock in the moisture. The best routine is to reapply a thin layer of moisturizer as and when you can throughout the day. Massage your hands and legs with argon oil before going to bed to wake up for a supple skin.
  • Speaking of showers, never take a very hot water bath during winter. Of course, the cold weather may want you to increase the water temperature a little more than normal. But that could cause more harm than comfort. Too hot water causes the skin pores to open up exposing them more to the cold air. Hence, go for lukewarm water. Use a detergent-free cleanser, again to avoid dryness.
  • Apply and re-apply a lip balm as and when possible. The thin skin on the lips cracks easily so applying natural protective oils will prevent chapping. The most easily available in this regard is the olive oil. Apply a little at bedtime so the lips too get their share of care.
  • For feet care, apply a thick moisturizer or even Vaseline on those cracked heels, nails, and all over the foot, actually, and wear socks at bedtime. At the salon, opt for a paraffin wax pedicure. Even for hands, for kitchen cleaning, use gloves whenever possible to avoid direct contact with detergents. Also, when you wash hands post some task, pat them dry instead of rubbing hard. For cracked hands and feet, Shea butter creams work wonders. Apply liberally and leave them overnight so they get enough time to recuperate.
  • Sunscreens are a must even during winters. UV rays cause havoc at any point in time and hence, use a broad spectrum sunscreen (for UVA and UVB protection) with minimum SPF 30.
  • If you have access to a humidifier, use one for creating warmth and putting moisture back in the air you are breathing. This also significantly helps in reducing nasal congestions and throat irritations, common due to the dry coldish air. People suffering from sensitive, dry skin completely vouch for the comfort they feel when around a humidifier.

Things to particularly avoid – excessive intake of salt and sugar, and err, alcohol. These will dehydrate your skin and are best to stay away from or at least limit their consumption to a minimal level. Instead, you can drink green tea with natural anti-oxidant properties to stay warm from within.

So get ready for all the New Year celebrations just around the corner. Remember to pamper your skin with all the hydration it needs and let it help you glow in turn.

That bowl of curd is your skin’s BFF. From rash relief to great facepacks…it’s that versatile

image courtesy: biology.clc.uc.edu
image courtesy: biology.clc.uc.edu

It’s summer and curd is one of the most soothing substances there are. We say substance because it isn’t just a food that cools your body and keeps acid levels down in the stomach, it has many other benefits that are not just dietary.

Curd has great skin benefits as well. With the heat increasing, your skin may see a few rashes or may feel irritable. And at such times, you don’t have to look for some expensive skin cream – just go for that little cup of curd, your first aid dermatologist.

When you need quick relief from summer rashes
For quick relief from heat-related skin rashes, diluting curd with water and applying it over the affected area cools the skin and brings relief. This can be used on children as well, as it has no side-effects. This will also hydrate the skin. This is probably one of the best remedial effects of curd. It is really great for babies as well. Issues like nappy rash or other heat-related rashes or rashes caused by insect bites can be dealt with diluted curd or buttermilk.

Continue reading That bowl of curd is your skin’s BFF. From rash relief to great facepacks…it’s that versatile

8 skincare mistakes you should avoid

Are you being mean to your skin without knowing it? Read on to find out
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Image courtesy: blog.zenmed.com
Image courtesy: blog.zenmed.com

Skin care isn’t just about great products. To begin with, it means understanding what your skin is like. Unless you get that, you are going to make some of the mistakes that many around the world make when it comes to taking good care of their skin. You have to not only choose products carefully, you have to use them wisely as well.

Here is a quick list of don’ts that you should keep in mind next time you are in front of the mirror: Continue reading 8 skincare mistakes you should avoid