Monsoon brings in a breath of relief after the scorching heat of the summers. Monsoon, however, comes with their own share of problems; skin, for example, needs utmost care and nurturing in this season. A multitude of myths and misconceptions prevail, which make us treat our skin with harsh chemicals, detergents, resort to aggressive methods like overzealous scrubbing, and incessant usage of the galaxy of products available in the market bought because of ‘expert advice’ of peers and advertisers alike.
Monsoon is a complex season, it is humid as well as dry. While it is cloudy, we continue to bear the brunt of the Sun’s harmful UV-A & B rays. The season also promotes sweating, as well as increases overall oiliness. A doctor prescribed skincare routine therefore is the best way to deal with Monsoon related skin woes. Let’s understand the issues better;
UNDERSTANDING SKIN TYPES: Broadly, there are three types of skin-dry, oily and combination (dry cheeks and oily T-zone &outer area of the face), let’s understand how to deal with each of these types;
- Caring for ‘Dry’ skin: A good skin =moisturized skin. Monsoon brings forth the allergies, and allergic skin is inherently dry. Daily moisturizing is the key to prevent itching and scratching. Dehydrated skin looks dry and lacks lustre. There are two main types of moisturizers – Emollient coats the topmost layer of skin and prevents the water droplets on the skin from evaporating into the atmosphere; while a Humectant increases the water content of outer layers of skin. Certain moisturizers are loaded with skin-repairing natural moisturizing factors (Ceramides) and help allergic or diseased skin. A dermatologist can help you in making the best choice for your skin!
- Caring for Oily skin: Oil glands although are controlled by hormones, they tend to get hyperactive during monsoons. This makes the skin looks sticky; and when people with oily-skin try to dab themselves with cosmetics to decrease stickiness, they end up with acne/pimple flare-ups. Oily skin needs a medicated face wash (used twice-thrice) daily, to combat excessive oiliness. Excessive washing and scrubbing of the face should be refrained from, it signals oil glands to produce more oil. People with oily skin should refrain from applying heavy make-up in monsoons; instead, opt for water-based cosmetics and use lotions instead of creams, to moisturize your skin. Acne should be treated in a timely manner, only after consulting a Dermatologist (who can use treatment options like medicines, creams, chemical peels), so you aren’t left with marks or scars.
- Caring for ‘Combination’ skin: This type is a mix of both dry outer and oily inner skin, it needs a tailor-made therapy that comprises of mild cleansers and good moisturisation.
CARE MANTRA FOR YOUR FACE: This 3-step care regimen should be followed religiously;
CTS: Cleansing, Toning, and Sunscreen application (daytime)
CTM: Cleansing, Toning, and Moisturizer application (evenings)
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TONER:
- People with dry skin should use alcohol-free toners
- People with oily skin should use alcohol-based toners
- People with combination skin should use alcohol-based toners in case of oiliness and non-alcoholic toners if their skin feels itchy
CHOOSE THE RIGHT SPF:
The clouds definitely block heat-producing Infra-red rays but not the skin-damaging UV-A and UV-B rays. A medicated sunscreen with minimum SPF 15 and UV-A (Boots star rating-3) should be used when going out in sun. The opinion of a Dermatologist should be taken regarding sunscreens best suitable for your skin and weather.
BODYCARE: Monsoons with it fungal (most common), viral and bacterial infections. Tinea or fungal infections commonly called as ‘Ringworm’ are especially common in this season. Fungus blooms in humidity and wetness, so all body folds and wet areas are prone to these infections.
- If drenched, people should change their clothes, including undergarments, as soon as possible
- Wearing closed footwear with socks is not ideal, one should opt for sandals while outdoors and wear closed indoors
- Before wearing socks, the religious use of anti-fungal dusting powder, prescribed by a Dermatologist can prevent fungal infections. The dusting powder should be used in body folds after a bath, and in the evening before retiring for bed
TIPS IN A NUT-SHELL:
- Wear loose cotton clothing
- Change out of wet garments including under-garments as soon as possible
- Bathe after coming back from work, thoroughly clean the body folds
- Apply dusting powder religiously while changing garments
- Avoid scratching, as much as possible
- Eat a balanced diet with lots of fruits &vegetables containing Vitamin A and C
- Keep your skin hydrated by drinking 2-3 litres of water, and by applying a moisturizer after bathing, on damp skin
- Religious use of sunscreen when going out
Inputs by Dr. Smriti Naswa Singh, Consultant Dermatologist & Cosmetic Dermatologist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund