Dr Vijay Aswani

We’ve all heard of the popular phrase ‘Beauty is skin deep’. However, in recent times this phrase could just be proved wrong with self beautification increasing tremendously. While the popularity of cosmetic surgery seems to have sky-rocketed, an increasing number of people these days also go in for treatments to enhance their hair and skin.

We at HealthJockey decided to gain more insights into this increasing trend. We conducted an online interview with Dr. Vijay L. Aswani, Director, CUTIZ Skin and Hair Clinic and Clinical Asst. in the Department of Dermatology, Jaslok Hospital & Research centre. In this first part of the interview, he sheds light on the various hair and skin-care treatments while also providing healthy tips and home remedies for different types of hair and skin. Below are the excerpts of the interview with Dr. Vijay Aswani:

Can you tell us something about yourself?

I graduated and did my post graduation in Dermatology from Grant Medical College, Bombay University in Oct.1998. I am a life member of the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists & Leprologists (IADVL), Cosmetology Society of India, Association of Cutaneous Surgeons of India, Indian Association for the study of STD & AIDS, Indian Association of Leprologists, Association of Medical Consultants, Indian Society for Pediatric Dermatology.

Along with Dr. Ram Malkani I have carried out a clinical research on Acne and Hirusutism, Androgenetic Alopecia in males and females, Acanthosis Nigricans: A marker of PCOD, insulin resistance, obesity, a study at Jaslok Hospital. I have also assisted on many clinical trails such as Azithromycin in NGU and Pyogenic skin infections, Aug-Dec, 1992, Moxifloxacin v/s cephalexin in the treatment of mild to moderate uncomplicated skin and skin structure infections, a phase II trial. Furthermore, I have presented papers at clinical meetings and conferences, and have various articles.

Can you tell us mostly for what kind of treatments patients come to you?

Various treatments that I usually deal with are chemical peels, AHA peels, BHA peels, Mandelic acid, Lactic acid, Yellow peel for acne, Acne scars, pigmentation, and stretch marks. Beside facial peels, body peels are also undertaken. Botox for dynamic wrinkles, fillers for static wrinkles, microdermabrasion, mesotherapy for fat and cellulite reduction are some other treatments I conduct. In addition we also perform radiofrequency treatment for moles, scars, tattoo removal, keloid removal, non surgical facelift and sclerotherapy for superficial varicose veins. Narrowband UVB for leucoderma, skin grafting for vitiligo, Biobeam treatment for non healing wounds, iontophoresis for excessive perspiration and advanced facials for improving complexion, removing tan etc. are also treated.

Do you have any celebrity patients as well? What kind of treatments do they come to you for?

A few celebrity patients do come to me for advanced facials, mesotherapy, botox and fillers.

In this age of pollution and busy life what kind of hair/skin treatments would you suggest? And would you like to comment on the type of cosmetics and hair products that people use in this age? Is such a usage beneficial or harmful?

Hair/skin treatments have to be tailor-made for each patient. Cosmetics are among the most unregulated and therefore most potentially harmful consumer products on the market. Using good quality cosmetics is of paramount importance to avoid being exposed to carcinogens.

Do you conduct laser treatments as well? What kind of laser treatments do you conduct?

Yes, I do conduct laser treatment mainly for hair removal.

Can you tell us a little about the derma-roller procedure?

Derma roller is a disposable instrument used to induce collagen in the skin for treatment of acne scars, burn scars and pigmentation. It is a simple, cost effective OPD treatment, unlike dermabrasion.

Hair Care

In today’s era of male pattern baldness what kind of treatments would you suggest?

Primary aim of treatment of Androgenetic Alopecia is to prevent further hair loss and to stimulate hair growth wherever possible. Medical treatments approved for treatment in men are Topical Minoxidil and oral Finasteride. Single unit follicular Hair transplant is also an option. Camouflage and wigs can be used by patients who do not want any treatment.

Does oil massage do any good to the hair? Or is it just a misconception that it is beneficial?

Oil massage stimulates blood flow to the scalp. Oil acts as a ‘stay on’ conditioner making hair more manageable but does not help Androgenetic alopecia.

How does one treat dandruff? It is a saying that even shaving off the head doesn’t cure dandruff – Is it true?

Dandruff is non-inflammatory increased scaling on the scalp. Various agents in shampoos are used to control dandruff e.g. Selenium Sulphite, Zinc Pyrithione, Salicylic acid, Tar, Ketoconazole, Fluconazole and Ciclopirox olamine. Overnight lotions are also available containing climbazole, piroctone olamine to control dandruff. Natural methods like taking a tsp of lemon juice. And mixing it with 2tsp full of vinegar can be massaged on the scalp. You can then wash you hair with egg shampoo to get rid of dandruff. Additionally mixing 1tsp of fenugreek seed powder with an egg and applying the mixture to leave for ½ an hour before shampooing hair is a good dandruff remedy. Yes it is true, that even shaving off the head may not really cure dandruff.

Hair fall and split-ends have been a common worry for all. What are the main causes of hair fall? What would you suggest as a prevention/treatment for these hair issues?

Most people shed 50-100 hair/day. Hair loss may lead to baldness when the rate of shedding exceeds the rate of re-growth. Telogen effluvium is the most common cause and it may occur when there is some type of shock to your system – emotional or physical. Poor nutrition, drugs, hormonal changes, traction, hair treatments, scalp infection, and certain diseases also cause hair fall. Male and female pattern Androgenetic Alopecia also forms a large group. You must avoid aggressive hair treatments to prevent split ends, which can also be treated by cutting the hair just above the split end. Using a milk and cream mixture after you shampoo your hair on the strands and hair ends can help you get rid of split ends. Also a mixture of lettuce and spinach juice is believed to help the growth of hair; about ½ liter can be consumed in a day. Application of coconut milk all over the scalp and massaging it into the hair roots is also beneficial in the treatment of hair loss.

What do you have to say about the regular use of shampoos and other chemicals on the hair?

The right kind of shampoo for the type of hair you possess is important. Shampoo should be changed every 2-3 years. Certain shampoos with harsh chemicals can cause damage to the hair and cause hair fall.

Is there any way of stopping premature greying of hair? Are there any natural ways of treating grey hair?

Greying of hair (canities) is usually a manifestation of the ageing process. This may be genetically programmed to occur as early as adolescence. It is often stated that it may be an early sign of pernicious anaemia, hyperthyroidism and less commonly, hypothyroidism which are all autoimmune diseases. Darkening of grey hair may occur following large doses of p-aminobenzoic acid, Calcium pantothenate and inositol. Certain home remedies have been found useful in the prevention and treatment of premature graying of hair, foremost among them is the use of Amla. Following are some others:

A) Fruit cut into pieces can be dried, in the shade. These should be boiled in coconut oil till solid matter becomes like charred dust. This darkish oil is very useful.

B) Massaging the scalp with a tsp of Amla juice mixed with a tsp of almond oil every night.

C) Intake of curry leaves is considered beneficial in preventing premature graying of hair.

D) Butter made from cow’s milk has the property to prevent premature greying of hair. A small roll may be taken internally and a little amt can also be massaged into the hair roots twice a week.

What kind of hair ailment worry you the most? And what kind of steps resolve the same issue?

Congenital hair disorders cause a lot of worry because they cannot be treated. Certain skin diseases like Lichen planus, lupus which cause scarring alopecia are a cause for concern and need to be treated aggressively.

Do you conduct hair transplant procedures? What kind of hair transplant procedures do you follow?

No, I don’t conduct hair transplant procedures.

Do you also have women patients coming to you for hair transplants?

Actually female patients ask for hair transplants rarely. Mostly they are patients who have lost hair following certain skin diseases or burns.

What hair care home remedies would you can suggest for our readers?

Home Remedies for Dry Hair:

Take a cup of coconut milk; add 2tbsp of gram flour. Apply on the scalp and massage gently. Rinse after 5mins. This can be used once a week. Massage the scalp with warm almond or olive oil. Add a tsp of lavender oil to coconut oil and heat it for a few seconds. Massage the scalp at night and shampoo the hair next morning twice a week.

Home Remedies for Oily hair:

The best way to deal with oily hair is frequent washing with mild shampoo.
Mix 1tsp of Aloe Vera gel and 1tbsp of lemon juice and one-fourth of shampoo and use the mixture to rinse the hair regularly. Boil 2tbsp of mint in 1 and 1/2glass of water for 20 minutes. Strain the mixture and mix it with the regularly used shampoo. Use this mixture on alternate days as an effective remedy for oily hair.

Home Remedies for Normal Hair:

Application of cucumber puree for 15 minutes before washing will provide shine and volume to hair. Soak 1tsp of fenugreek seeds overnight. Next morning grind the seeds and apply on hair, rinse with water after 1 hour and the shampoo next day. It will make the hair glow.

Part 2 of the interview is here.