Monday, June 23, 2008

Skincare tips for the monsoon

While the monsoons bring a welcome respite from summer heat, they also pose a lot of challenges to healthy skin. The heat-induced rashes of summertime give way to the humidity-induced problems of the rainy season. If you are health-conscious and take a few simple precautions, you can save yourself a lot of misery over bad skin.

The biggest skin complaint during the monsoon has to be fungal infections. A fungus thrives in humidity -- wet skin folds rubbing against each other get macerated easily, providing easy entry to fungi and yeast. As a result, you develop itchy, circular, reddish, flaking patches on the body, especially in skin folds at the groin (Jock Itch), underarms and around the breast in women.

Fungal infections can also affect your feet, especially if you wear closed shoes all day. Staying dry is the best way to avoid them. Carry a set of dry clothes and footwear to the office and change immediately if you've gotten drenched on your way.

Once you are seated at your desk, take your shoes and socks off to allow air circulation around your feet. Wear sandals or floaters as far as possible. Use plenty of dusting talc to prevent accumulation of sweat and moisture in skin folds. Those prone to repeated fungal infections can use medicated powders like Absorb, Mycoderm etc.

Athlete's Foot is a combined bacterial and fungal infection that affects people whose feet stay wet for hours, especially after exposure to dirty water. Starting from the toes, the skin turns whitish or greenish, itches terribly and there may even be a foul-smelling discharge or pus.

Prevent this by thoroughly washing your feet with soap and hot water after wading through stagnant water and then dry them completely. If the water was particularly dirty, it's advisable after the wash to soak your feet for a few minutes in a tub of warm water with three or four cap-fulls of betadine solution added to it. This is a powerful Povidone-iodine based disinfectant and can also be added to the last few mugfulls of your bath water if you've had to battle through a flood like the terrible 20/7 ordeal back in 2005 -- in such cases, it's also recommended that you consult your dermatologist regarding an oral antibiotic.

Scabies is another common infection that preys on both children and adults during the monsoon -- it is caused by a mite infestation. If your child complains about a body itch that intensifies at night and you see a few red bumps or a rash on his/her hands, wrists, underarms, abdomen, groin and buttocks, then rush to the dermatologist -- this condition is highly contagious and invariably spreads to the family if not treated properly.

Sickly, dull, oily-looking skin is common during the rainy season. Nondescript itching also occurs occasionally. A few additional tips on how to keep your complexion glowing:

  • Use a face scrub twice a week to exfoliate.
  • Avoid heavy moisturising creams or oily foundations and cream-based colour makeup. Use a light mousse or a matte compact or simply a few drops of calamine lotion as a makeup base.
  • A facewash containing alpha hydroxyl acid (like Ahaglow) helps to freshen the skin, but do not use it more than once a day.
  • Use a toner each time you wash your face to close the pores and restore your skin's pH balance.
  • Chemical peels (skin treatment performed by dermatologists) are also an excellent way to freshen up dull skin and the monsoon is the best weather for them -- there is no risk of sun exposure and sensitivity after the peeling session. There are a variety of peels available nowadays -- skin-lightening peels, acne peels, peels for sensitive skin, arginine peels for under-eye circles etc. Ask your dermatologist for details.

  • Have a healthy monsoon!

    Friday, June 13, 2008

    5 career needs of every professional

    In today's economy, you need to evolve constantly if you want your career to go places. If you don't, there is every possibility that one of your colleagues/ classmates will walk away with the coveted position that you aspired to.

    So how does one add value to oneself? Here are five steps that will meet all your career advancement needs:

    Self learning

    Learning is an ongoing lifelong process, we learn a little from everything we do. Career advancement requires a structured form of learning. If you are aspiring to a higher role within or outside your organisation, you need to identify the competency that role demands and go about acquiring the same. Some of the best-managed companies provide such learning tools to their employees.

    Self assessment

    Know yourself and where you stand -- it's important if you're planning your own growth chart. We are assessed by others whenever we are interviewed for job openings and promotions, so stay one step ahead and assess yourself first. You need to work on areas where there is room for improvement. If you come from a technology background, for example and you think you have mastered a particular technological tool, go ahead and get certified. This will add a lot of value to your professional standing and will pay off richly in future.

    Peer discussions

    Life's lessons are learned through community interaction and that holds true for our professional lives too. Whenever you get time off from your busy schedule, utilise it positively by interacting with your peers and discussing common areas of interest. If you can't meet up in person, use the Internet -- there are lots of professional networking portals and some of them have large numbers of qualified professionals as members. This informal knowledge-gathering complements the disciplined self-learning approach discussed above.

    Career counselling

    Everyone needs expert advice and counselling from time to time. We hear about godfathers and political gurus all the time, but unfortunately we do not recognise the relevance of professional mentors, thanks to the job opportunities economic growth has brought to India. There are, however, several intelligent folk who model their careers along similar lines as their seniors and heed the latter's advice in matters involving career growth. Sometimes it's also a good idea to opt for career counselling -- it helps one identify which professional path has the maximum scope for growth and job satisfaction.

    Look before you leap

    Several youngsters take up new jobs/designations because they offer better monetary compensation. If you are clear about your career growth pattern, monetary return should be a secondary criterion -- first comes future growth potential. You also need to verify offers made to you by potential employers or your boss -- discuss your new responsibilities thoroughly and only if you are completely convinced should you take up the new challenge.

    Monday, June 2, 2008

    Triumph of the underdog -IPL 2008

    IPL- 2008: Despite its share of controversies and the heady mix of glamour and cricket, the Indian Premier League's first edition would be best remembered for the triumph of the underdog wherein a retired spin legend inspired the cheapest franchisee of the event to an unexpected title win.

    Shane Warne, considered by many as the best captain never to lead Australia, led a pack of unheralded players to a Rs 4.8 crore prize cheque.

    Shaun Marsh, son of Australian great Geoff Marsh, became the most successful batsman of the tournament and the left-hander was the undisputed choice for the Orange Cap, meant for the event's highest run-getter, with 616 runs.

    Sohail Tanvir (left) -- the wrong-footed pacer from Pakistan -- competed with the likes of Glenn McGrath and Muttiah Muralitharan to take the purple cap for the top wicket-taker with 22 wickets.

    Australia's Shane Watson, who played a key role in Rajasthan Royal's title triumph, was declared the man of the tournament with 474 runs, including four half centuries, and 17 wickets.

    There is no Indian, what you think!!!.