8 Summer Essentials
Simple ways to keep your skin healthy
Extreme heat and humidity make you susceptible to oily and greasy skin, excessive sweating and frizzy hair. Small alterations to your daily skincare regime go a long way. Our beauty experts weigh in on how to stay happy and hydrated this summer.
1. Don't forget to moisturize
For the summer months, "look for omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E in your moisturizer", advises Delhi-based dermatologist, Dr Kiran Lohia. Dryness is a sign of omega-3 deficiency, while vitamin E helps reduce damage from pollution and protects against sun damage. Choose moisturizers that are gel-based or have a light consistency. For an extra boost, try substituting your regular moisturizer with a face oil, which will prevent acne-causing sebum from forming. Tackle acne-prone skin with rosehip and hazelnut oil. If you have sensitive or oily skin, try tea tree oil--it has bacteria-fighting properties, controls excess oil and soothes skin.
2. Scrub your face clean
"But only once a week," advises Dr Rashmi Shetty, Mumbai-based dermatologist and author of Age Erase: Your Ultimate Beauty Bible to Ageing Gracefully. "Because, when you're using an exfoliator, you are removing the top layer of the skin, which is not a good idea as that layer protects your skin against sun damage." Excessive exfoliation can cause skin abrasions, so use products with nonabrasive granules. Stick to mild fruit- or sugar-based scrubs or try a gentle home-made version by mixing honey, mashed banana and sugar. Older women, in particular, should look for scrubs that have glycolic acid, as it boosts cell renewal. Men, on the other hand, can use a scrub two to three times a week, but make sure you do it before shaving.
3. Wash away the grime
"Pick face washes that are foam-based and contain salicylic acid to prevent acne, blackheads and reduce oil," advises Lohia. Shetty suggests choosing one that lathers and feels fresh, minty and light.
4. Always use a sun block
Ensure that you use sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB protection, every day. This is vital as "UVA rays cause pigmentation and ageing", says Lohia. Choose a sunscreen between SPF 30 and 50 and apply 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure. Mineral-based sunscreens are healthier for the skin, according to experts, so look for ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide on the label that screen out harmful UVA and UVB rays. "After a day out, wash your face with chilled water and avoid harsh moisturizers and scrubs," says Shetty. "Apply grated cucumber or raw potato slices to soothe and calm sun burn," she adds.
5. Keep your skin clear
If you are acne-prone, be cautious. Compared to women, "men have oilier skin, so you need to aggressively use strong face washes to reduce oil secretion while zapping away zits", says Lohia. "Women also have more sensitive skin and have to balance acne zapping with skin preservation," she adds. Avoid home remedies as too much manipulation of the skin can lead to marks and zits.
6. Stay hydrated
Dehydration takes a toll on your skin health. "Sip on lemonade and coconut water. Electrolytes present in these help your body absorb water better than plain water," says Lohia.
7. Nourish your hair
Pollution levels and rising temperatures can spell bad news for your hair. Your crowning glory reflects your diet and overall health. Ensure that your diet has enough vitamins and minerals. To support a well-balanced diet, you could consume biotin (a vitamin from the B-complex family) capsules as a supplement, says Lohia. Consult your physician first, she adds.
8. Care for your feet
Stick to wearing open-toed shoes to allow circulation. Wash your feet when they feel sweaty. Men especially should change socks regularly to avoid fungal infections. "Consider using an antiperspirant powder on your feet with minerals to absorb the sweat," says Lohia.
--With inputs by Manavi Siddhanti
Adapted from Prevention India. Copyright April 2013 Living Media India Limited.