Indian summers are harsh on the skin. The sun is strong and unrelenting. And the humidity does no favours for most skin types. Apart from the regular cleansing and moisturising routine, your skin needs to be protected from the extensive heat damage it faces in these months. We know you have a lot of questions on summer skincare. So we got skincare expert, author and cosmetic physician to the stars, Dr Jamuna Pai, to answer some queries.
The ideal skincare routine, according to Dr Jamuna Pai
All About Eve: What is a basic skincare routine everyone needs to start using in summer?
Dr Jamuna Pai: An ideal summer skincare regime to be followed in summer could be:
For the morning:
After washing your face, rub ice all over it. It will shrink the pores, freshen you up, and control oiliness which is at its peak during summer. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. When you’re outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two hours — or more often if you’re swimming or perspiring. Use calamine lotion along with your sunscreen as it helps in reducing the sebum and acts as a soothing agent.
When you’re on the move, use blotting paper instead of dabbing your face with powder. Powder camouflages oiliness but it can mix with your skin’s oils and clog your pores. Blotting papers can absorb oil without disturbing your makeup.
For the night:
Cleansing your face at night after it has been exposed to sun, dirt, pollution during the day is an absolute must. It removes the residue of all the skin products you use and keeps your skin looking fresh and clean. Use a cleanser that suits your skin type and is soap-free and gentle on your face.
Moisturising is a vital step in skincare even in the summer. Choose a moisturiser which is non-comedogenic and oil-free. I generally recommend a lightweight moisturiser containing hyaluronic acid. Alternatively, use natural remedies such as lemon-peel extract, because of its astringent and antibacterial properties.
Why a serum should be your summer BFF
AAE: What are the most common skincare mistakes you see people making in summer?
Dr Pai: People stop using moisturisers in the summer- this is a common mistake. It is believed that because the skin gets oily, you do not need to moisturise it. But the fact is that due to excessive sun exposure, your skin can get dehydrated. For people with oily or combination skin, consider swapping your oil-free moisturiser for a serum. Serums are lightweight and deliver a high concentration of nutrients. If you have dry skin, you can continue using your regular moisturiser and add a serum to your routine.
AAE: Does one serum work for every skin issue I have, or should I try different serums for different issues and skin types?
Dr Pai: There are many varieties of serums available in the market. If you have dry skin, look for Vitamin E and hyaluronic acid. If you have oily or acne prone skin, look for Vitamin C or salicylic acid. If you have mature skin, look for retinol in your serum.
AAE: Is there any specific way I’m supposed to apply it, what should I keep in mind?
Dr Pai: If you have dry skin, a serum can be layered under your moisturiser, during the day and at night. If you are using a topical retinoid at night, it is best to use the serum earlier in the day. Or use the retinoid and serum on an alternate night basis. Also, ‘less is more’ when it comes to serums. Do not over use. They are concentrated solutions, so a small quantity is sufficient.
Stay away from the harsh sun
AAE: And finally, what are the biggest skin problems one may have to face in the summer? What’s the best way to tackle them?
Dr Pai: The most common skin problems seen during the summer are acne getting aggravated, skin getting oilier, getting tanned and sunburnt, prickly heat, body odour, and fungal infection, to name a few. Excessive sun exposure could also give rise to a photo allergic reaction known as polymorphic light eruption (PMLE) on the exposed areas of the body causing tanning, pigmentation and patchy skin.
The strong rays of the sun cause the skin to tan and can further lead to sun burns. If it’s not checked in time, this leads to pigmented spots showing up. Increase in humidity levels and an increased cell turnover are the major reasons for skin and hair problems in the summer.
To tackle these summer problems, avoid direct sunlight as far as possible. Apply sunscreen with SPF 20 or 30 and above. Repeat the application every 2-3 hours. Wear appropriate clothing, preferably light cotton, which covers the exposed areas of the body to protect it from sunlight.
So listen to Dr Jamuna Pai and protect yourself from the harsh sun, ladies. Your skin will thank you for it.