I often have patients come to me with a pre-conceived notion of the state their skin is in. Sometimes, it really takes lots of patience before I can make them see sense. You need to understand that the state of your skin is never constant, especially if you are a woman who goes out to work and spends time in different environmental conditions.
Understanding your skin
The external conditions—pollutants, dirt, grime, and changing weather—play a major role in how your skin feels or behaves. You might be born with a certain type of skin, but over the course of time, weather changes can aggravate a skin condition or change its texture. I am sure you must have noticed that if your skin is prone to oiliness, summer time can be a pain because suddenly the greasy factor increases tenfold. Similarly, if in normal conditions your skin is dry, it becomes dull, flaky, and dehydrated in winter.
You need to examine your current skin care regimen and adjust it to meet your skin’s ever changing needs, based on shifts in climate and sun levels. It’s critical to establish [and diligently follow] a routine that meets your skin’s specific needs during specific climatic conditions.
Adjust your skincare to the season
Many of us jet-set across the globe; often, in the span of just one week, our skin faces different conditions. For instance, you may start off from a summer country and land into a country experiencing winter. While you do your travel packing, make sure your skincare products are packed accordingly. Your skincare routine must remain the same but according to the changing climate conditions, you must use specific products.
Do not go by what you think is your skin type to choose products round the year. Be tuned in to the changes in the weather and how your skin reacts to it. Once you start recording the changes, you will naturally be in sync and treat your skin accordingly. Change your face washes, cleansers, moisturisers and sun protection products to match your skin condition. You will be surprised that all it really takes is to make small adjustments in your daily regime to keep your skin perfect and glowing round the year without any special skincare treatments.
Who doesn’t love the rains? After the scorching sun and all that dust, it is a relief to feel drops pouring from the sky onto your face. I do enjoy a cup of steaming coffee as the rain lashes around, cooling and cleaning everything. There is such a sense of freshness, but I cannot say the same for my skin. The monsoons bring with it a series of skin woes for many—open pores, dull skin and infection along body folds. In simple words, we have summer skin plus increased humidity. A bit of moisture is good, but a lot isn’t.
Look and feel of monsoon
Skin feels hot and humid since the pores are still open from the summer months and can get further aggravated. Acne and skin infection along the body folds can also occur. Sweating can be even more irritating in the humid weather.
Hair swells and is more vulnerable to damage, especially breakage, so it is advisable not to go for too many salon treatments. Even a simple blow dry can cause damage.
Monsoon special care
- Refreshing face wash: Do it four times a week and with cold water
- Toner: Optional
- Scrub: Once a week
- Day cream: Use only a sunscreen
- Skin actives: Apply in the form of serums and gels
- Post summer care: Tan removing creams and skin soothing ones
- Night care: Skin lightening actives, AHA and BHA [Acids at 6 – 20 per cent are available OTC]
- Just hydrant minus the cream: Magic mist
- Hair and scalp: Sun protection for hair
- Body: Couple of showers a day
Pick powders: For this season, you must look for the powder form of most things like compacts, deodorants etc. There are some collagen boosters in powder form too.
Dry up ASAP: If you happen to get wet, wash your face and feet as soon as you can. Then dry them; this removes any impurities you might have picked up. A good idea is to carry some wet wipes and then reapply your skincare product or make up.
Stay with sunscreen: If you are planning to stop the sunscreen regimen, thinking that the clouds will protect you, you are greatly mistaken. Cloudy skies do not guard you from the sun. You can look for a light textured version of sunscreen. There are also some gel variants that offer you protection without clogging your skin. Try the new powder sunscreen with nano-particle technology.
Work towards healthy hair
- Coconut oil massage
- Dry wet hair with low heat
- Do not brush wet hair
- Use loose hair accessories
- Avoid salon treatments—any chemical treatment will harm the strands since the cuticles are open
Have happy hair: Hair care should not be ignored during this season. Since the summer’s intense UV damage makes the hair dry, frizzy, damaged, getting your hair wet in the rains will further weaken it. So say no to all hair treatments that make use of heat and chemicals. Ironing semi-wet or wet hair is a sin.
Monsoon must dos
Getting wet in the rain is fun but change your clothes as soon as possible. Damp clothes increase the risk of skin infections, especially in body folds.
- Dry your hair to remove as much moisture as possible. Blow-dry your hair gently if needed.
- Keep wet wipes, moisturiser, face wash, and sunscreen in your purse to keep your skin in great condition.
Supplements to take in monsoon
- Go high on immune boosters—multivitamins.
- Add anti-inflammatory ingredients to your diet like ginger and turmeric. These ingredients are a major part of our Indian diet.
Monsoon kitchen goodies
- Apply a papaya face mask to remove dead skin layers and reduce tanning.
- Turn over half a lemon and use it as a gentle loofah on the face and the body.
- Use a mixture of lemon juice and rice flour paste on face and body to slough off dark, dead skin.
- Apply lemon, curd, and sandalwood powder as mask and then scrub gently to de-tan.
At your skin doctor’s
Most treatments are safe to receive in this season. Concentrate on de-tanning treatments like peels and microdermabrasion.
Start off laser treatments for skin lightening, tightening, or hair removal.
Adapted from Age Erase by Rashmi Shetty. Published by Random House India
This was first published in the July 2014 issue of Complete Wellbeing.