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The Skin Centers monsoon alert for skin and hair

India Infoline News Service | Mumbai |

Dr Sirisha Singh gives you a few tips to look your best this monsoon and continue to have radiant healthy skin and hair.

Come rain or come shine, The Skin Center helps you look your best all through the year. Rainy season, however, comes with high levels of humidity and moisture in the air. The humidity makes the hair limp resulting in bad hair days and leads to fungal infections in the skin along with aggravating acne. Dr Sirisha Singh gives you a few tips to look your best this monsoon and continue to have radiant healthy skin and hair.
 
1. Dont Forget the Three Steps to Clean Skin
A good skin-cleansing routine helps maintain clean skin, prevents breakouts and keeps premature ageing at bay. You can keep your skin radiant and glowing all day, by simply following three simple steps, i.e., Cleansing, Toning, and Moisturising, twice a day. A soap free pH neutral cleanser may be adequate for people with dry or normal skin, while people with acne-prone skin may benefit from using a cleanser containing salicylic acid. The high humidity will tempt you to wash your face several times a day but RESIST this temptation. Do not use a cleanser frequently as there may be an exacerbation of acne or allergic skin rashes. Instead, simply splash lukewarm or cold water on the face during the day to get rid of excessive sweat and feel fresh.

Use of a toner becomes more significant during this time of the year. People with normal to dry skin may need to use a toner only once a day and perhaps only in the T-zone. However, people with oily skin may use it twice.
 
The humid weather causes oily skin and the usual moisturiser may feel further heavy and greasy. Go for a light moisturiser containing soothing agents like aloe vera and an added bonus is if the moisturiser is fortified with vitamins.

2. SPF Yourself:
The heat combined with humidity increases the chances of UV damage to the skin. It is quite a challenge finding a suitable non-greasy but cosmetically acceptable sunscreen. It is imperative to apply sunscreen every 3 hours as one tends to wipe the face frequently due to accumulated sweat, causing the sunscreen to wipe off. Opt for a gel based sunscreen with SPF of 30 or more and use a compact or translucent powder with built in SPF for the touch-ups. The compact also gives a matte finish which is an added advantage.
 
3. Break off From Dead Skin:
Scrub and exfoliate your skin twice a week to remove the pile up of dead cells on the skin surface that makes the skin look dull and uneven.

4. Homespun Masks:
Excessive sweating makes the skin feel greasy and crummy. Homemade packs containing fullers earth/ clay help in drawing out impurities from the skin leading to a gentle glow. My personal favourite is a pack made of sandalwood powder and gram flour mixed in cooling rose water. The sandalwood powder takes away the tan whilst the gram flour helps in deep cleansing. This pack also has a slight exfoliating action which helps the skin feel fresh, cools it down and leaves it glowing.

5. Stay Hydrated:
Our body usually requires 2 litres of water a day, however in this weather there is excessive sweating and the lost water needs to be replaced. It is highly advisable to drink about 2 litres of hydrating fluids such as water or tender coconut water through the day. Incorporating juicy fruits and vegetables in your diet also help keep the skin moist, hydrated and supple as they contain their natural fluids. Sweating leads to loss of salts as well which can be replenished with tender coconut water, fruits and vegetables.

6. Color Your Diet:
Coloured fruits and vegetables contain anti-oxidants that help in fighting UV damage and free oxygen radicals generated in the body. One can get the full complement of anti-oxidants  by including as many different colours in the diet as possible.  

7. Work out for the Glow:
Exercise and physical effort continues to stay important through year. 45 minutes or more of brisk exercise a day helps in pumping up the feel good hormones in the body and give a healthy glow to the skin.

8. Push the Snooze Button:
Regular refreshing beauty sleep of 6-8 hours helps the body repair and replenish itself.

9. Turn Back the Clock:
Consult a dermatologist and get prescribed regular creams to be used at home for fighting any signs of ageing. The results may not be dramatic and immediately obvious, they certainly help when used over the long period of time. I personally recommend creams containing retinoids and alpha hydroxyl acids which remodulate the skin and fight all the signs of skin-ageing. They also have a mild exfoliating action on the skin which allows vitamin containing creams to penetrate more effectively.

10. Sterilize Your Skin:
High moisture levels in the skin cause fungal skin infections due to fungi that grow, multiply and lead to an infective rash. It is important to keep the skin as moisture free as possible and the best way is to pat dry after a bath, wear loose clothes made of breathable fabric like cotton or linen which help in airing the skin and reduce fungal overgrowth. This routine is particularly important during the night. And special attention needs to be given to body folds like underarms, folds beneath the breasts, toes and fingers, groin, etc as these areas are particularly prone to fungal infections. Some people are more prone to skin infections and they should ideally use a dusting powder containing anti-fungal ingredients in the body folds to prevent fungal colonisation.
 
11. Beat the Monsoon Hair Woes
 
Monsoon is highly looked forward to in India as it brings the temperature down and provides relief from the sweltering summer heat. However, it also comes with its own set of problems particularly for your hair. Follow these simple steps to a smooth and shiny mane:
 
Shampoo Guidelines for that Smooth and Shiny Mane:
Often enough the frequency of shampooing goes up during monsoons and it is an old myth that frequent shampooing increases hair loss. During a shampoo, hair that has entered the resting phase and is sitting loosely in the hair follicle, usually falls off as it would have anyway shed. The humid weather makes the hair shaft moist which then tends to collect grime and dirt. This needs to be cleaned off with a shampoo as frequently as required to leave the hair shaft clean and healthy looking. People with dry hair should use a mild cream based shampoo with a mild conditioner. This keeps the scalp and hair shaft hydrated and makes the hair soft and shiny. However, people with oily hair should use a gel based shampoo and a natural conditioner like beer. Many people experience increased hair loss during the rainy season and this can be tackled by using a dermatologist prescribed shampoo that helps reduce hair fall as its ingredients are designed to increase blood supply to the scalp and reduce hair fall.

Condition for That shine:
Although the hair tends to get humid and limp faster, one should definitely use a conditioner in the monsoon season. The best way to condition ones hair is to apply a mild conditioner only on the lower half of the hair length.

Spa Care for Your Hair:
Hair spas are required once every 2 weeks for intense conditioning. One can even use a hair mask at home once a week for similar results.  

Relax with Oil Massages:
A gentle massage with coconut or olive oil once a week may be helpful in soothing the scalp and also helps one to unwind and relax. However, it is important to wash off the oil completely as it attracts dirt and other environmental pollutants which can then damage the hair shaft. Gentle oiling using coconut or olive oil is imperative for adequate conditioning this season.

Take Care of Your Tresses:
Untangle the hair by gently running the fingers through the hair, wait for the hair to dry naturally. During the rainy season, towel-dry the hair completely after a wash and avoid running a brush or tying wet hair. Instead, if required, run only a wide toothed wooden comb through wet hair. If one needs to dry the hair fast, use a drier on the lower settings, keep it 5-6 inches away from the hair, and attach a diffuser to minimise heat injury to the hair. If you suffer from dandruff or have scalp problems, it is advisable to consult the dermatologist for professional advice

Say No to Hair Styling Products:
Mousses, gels and sprays, which are frequently used for styling the hair, may cause excessive damage to the hair. Try and keep the use of these styling products to a minimum.

Eat Right, Get Right:
Your hair reflects your nutritional status and like the skin, the hair is also affected by what you eat. A diet rich in proteins and essential fatty acids (fish, eggs, grams, whole grains etc) can not only slow down premature greying but can also increase hair length and make the hair shaft healthier and stronger.

Soak in the fun this rainy season:
Like me if you enjoy a soak in the rain, ensure that you shampoo after the rain. The acid in the rain and the environmental pollutants which settle on the hair during the rains can cause oxidative injury to the hair shaft and make it more brittle and prone to splits. Also the rain water sitting on the scalp can result in fungal infections.

Fight the Scalp Infections:
Bacterial and fungal scalp infections are very common this time of the year. The high humidity levels functions as a rich medium for growth and proliferation of fungi in the scalp skin. This can result in painful or an itchy rash which needs a dermatologists input for rapid and effective treatment.

 

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