Stroke Prevention 3

Hi everyone

We are still on life style modifications that reduce your risk of having stroke. Today we will be discussing Alcohol and Smoking.
You are Welcome

Alcohol and smoking are dangerous to your health; most organs are affected. Furthermore, the deleterious effects of Alcohol are worse in the women. Alcohol should be limited to about 3 bottles of beer( commonest Alcohol in Nigeria) /week for men or 2 bottles /week for women. Smoking should be stopped totally.

Recommended steps to reduction of Alcohol intake include the following:

1. Make a decision on your own
The decision to reduce or abstain from Alcohol (and quit smoking) needs to be your personal decision. It is helpful to have a review of your life and see all the numerous benefits you will derive. The first and most important is ‘A Healthier You’. You will be healthier in all aspects. Some of these include lower blood pressure, better sleep, better concentration, weight control, improved fertility…… The list goes on and on and on. In addition you will have better relationships with your family, wife, siblings, friends, colleagues and all. More so, you will save some money also. Most persons who drink Alcohol (in bars) are generally duped by the bar owners. These reasons will motivate you to work on it. It will not be easy but it can be done.

2. Never drink on an empty stomach
You will notice that persons who are dependent on Alcohol barely eat. This is because Alcohol has some calories that give a filling effect to such persons. It is always better to take Alcohol after eating. In this manner, the person gets some of the needed calories from the meal and is less dependent on Alcohol for the calories. It is also wise to drink slowly instead of gulping down your drinks. You are more likely to drink less when you drink slowly. Another scheme is to drink water or juice in addition.

3. Avoid peer pressure
People that drink generally overdo it in the presence of others who are also drinking. It is not very easy to be a teetotaler among persons who drink. There is a lot of pressure to at least taste the drink. It is therefore wise to avoid your ‘Drinking buddies’ and situations that will entice you to drink like parties. If you cannot avoid such situations, then learn to say’ NO’ politely. Do not feel obliged to accept a drink. Some advocate that you should not have Alcohol in your house since it will take a lot of discipline to avoid drinking.

4. Get support
Tell your family, friends and well wishers about your plan to stop or reduce Alcohol intake. You need their support, love and encouragement. Give an account of yourself to your loved ones as they help you to stop. It is wise to keep a diary to monitor your progress. In addition, a diary may expose the conditions or situations that made you to drink. Some countries have support groups like Alcohol anonymous which helps tremendously.

5. Keep busy
Ensure that you do not have free periods that encourage you to drink. Take your job seriously and develop new healthy hobbies and habits. Habits that involve physical exercise like walking, gardening, participating in sports, laundry, washing your car are encouraged. Other hobbies include reading or even taking extra classes, courses, writing a blog, learning a new Language or how to play a musical instrument. These hobbies help to occupy the extra time.

6. Healthier ways to cope with stress
A lot of people take to drinking, smoking or use of other substances because of stress. There are healthier ways to cope with stress. We will discuss Stress and Stress management next week.

The steps mentioned above also apply to quitting Cigarette smoking( including piping, snuff, ETC). In addition to these, remove all the smoking reminders like cigarettes, ash trays, lighters, pipes ETC. It is also wise to have substitutes (chewing gum, candy, carrots, fruits, nuts ETC) to use when the craving comes. There are also Nicotine substitutes which can be used; discuss this with your Doctor.

Painfully, passive smokers( those that inhale from other smokers) are also at risk of developing these diseases. Hence the passive smoker should support the spouse, fried, sibling or colleague to quit smoking. There will be health benefits for both of them.

Thanks for reading

Prevention of Stroke 2

Hi everyone

Today we are continuing on our series on the Prevention of Stroke. We will be looking at the healthy Diet.
You are Welcome.

Most authors will advocate eating ‘the Mediterranean Diet’. This may sound loud or far-fetched to us. This is the diet of the countries that live near the Mediterranean sea like Greece and Italy. Studies have shown that such persons are less likely to die from heart diseases and stroke.

The Mediterranean diet however is a lot like our traditional African diet. In fact, medical literature written many years ago noted that there were no Hypertension, Diabetes, Stroke and Heart attack in Africa. The painful truth is that we imported these diseases by changing our diet to the ‘Western Diet’. It is therefore pertinent that we go nearer our African diet than the imported western diet.

It will interest you to know that the world refers to our food as ‘The Healthy West African Diet’. Notable is the fact that ‘uncultured societies’ (bush men) do not have these diseases listed above because of their Primitive Diet. The diseases come on board not with age but with urbanization.

The world is saying ‘AFRICANS GO BACK TO YOUR FOOD’!

COMPONENTS OF OUR FOOD ARE AS FOLLOWS:
1. Fresh foods
We eat all our foods either fresh, in their natural forms or with minimal processing. We eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables (fresh from the farm). You note that we just kill our chicken, goat, bush meat, cook and eat it immediately. When it comes to beef, we buy it bleeding on the table. Other foods like yams, potatoes, grains are left in their natural forms (may be dried) till the time for cooking. Some other foods undergo minimal processing like preparing Garri, Amala, Tuwo, Akamu, Agidi ETC. The process required does not involve additives or preservatives.

2. Plant products
We eat more of plant based meals. All our staple foods are derived from a plant eg grains, yam, beans, potatoes ETC. Note that whole grains are very healthy, however, the excessive processing make them into pasta and pastries; unhealthy forms. We naturally do not eat a lot of meat in Africa. You note that we name our meals by the carbohydrate component. For example: What did you eat; we will reply ‘Rice’, ‘Yam’, ’Garri’ ETC. This is because that was the major component of the food with one tiny piece of meat (I am not advocating large quantities of Garri or pounded Yam—-). Meanwhile, the Western world name their dishes with the meat content eg bacon and egg, Steak, beef casserole, meat balls, corned beef ETC. This tells us the difference in the components of our food. They eat much more meat than we do. We borrowed large quantities of meat from them. It is therefore wise to limit our intake of red meat. We should eat lean or white meat ( like poultry) .
3. Plant oils
We Africans eat mostly plant oils like palm oil, groundnut oil, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado pear, cotton seed oil,ordinary pear ETC. Plant oils are the healthier oils to eat. We borrowed animal oils like milk, cheese, butter, margarine, salad creams, cakes, meat pies ETC. Dairy products were not a major part of our meal in most parts of Africa. It is wise to limit their consumption.
4. Sea foods
Sea foods are very important because they contain Omega 3 fatty acids which are healthy. Sea foods include fish, crayfish, periwinkles, clams ETC.

5. Fresh fruits, vegetables , nuts and seeds
Our African diet contains a lot of fresh fruits, vegetables. Hence we are able to eat our sugar in unrefined forms. We borrowed the refined forms like sugar, sweets, candies, chocolates, cakes, soft drinks ETC.

6. Limit Salt intake
We already noted that salt should be reduced. Using herbs and natural spices may help in reducing the salt intake.

7. Drink gallons of water
Some of us (like me) barely drink water. We drink tea, coffee, soft drinks, juice ETC. Please let us all repent like me and increase our water intake remarkably.

Worthy of note is that our children should be introduced to this ‘Healthy African Diet’ very early in life. Limit the intake THE WRONG FOODS (sweets, chocolates, soft drinks, cakes, meat pies, biscuits ETC).

Thank you for reading. It is not an easy journey but it can be done. Let us do it together.

Prevention of Stroke 1

Hi everyone

Welcome

Today October 29th 2019 is the World Stroke day as noted yesterday.
The theme is ONE IN FOUR OF US WILL HAVE A STROKE: DO NOT BE THE ONE!!
In view of that, we will take the next few days to look at ‘PREVENTION OF STROKE’.

Some of these have already being discussed two months ago as part of lifestyle modification. We will look at them again as follows:
1. Control of high blood pressure. Half of the persons who have Stroke have Hypertension. This percentage is much higher in our African patients where as many as 70 % or more of our Stroke patients have Hypertension. The problem with Hypertension is that it is the ‘Silent Killer’. It never warns the sufferer; hence the person continues moving about not knowing that he or she is actually very ill. It therefore behoves us to take charge. You and I owe it to ourselves to check our blood pressure. This can be done easily in any nearby hospital and health centre. Thereafter, if the blood pressure is elevated, you need to see the Doctor to carry out some tests, prescribe medications and all. In addition, you need to take the steps out lined earlier; last week of August to control your blood pressure. One of the most important steps is the reduction of Salt intake. The steps in Reduction of salt intake are outlined on this blog ( August 30th and September 2ND editions).

Highlights are as follows:
—-Avoid unnecessary salt
—-Reduce the use of cubed sweeteners
—-Avoid packaged foods
—-Eat fresh fruits and vegetables
In essence, KNOW YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE TODAY AND CONTROL IT!!!

2. Exercise It has been shown that persons who have Stroke are usually those with a sedentary life style. Regular exercise about 20-30minutes in a day about five times a week is advised. Aerobic exercises that involve movement of the whole body like running, jogging, swimming, cycling are recommended. They are therefore very effective.

However, a good number of us complain about the ‘Time FACTOR’ in exercise. Where is the time to exercise in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives? We are always in a hurry to catch up with work, appointments, schools runs, church activities ETC. Having a time scheduled for exercise seems unrealistic and unachievable. This leads us to the concept of NEAT!!
The concept of NEAT is about incorporating exercise and physical activities in our daily lives. You will please note that Newspaper vendors are always ‘FIT’. This is not because they registered in a gym. However, their job involves a lot of walking. Eventually, the physical activities add up. The new cliché is that ‘Sitting is the new Smoking’. This is because sitting all day does not equate to physical activity. It is not healthy to sit all day like some of us do (in the car, at the office, on the couch, watching TV ETC). We are slowly killing ourselves. Some of the steps to incorporate physical activities in your everyday life have been discussed on September 7th edition.
Highlights are as follows:
Walk as often as you can
Use the staircase instead of the elevator
Park your car some distance from your office and walk to the office
Stand when working on your lap top; Newscasters on international networks stand to cast News.
Do some of the house work like cleaning, gardening, laundry ETC
See off your visitor
Take a stroll around your house

Remember ‘SITTING is the new SMOKING’

See you tomorrow

Stroke Awareness

Hi everyone

Welcome
I am sorry about my absence from this blog for some days. I had issues with my phone and internet access. I am glad to be back.

Tomorrow 29th October is the World Stroke DAY. In view of that, we will be discussing STROKE this week.
You are Welcome

WHAT IS STROKE?
Stroke is a common BRAIN disease. It is often devastating because it is an acute disease that affects persons that were considered healthy or ‘normal’. The name probably arises from the dramatic features. Regrettably, many people die from Stroke. The Stroke survivors usually have some remaining problems with walking, talking, mental functions ETC.

The dramatic nature is the reason Stroke is considered a spiritual disease as is mirrored in most of our African languages. In Igbo language, it is called ‘Mba Agbara’ (a hug from the spirit), ‘Ekpo mia’ (a slap from the spirit) in Ibibio, ‘Ofa’ (an evil arrow) in the Yoruba language and ‘Shana inna’ (evil paralysis) in the Hausa language. There are other names from other African languages.

Medically however, Stroke is a medical disease that affects the BRAIN. The brain is probably the most important organ in the body because it controls all other parts of the body. Every function of the body (thinking, seeing, talking, moving, steadiness, hearing ETC) has control from the brain. It is therefore extremely important that the brain functions optimally.

I personally call the BRAIN a ‘greedy’ organ. This is because the brain makes up ONLY 2% of the whole body. However, it requires as much as 15-20% OF THE TOTAL BLOOD from the heart to function effectively. A reduction of the blood to the brain is simply disastrous.

Stroke results when the blood supply to the brain stops suddenly. This can occur in two ways: accounting for the two Major types of Stroke.

1. The first type of Stroke occurs when there is a sudden blockage of the blood vessels (like blood pipes) to a part of the brain. This leads to a sudden cessation or abrupt cut off of blood to that part of the brain. The part of the body that is controlled by that part of the brain suddenly stops functioning.
2. The second type occurs when a blood pipe to the brain bursts from high pressure/tension. The blood flows into the wrong space instead of reaching the correct part of the brain. The features are also very dramatic. Such person may have preceding headache.

Features of Stroke include:
Sudden weakness of one side of the body
Sudden deviation of the mouth to one side
Sudden dizziness
Sudden inability to see on one side
Sudden lack of feeling on one side of the body
Sudden loss of consciousness
Sudden inability to speak

There are few others. Anyone with these features should be rushed to the hospital immediately for emergency care.

Risk Factors of Stroke
There are factors that make one person more likely to have a Stroke than others. These are referred to as risk factors. Some of the risk factors are not within our control like older age, black race, male gender and family history.

However, there are certain important risk factors within our control. These include Hypertension, Heart diseases, Diabetes Mellitus, Excessive Alcohol intake, Cigarette Smoking, Obesity, excessive Cholesterol and others. The essence of this blog is for you to take charge of those issues within your power to control.

The theme for the World Stroke Day is 1 in 4 persons will have a Stroke: DO NOT BE THE ONE!!!
Tomorrow, we will talk about reducing YOUR risk of developing a STROKE!.

Thanks for reading

Steps in Sex Education for the young

Hi everyone, today, we are going to look at the steps of Sex Education for the young.
You are Welcome

We noted yesterday that the essence of this sex education is to help young people gain the information, skills and motivation to protect them from sexual predators. It also helps to form attitudes, beliefs, and values about identity, relationships and intimacy.

It is recommended that the education on sexual health education should start as early as in the prekindergarten age grade. I can hear some of you asking prekindergarten? Yes as early the prekindergarten age grade.

This is because the child predators and paedophiles who sexually abuse children are going for younger and younger children.
They assault children, who are totally unaware of their body and the functions,
They assault children who do not know the difference between RIGHT and WRONG.
They assault children who understand most things as ‘play’
Most of the children just know that something that shouldn’t happen has happened

You and I owe it to these children to empower them with the knowledge needed to wards off these monsters. The following steps may be helpful but are definitely not sacrosanct.

Step 1. The body parts
The first step is to teach children the parts of their body. It is wise to start by telling the children the names of the parts of their bodies; this may be done during bathing, dressing time or when cleaning after using the restroom. It is important to let them know that their bodies are divided into Public and Private parts.
The public parts are the parts that are exposed like the head, hands and the feet. The private part parts are all the parts that are covered by their clothes. In addition, the parts covered by their under wears are extremely private. Teach them that nobody should touch their private parts except when they are bathing or cleaning after using the restroom.

Step 2 Handle the curiosity
Usually by the age of 3 and 4, the children may notice that they have different types of genitals. This is the time to tell them the differences between boys and girls. This is important in children who are of the same gender with all their siblings (all boys or all girls). In addition, at this age, children may start to touch their bodies. This is not the time to shout or yell. This is the time to tell them, that it is their body and that they are the only ones allowed to touch certain parts of their body. NO ONE IS ALLOWED TO TOUCH THOSE PARTS.

Step 3 Lifelong discussion
Please note that Sex education is never a one-time lecture. It is a lifelong discussion. The lectures go on over and over again emphasizing the key principles. Use every opportunity to teach in a simple but emphatic manner.

Step 4 : Answering questions

Children are generally inquisitive and ask many questions. Please do not shut them up. Answer the questions in a simple manner.

One of the commonest questions is ‘Where do babies come from’?
Most of us got the answer; Babies come from Heaven. We were satisfied for while. My friend’s mum told her; from the mouth. Another day, the mum answered from the nose. There and then she knew that her mum was lying.
Can we try this: a baby is made by the union of dad and mum in a special way. The baby grows inside mum’s womb. The baby is delivered after 9 months.

Another one is ‘Why do you have blood from your private’
Try: a woman’s body changes gradually with age and maturity. This is one of the changes. Other changes include the development of breasts. It is wise to answer the specific questions with the correct words and terms.
It is usually terribly uncomfortable but please just go on. It is worth while on the long run.

Step 5 Personal responsibility
Let the child know that his or her body is his/her personal property. The child has a responsibility to take care of his or her body. He or she also has the responsibility to PROTECT his or her body. All children should report anybody who tries to touch them.

I do not know if this piece has been of help to you. You can add to the list based on your own personal experience.

Thanks for reading

Sex Education for the Young

Hi everyone
Welcome to a new week

In recent times, there have been some stories that ripped my heart; most likely they ripped yours too if you saw them. The first is the 12 year old orphan (sexually abused by the Pastor, native Doctor) whom we all saw carrying her baby. The second is the story of the nanny in Florida who was jailed 20 years for sexually abusing an 11 year old boy and having his baby. These stories are just the tip of the iceberg. There are more terrible cases; though most cases are hidden to protect the child.

In view of this, we will be discussing Sex Education for the Young this week.
You are Welcome!!

For years, the issue of discussing sex has been an uncharted area. Most of us (ladies) will remember that our mothers taught us that you will be pregnant when you play with a boy. This singular statement was the ENTIRE sex education that a good number of us got. There were therefore cases of supposed ‘bad girls’ who got pregnant having had no knowledge of the consequence of their actions. The ones who were a bit luckier, had their mothers discuss menstruation and a bit more about ‘playing with a boy’. In fact, I learnt of a case of incest where a girl got pregnant by her brother. She said that her mother told her that she must not play with other boys; she was only allowed to play with her brother. Hence she played with her brother; the type, description and limits of the play had not been properly defined. Painfully, a lot of us (women, mothers, aunties and big sisters) are still making the same mistakes that our mothers and grandmothers made by keeping Sex Education ‘shrouded in secrecy’. A lot of women still wait before their daughters achieve puberty before they can discuss the issues of sex.
Some of such women never got the opportunity as the girl was abused while very young. Do we all remember the case of OCHANYA? : Poor poor girl: she was only 8 years old when her evil cousin and more evil uncle descended on her under the very nose of her Aunty. The case of that poor girl still fills my heart with sorrows and pains. No child deserves that type of inhuman treatment.

It is worthy of note that it is not only the girls that are in danger. The young boys are also being abused regularly. Some of them are abused by older women like the 11 year old boy mentioned above who was abused by his nanny. The cases of female teachers having sex with their young male students have been making the headlines recently. Prior to this time, it was the male teachers sexually abusing their young female students. In addition, young boys also suffer from homosexual abuse. One of my patients was abused while he was as young as 4 years. These kinds of cases abound.

In view of the foregoing, it is therefore pertinent to educate the young on the issues of sex; THE EARLIER THE BETTER.
The essence of this is to help young people gain the information, skills and motivation to protect them from sexual predators.
It will also enable them to take charge and make healthy decisions about sex and sexuality throughout their lives.

You are welcome
Lets gooooo

Care of the Skin

Hi everyone

Today we are concluding on skin health by looking at how to take care of our skin.
You are welcome

We have already mentioned some of them but there is no harm is emphasizing
1. Protect your skin from the Sun
Protection from the sun cannot be overemphasized in skin care. It is wise to avoid sun between 10AM and 4PM. This may not be practicable for all of us; however, let us all go an extra mile to protect our skins from the sun. Ensure that you stay under shades (trees, umbrellas, canopies gazebos ETC) when present. In addition, protection of the skin is one essential reason to cover up; please always wear clothes that cover you. Peradventure you didn’t know, the first function of clothes is TO COVER. Clothes and shoes are for protection. Other functions of clothing like fashion, style are secondary. Wide brimmed hats are particularly effective for persons with Albinism. Cover children with albinism with long sleeved clothes, trousers and wide brimmed hats: the earlier, the better.

2. Healthy Diet
A healthy diet is an important aspect of a healthy life style. The health of the skin is therefore also maintained by ensuring that your diet is health. Always eat lots of fresh foods and vegetables. Also ensure whole grains, and lean proteins already discussed in lifestyle modification in the first week of September.

3. Increase your water intake
I am literally trembling as I write this because I am a major culprit when it comes to not taking enough water. I intend to repent and improve; please join me as I step up. You need to drink gallons of water to hydrate your skin and ensure a healthier skin. Drink as much as 1.5-2 L of water a day. This is about 8 glasses of water. For Nigerians, 1 Big Eva water bottle or more.

4. Avoid substance use and abuse
Smoking is a No-No in the care of the skin. In addition, the twin brother called Alcohol also destroys the skin. The elder brother called ‘Substance ( including drugs, glue, etc)abuse’ all but finishes the skin. These habits are very bad for health in general. Excessive intake of caffeine seen in coffee and tea( you caught me there) are also unhealthy for the skin.

5. Handle your skin gently
The skin deserves gentle treatment. It is wise to reduce the time spent in the bathroom. Hot water and long baths remove the natural oils of the skin. This leads to dryness of the skin; the skin has ready cracks that can lead to boils. This actually happened to me. I just love to bath and so I regularly indulge in frequent long baths. Sometime last year, I started having recurrent boils. I battled with these boils until I realized my ‘transgression’. I therefore reduced the frequency and duration of my bath time. In this way, I started having relief though I haven’t totally won the war. For the men, apply shaving cream lotion or gel before shaving. Daily shaving is ill advised.

6. Do not use skin lightening/bleaching agents
The hazards of using skin lightening agents cannot be overemphasized. Please avoid all skin lightening agents. They destroy the skin: slowly but surely. They also destroy other vital organs as already discussed. Always use neutral soaps and creams. Those who have dry skin should use moisturizing creams and oils to ensure that their skin is well hydrated.

7. Stress Management
Stress is a killer any time any day. Stress management is important in the care of the skin.

Thanks for reading
Have a great weekend.

Treatment for skin Lightening

Hi everyone
Yesterday, we looked at the hazards of skin lightening. Today, we are going to find out what can be done to halt or treat these disastrous effects.
You are welcome

Step 1
Identification
The first step is to identify whether you are involved in skin lightening or bleaching. Some of you are saying ‘it is just toning’, ‘I am maintaining my colour’ or ‘I am using natural products’. Please look at the soap or cream that you are using and check the active ingredient. Painfully, there are many ignorant users of skin lightening preparations. Most of these are husbands, sisters, brothers and even children who just use the wife’s, sister’s or mother’s soap and cream.

STEP 2
STOP STOP STOP!!!
The second step is to STOP! ; It cannot be overemphasized. There is no other effective method to halt the ongoing damage. I know that most of you will revert back to your original dark colour: You will not like that. In fact some of the spots, patches (usually seen under the eyes) and scars may never go. Do not be deceived into believing that there are ‘ORIGINAL’ products that can reverse the damage: It will only get worse. However, you will spare yourself further damage to your skin, or more importantly other internal organs. You don’t have to destroy your kidney first before you stop. There are persons undergoing dialysis (a procedure that does the work of a diseased kidney) from kidney damage from skin lightening preparations.

STEP 3
NEUTRAL PREPARATIONS
Please go back to neutral soaps and creams that just have oils and nice smelling perfumes. I do not want to advertise any products but we all know them. Baby products are particularly neutral.

STEP 4
Treatment of the complications; All persons who have the complications discussed yesterday need to see the Doctor immediately. The treatment will depend on the type of problem that the person developed.

STEP 5
Education and Counselling
One effective step is the protection from the Sun. It is extremely important to avoid the sun if you use skin lighteners. You recall that melanin production is increased on exposure to sun. The essence is to protect the skin and body from the dangerous ultra violet rays. Skin lightening reduces the amount of melanin one way or the other. Hence the sun becomes extremely dangerous to the bleached skin.
In view of that it is good to remain indoors between 10 AM and 4 PM when the sun is hottest. This may not be very practicable for everyone in our tropical weather. Persons who have air conditioned offices and cars have an advantage. The rest of us who have to go to the market, hawk, use public transport (including motorcycles) will have to adjust our schedule to protect ourselves from the Sun and Ultraviolet Rays. Always stay under shades when there is opportunity.

Finally, it is extremely important to educate others about skin health. I have done my little part in the education by writing this piece.

How about you? You can start by forwarding the pieces on skin health.
Thanks for reading and God bless you.
Let’s conclude tomorrow

Hazards of Skin Lightening

Hi Everyone
Today, we will look at the hazards of skin bleaching/ lightening.
You are Welcome

The essence of this write up is to ensure that you take charge of your own health.
.
The skin is the largest organ in the body. The main function of the skin is PROTECTION: it acts a protective barrier for the body.
Hence it protects the body from the harmful effects of the sun, radiation, chemicals and microorganisms. Other functions include the regulation of body temperature, prevention of fluid loss from the body, excretion of toxic substances and providing a mechanical support for the body.

Some of the hazards of skin bleaching are as follows:
1. On using skin lightening soaps or creams, the first thing that may be noted is mild burning. I personally noted this effect while using a ‘particular soap’ that was said to be antiseptic; I always felt myself burning all over. I stopped using the soap immediately. This burning may progress to stinging, redness, and dryness. This may actually blow up into swelling, making crusts on the skin, severe burning and eventual damage of the skin. These preparations may also worsen an already present skin disease.
2. Thinning of the skin: The major function of the skin is PROTECTION as earlier noted. Skin lightening agents gradually thin out the skin thereby removing some layer of protection. In such persons, you may notice visible blood vessels beneath the skin. Thinning of the skin causes poor wound healing especially after a surgery. In such persons, the wound will breakdown even after suturing. The visible blood vessels may easily burst and bleed into the skin with ease.
3. Non uniform colouring; I am sure all of us have noticed this type of colouring especially on the hands. This is because the knuckles particularly remain resilient to the effects of these agents. In some cases, the skin has patches( like maps) of different sizes, colours and shapes. The resultant effect is more unpleasant to the eyes than the original uniformly dark skin; my take.
4. Scars; In some cases, there are scars on the skin. Scars arise from the healing process. Having noted that the skin may get burnt or damaged, there is healing after the burning. Hence there will be scars after the healing.
5. Damage to other organs: This is one of the most dangerous effects of these skin lightening agents. The skin is the largest organ in the body. Any substance applied to the skin is absorbed from the extremely large surface of the whole skin. Granted, the substance may be in minute quantities but the surface area involved and the duration of application ensures that a large quantity is absorbed into the system. The resultant effect is damage to some vital organs especially the kidneys. Others are the liver and the nerves
6. Increased risk of skin cancer; We noted yesterday that the skin pigment melanin is released in reaction to the sun to protect the body from dangerous Ultra violet rays. Reduction of the melanin makes the skin more sensitive or vulnerable to the sun. There is therefore an increased risk of cancers especially skin cancer.
7. Other diseases; Other disease that have been associated with skin lightening agents include Diabetes mellitus, Cushing syndrome. These are particularly caused by steroid containing preparations. The skin is also more vulnerable to microorganisms leading to skin infections,

There may be some other hazards of using skin lightening agents. In view of the numerous dangerous effects, SKIN LIGHTENING MAY NOT BE WORTH IT ON THE LONG RUN
Thanks for reading.
See you tomorrow

Skin Colour and Lightening

Hi everyone

Today we will look at what gives us our skin colour and the essence. Thereafter, we will see how the skin is lightened.
You are Welcome

Melanin is a pigment produced by melanin producing cells in the body. It gives colour to the skin, hair and eyes. In humans, Skin colour has a very wide range from the lightest to the darkest: which we all see. Many factors affect melanin production and as such the skin colour.
The most important are:

1. Genetic make up
Different ethnicities have different levels and types of Melanin. We Africans genetically produce more melanin that the Europeans and Asians as we all know. Melanin level therefore is used for race identification. In general, people who are dark have more melanin than those who are fair. Freckles are small areas of increased melanin.

2. Exposure to Ultra violet rays from the Sun. Melanin producing cells in the body produce more melanin in response to Sun exposure. This increased production is important to prevent damage to the DNA in the skin. This is the reason that you get darker after being in the Sun unlike those who are not exposed to the Sun (Air conditioned house, car, office). The increased production is for protection. In fact Caucasians actually engage in Sun tanning to increase their melanin production and darken their skin. Note that those who do not have much Melanin are at a higher risk of skin cancer. However, excessive tanning has some dangers.

3. Medical Conditions
Some medical conditions affect the production of melanin. The commonest one is a condition called Albinism where there is an inability to produce Melanin. This affects the skin, hair and eyes. The markedly reduced Melanin in their eyes leads to problems with vision.
Another medical condition is Vitiligo where the cells that produce melanin are destroyed.

4.Skin lightening agents
Skin lightening, toning or bleaching agents change the colour of the skin. There are so many lightening agents as follows:
Hydroquinone is about the most common agent used for skin lightening. It has been banned by the European Union since 2000. Painfully, it is still in most of our cosmetics.
Others are Mercury, Bethamethasone, Clobestol, Tretinoin Alpha hydroxy acids, Kojic acidArbutin/ Deoxyarbutin , Azelaic acid, Aleosin, Dimethicone ETC.

In fact the list is so long. It is wise to avoid any cream or soap that has any of these substances. Note that some of these chemicals are NATURALLY occurring; they are not all synthetic. In fact all the soaps, bath gels, and creams will indicate that they are used for toning, whitening, lightening, fairness, cleansing ETC.
There are many ways these agents act but they all achieve the same:

ALL SKIN LIGHTENING AGENTS ACT BY REDUCING THE AMOUNT OF MELANIN IN THE SKIN
Tomorrow, we will look at the hazards of skin bleaching.

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