Home Climate Change,Life Style,Women Rights Unveiling the Impact: Climate Change's Toll on Women's Skin

Unveiling the Impact: Climate Change's Toll on Women's Skin

Dr. Mehmood Noor highlighted that more than 60 patients with skin problems visit the Lady Reading Hospital's OPD daily, and a significant portion of them are women.
by TNN Editor - 19 Aug, 2023 1611

Salma Jehangir

"The skin has gotten so bad over the last few years that when I look in the mirror, I wonder if it's really the same skin that used to be so clear," shared Neelam, a 37-year-old resident of Peshawar who has been battling a persistent skin condition for the past four years. "I have tried home remedies along with treatments, but there is no significant improvement. These medications provide temporary relief, but as soon as I stop, the issue resurfaces."

Describing her ailment, Neelam explained that her face was initially covered with red marks that eventually turned black. This was her first experience with such a skin disease, leaving her deeply concerned.

In the context of skin ailments, Dr. Sahibzada Mehmood Noor, a dermatologist at Lady Reading Hospital, connected the recent surge in skin issues to climate change. He pointed out that the recent rains, attributed to climate change, have led to flooding and increased humidity in various areas, thereby contributing to the rise in skin diseases.

Dr. Mehmood Noor highlighted that more than 60 patients with skin problems visit the Lady Reading Hospital's OPD daily, and a significant portion of them are women. He emphasized that this number is increasing steadily, and environmental pollution is one of the key factors amplifying the rise in skin diseases.

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According to Professor Mehmood Noor, elevated humidity levels in the air foster skin allergies, while contaminated floodwaters exacerbate the incidence of various diseases, including skin conditions. These factors, along with rapid bacteria and virus spread in moist conditions, contribute to such skin ailments.

To mitigate skin diseases, Professor Sahibzada Mehmood Noor recommended using clean water and washing hands and feet after walking through floodwaters. He also stressed the importance of seeking medical consultation for proper examination and treatment.

Dr. Asif Khan Khattak, an assistant professor in Peshawar University's Department of Environmental Sciences, delved into climate change's impact on skin health. He elucidated that climate is determined by long-term temperature records spanning 30 to 35 years for a given region. Globally, climate change results from continuous temperature increases worldwide.

From 1850 to 2023, the world's average temperature surged by approximately 1.2 degrees Celsius, signifying a dangerous trend with far-reaching implications. Dr. Khan Khattak attributed this to the intensified greenhouse effect, driven by artificial increases in gas emissions from factories, vehicles, and more.

Aram, a 24-year-old working woman, has shadows on her face despite diligent use of sunblock and regular skin specialist visits. Her face temporarily improves with medication, only for the shadows to return when she stops treatment.

Dr. Mahmood Noor noted that environmental pollution is taking a toll on skin health. Intense heat and sun exposure can lead to redness known as 'sunburn,' making sunblock usage crucial. High temperatures can also darken the skin's color.

Dry skin is another issue exacerbated by environmental pollution, particularly during cold and dry weather. Wrinkles appear due to skin dryness, necessitating moisturizers like Vaseline or cold cream. Dr. Noor advised against using hot water in winter, as it further dries the skin.

Highlighting the impact of environmental pollution on sensitive skin, Dr. Noor revealed that dust's harmful substances can deteriorate skin texture. Women, who often have more sensitive skin, are more susceptible to skin diseases. He emphasized the importance of proper skincare practices and using medication cautiously.

Assistant Professor Asif Khan Khattak concurred, underscoring that climate change has escalated environmental pollution with increased dust and emissions from factories. These trends are contributing to the surge in skin issues, creating a growing concern for public health.

Why are women more susceptible to skin diseases than men?

Addressing the query of why women are more vulnerable to skin diseases compared to men, Professor Mahmood Noor offered insights into the matter. He explained that women frequently adopt various beauty and cosmetic practices, often resorting to incorrect products. For instance, in pursuit of fairer skin, they may use inappropriate creams that can harm the skin.

Misuse of these products can result in the skin becoming thinner and more sensitive among women. This heightened sensitivity makes their skin more susceptible to the damaging effects of sunlight. Sun exposure can trigger itching and lead to the development of dark spots on women's faces.

Effects of Bleaching Creams on Skin

Discussing the impact of whitening creams or formulas on the skin, Professor Mehmood Noor emphasized their harmful nature. He highlighted that despite the risks, many women opt for various beauty creams, including whitening products, in pursuit of enhanced beauty. This choice may lead to temporary skin whitening effects, but over time, adverse consequences can emerge.

Dr. Noor further explained that continued use of these creams might result in unwanted facial hair growth or heightened skin sensitivity. This heightened sensitivity can render the skin susceptible to various ailments. Eczema, acne, dryness, heat rash, freckles, blemishes, and increased sensitivity to sunlight are common skin issues faced in Pakistan, with a significant proportion being among women. Dr. Noor pointed out that excessive makeup and formula cream usage exacerbate the problem by making the skin more susceptible to microbial attacks.

What precautions should women take?

Addressing this concern, Professor Bushra, a nutritionist affiliated with Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar, emphasized the importance of dietary choices alongside skin treatment. She underscored that the adverse effects of climate change on health can be mitigated, if not fully eliminated, through preventive measures. To address the impact on women's skin, especially during periods of breastfeeding, pregnancy, or menstruation, women must be attentive to their dietary intake due to potential deficiencies in iron, protein, and blood.

Furthermore, Professor Bushra stressed the critical need for women to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet. This includes incorporating pulses, grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables rich in essential nutrients such as iron, salts, proteins, and various vitamins. A well-rounded diet contributes to overall physical well-being, reinforcing the body's immunity against diseases and consequently reducing the likelihood of skin issues arising.

Professor Bushra advised women to consume ample quantities of fresh fruit juices, clean water, and milk to keep their skin rejuvenated and radiant. She cautioned against relying on market-produced foods and beverages, urging women to prioritize natural, whole foods. By attending to dietary needs, women can effectively manage skin problems exacerbated by climate change. Additionally, seeking consultation from a specialist doctor and adhering to their recommendations is paramount for effective treatment.

Dr. Sahibzada Noor also offered guidance to women, emphasizing the significance of dietary care. He advised against excessive sun exposure, urging the use of sunblock and doctor-prescribed face washes, herbal soaps, or creams. In the case of any skin ailment, Dr. Noor urged women to seek professional assessment and cautioned against relying on self-prescribed remedies or unverified advice from others.

Pakistan's Rank Among Climate-Affected Nations

Pakistan stands among the top 10 nations significantly impacted by climate change. Distressingly, it occupies the eighth position on this list. According to Professor Asif Khan, Pakistan, despite not playing a prominent role in causing climate change, bears the brunt of its consequences to a significant extent.

Professor Khan went on to highlight that carbon emissions constitute a primary driver of climate change, and Pakistan ranks 32nd globally in terms of carbon emissions. Alarming predictions suggest that the world's temperature will rise by one and a half degrees Celsius within the next two decades, a phenomenon deemed high-risk by experts due to its potential exacerbation of erratic weather patterns.