In an era of heightened awareness of self-care, health and overall well-being, skincare is another area of focus for people today. The amount of information telling us what is good for us is daunting.
As we familiarise ourselves with terms like hyaluronic acid, collagen, peptides, serums, and other skin-friendly ingredients, it is important take from them only what works for our skin.
Happiest Health speaks with experts to sift the chaff from the grain and find out how we can aim for a skin-tastic 2023.
Know your type
Dr Divya Gupta, consultant dermatologist, Manipal Hospitals, Bengaluru, says it is important to know whether one has a healthy skin or has certain skin conditions that require medical attention. “For skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema it is best to consult your dermatologist,” she adds.
For normal skin, most dermatologists recommend the basic routine of cleansing, toning, moisturising and a dab of a sunscreen lotion. To simplify this routine, Dr Gupta suggests skipping the toning.
“Cleansing is very important, and you must do it at least twice a day. If you go out, then you must cleanse your face when you come back. A cleanser should be mild and pH-balanced,” she says. Her wisdom: the more a product foams, the harsher it is on the skin.
After cleansing, it is important to moisturise, irrespective of whether one’s skin is oily or dry, to retain the moisture in the skin layer.
All that is ‘organic’ need not be good
Many brands claim to be 100 per cent organic and herbal and as being healthier or safer options to chemical-based products. However, according to Dr Gupta, everything that is claimed as natural, herbal, or organic is not good. “There is nothing that really comes directly from the plant and on to your skin. After all, the ingredients go to a factory and get bottled in with preservatives,” she adds.
So also with home remedies: Dr Gupta says one must be mindful of their effects on skin. “For example, curd contains lactic acid. If someone who has sensitive or dry skin keeps using chickpea powder and curd, it will irritate their skin.”
Dr Gupta sums up this regimen for a healthy skin:
- Use quality make-up products from good brands. Always wash and remove the make-up before going to sleep.
- Always use a sunscreen, even on a cloudy day.
- Include some physical activity in your day.
- Eating healthy is very important especially for those who are acne prone. It is important to generously eat fruits, vegetables, and foods with fibre and protein.
- Exposure to smoke and pollution in big towns can be countered with regular cleansing and moisturising.
- Don’t use harsh products on the skin.
- Verify online and promotional claims of benefit with a dermatologist.
Right food matters
A healthy diet begets a healthy skin. Dolly Singhvi, a nutritionist based in Mumbai, says, “For a healthy and clear skin, avoid using table sugar, foods having high sodium content, refined carbohydrates and fried foods. Although salads are ‘healthy’, I advise my clients to avoid high-calorie salad dressings. Instead eat sautéed salads with healthy dressings.”
Signs of stress and problems
Jael Varma, a trained counsellor who runs a charitable cancer trust in Bengaluru, attributes her no-make-up clear skin to her mindset and a mindful lifestyle.
According to her, “Stress or depression, it always shows on your skin. Unless you do some cleansing inside, it won’t be possible to have clean skin outside.”
Varma says the value we give ourselves and the food we eat directly show on our skin. “If you are angry, it can manifest itself as fever, rashes or pimples. If your liver has a problem it shows on the skin. So, listen to your body [to know] what is wrong [with the skin].”
Eat for your skin
Dolly Singhvi recommends consuming these food items for a skin that is healthy inside and outside.
- Protein (first class protein sources such as meat, fish, poultry, and egg)
- Collagen-rich foods (chicken, fish, bone broth, citrus fruits and garlic)
- Seeds and nuts (almonds, cashew, seeds of pumpkin, melon, sunflower)
- Dark chocolate
- A daily glass of a vegetable juice
- Indian gooseberry or amla
- Citrus fruits and other foods rich in Vitamin C