October 21, 2016

Skin care in winter


And winter is here; wasn’t it just the other day I was writing on winter skin issues? Here I go again…

During this season both skin and hair need a fair bit of attention. Quite honestly for most of us having oily or combination skin, winter is gentler than most other seasons. The heat and humidity in summer lead to breakouts of pimples and acne; winter ushers in a relative relief from these woes.

However, it is still important to keep your pores unclogged and breathing at all times. Twice a day, clean your skin using gel cleansers or neem soap. Lather in a circular motion to remove excess oil and dirt. The natural oil in the skin attracts dust from the surroundings and if left to settle on the surface of the skin, will create irritation and blockage leading to pimples.

A fine scrub is also a good option, provided you do not have a breakout of boils and blisters that may get damaged and scarred because of it. Acne-prone skin can be easily damaged and being gentle is of paramount importance. Pimples must never be popped as it leads to more eruptions and can cause scarring.

Follow this up with a toner or astringent using a cotton swab. Wipe in short, quick strokes all over the face if skin is oily, and only on the T-zone if you have a combination type. This removes all leftover oiliness, as well as shrinking existing pores for smoother, tighter skin – it will feel fresh and invigorated.

The natural moisture level in oily/combination skin type is high so the type of moisturiser you use depends on that.

Gel-based, light moisturisers and lotions are perfect for oily skin and should be used at night. Products containing Retin- A are great as it accelerates cell turnover, speeding the production of new skin cells and therefore help clear up inflammatory acne lesions.

Products with Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) also benefit both oily and dry skin. The outer layer of the skin is sloughed off revealing the newer cells underneath. These are available in cream gel and lotion formulae. It is also found naturally in citrus fruits like lemons and oranges (as citric acid), in curd or yoghurt (as lactic acid), and in sugarcane (as glycolic acid). That is why these products are used extensively in skin care, even in their natural forms. Paired with ‘Multani’ powder or flour will make a perfect mask for the skin.

Those will normal to dry skin need to get their act together for winter as the cold strips and dries out moisture that is already lacking to begin with.

Dry skin tends to be flaky and must be constantly infused with moisture so as to avoid premature lines and wrinkles. Cream-based cleansers can be used for cleaning; cream-based scrubs are available as well. I feel they increase flakiness for dry skin but are fine to use for normal skin.

A good infusion of olive oil all over the body and the face before a bath helps retain moisture for the whole day, or after finishing your bath, splash baby oil on all over whilst still wet. Then towel off for a super hydrated feel.

Try using creams as opposed to lotions, especially at night, as they are thicker and heavier in texture and contain more emollients than water. For daytime use, lotions are a good choice. A basic rule is that the skin should not feel too tight. If so it must be infused with moisture as soon as it happens. Make slow, circular strokes with your fingertips keeping special care for eye area and neck.

Serums are a blessing for drier, as well as older skin. They reach deep and a small quantity goes a long way. Hydration is the key to good skin. Experimenting with it to see what works for you is the answer to prolonging your youthfulness.

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