Who doesn’t love the rain? The trees are greener, birds are chirpier … it feels like we are inching towards autumn – there is hope! But if you are one those whose hair frizzes up or skin breaks out in humidity … probably not your favourite season then eh? (Also, mosquitoes!)
We asked Dr. Sachin Dhawan to recommend a regimen that can help you fight off humidity and keep your skin healthy!
How does humidity affect your skin?
A little bit of moisture in the air is good for the skin , it prevents dryness and adds lustre to the skin. But excess moisture and warmth, typically seen during the monsoons, leads to the right environment for bacteria to grow and cause acne and other infections. Fungus growth is also promoted leading to dandruff and 'ringworm' infection. As the skin becomes more permeable, there are greater chances of allergy to your usual products and cosmetics, so a change to gentler products may be necessary.
When you wake up:
Wash your face. Clean your face in the morning with a gentle cleanser that is suitable for your skin type. If you have acne or other skin issues, your doctor may have recommended a cleanser with certain specific active ingredients. For instance, a cleanser with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid or salicylic acid helps removes excess oil and exfoliates dead skin cells both in the pores and on the surface of your skin.
Tone or target trouble spots. You may want to use an alcohol-free toner, which helps further cleanse the pores and tighten them. Alternatively, you may have serums or ointments for your specific skin care needs. If you have acne prone skin, it is a good idea to check with your Dermatologist before using serums or lotions with high-dose active ingredients. Your doctor will be able to advise you if they are OK for your skin – especially during the hot & humid season, when your skin is more prone to breakouts.
Moisturise. Even in the humid weather, you should still keep your skin hydrated. This is especially important if you spend a lot of time in closed, air-conditioned spaces, since that tends to dry up the skin. Choose an oil-free moisturiser that works for your skin type.
Wear Sunscreen. Even a short exposure to the sun can cause lasting damage to your skin. So before heading out, wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher. If you are using anti-acne treatment, it is even more important to protect your skin. Acne medications like retinoids or AHAs exfoliate the top layer of skin to prevent plugged up pores, and can make your skin more vulnerable to sun exposure.
By the way, you need to wear sunscreen on cloudy days as well! About 80% of the sun’s UV rays can pierce through clouds, and cause sun damage.
Before you go to bed:
Wash your face. Never go to bed with make-up on, or without having washed your face. You need to clean out the day’s grime and excess oil build-up. You may also occasionally exfoliate using a gentle cleanser brush or an exfoliating facewash. Do not exfoliate too frequently, as it will do more harm than good!
Bring out the good stuff (treatments). While you sleep, your body is working at rejuvenating you in more ways than one! According to researchers, new skin cells grow faster while you sleep. The calm, controlled and steady environ of your bedroom is a good place for your serums or ointments to work. Apply your medicated ointments as directed by your doctor.
Moisturise. Keeping skin hydrated through the night is important, particularly with the AC running and drying up the room. You may use a moisturiser meant for nightime use. Typically these creams are richer and contain more anti-aging and other active-ingredients, which can work better through the night. If you are using medicated skin ointments, your doctor may suggest skipping this step at night. Check with your doctor if you are not sure.
As with our overall health, the key to good skin health is to take regular little steps, and stick to the routine. For those of us who live in polluted urban cities, the struggle is real. But by following this skin care regimen regularly, you will see noticeably healthier and glowing skin – no matter the season!