Monsoon skincare, because nobody wants to look washed out
Go from greasy to glowing with these expert recommendations
Nothing says monsoon quite like a hot cup of masala chai and the humidity that makes you sweat off your sunscreen. When it comes to monsoon skincare, we often start by ditching moisturiser. Our skin turns into a grimy mess and there’s enough oil on our face to fry up some pakoras for 4 pm snack time.
But we shouldn’t just ditch our skincare routine once the weather changes. We just need to alter it a bit to adapt to the new weather conditions.
Your body is going through a lot of changes. The excess sweating has you feeling more dehydrated. The humidity is making your skin break out and it’s taking a lot of willpower to not scratch that weird itch you’ve suddenly developed on your forehead.
Instead of cracking our heads over it, we ask the experts to share their monsoon skincare tips and the tweaks we should be making to our daily routine.
Healthy tweaks to add to your monsoon skincare routine
Drop acid… in your cleanser
Our natural instinct is to strip the skin of all that excess oil the humidity has triggered by washing our face with a heavy-duty cleanser.
We’ve been conditioned to want that squeaky clean feeling after a wash but your skin isn’t on board with that suggestion.
You can cleanse your face twice a day but choose a product that’s gentle. Alternate with a cleanser that contains a beta-hydroxy acid. Dr Farida Modi, senior dermatologist, Kaya Skin Clinic, suggests salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid gently exfoliates your face by going deep into your pores, which then reduces shininess and the appearance of pores.
It’s an amazing ingredient for acne, which makes it suitable for the monsoon. Humidity can be a breeding ground for bacteria which makes us more prone to breaking out in this weather.
Don’t strip your face of oil but rein it in
Instead of completely removing the oil from your face (which it needs to maintain a healthy skin barrier) we should focus on curbing excess sebum production and keeping our pores clean.
Niacinamide is a multitasking ingredient worth investing in. It reduces the appearance of our pores, curbs excess oil production and re-texturises skin.
You’re going to want to ease into using niacinamide. Start off with twice a week and build up your tolerance. And always remember to do a patch test to see how your skin reacts to it.
“Do a patch test (with any active ingredients) behind your ear, not your arm or wrist, as the skin here is similar to your face. Wait for 48 hours to see how it reacts,” advises dermatologist Niketa Sonavane.
Don’t ditch the moisturiser, switch it for a lighter one
Every skin type needs a moisturiser in their routine, even oily skin. Our monsoon skincare routines often miss out on the moisturiser step but that can trigger our skin to produce even more oil as compensation.
Nobody likes the suffocating feeling of facial oils and heavy creams in such weather. Keep those aside for the cooler climates and find a lighter, more fluid lotion or a gel cream.
“Profuse sweating causes more dehydration. So, you must use a moisturiser that has humectants,” says Modi, suggesting people give mattifying moisturisers a try.
Humectants are water-loving agents in skincare products that draw moisture to the top layer of the skin. This can be from the environment or from the deeper skin layers. The most common humectants you’ll find in moisturisers are glycerin, urea, butylene glycol and the ever-popular, hyaluronic acid and sodium hyaluronate.
It may be cloudy but you still need sunscreen
Alright, alright, you’ve heard it before but we’ll say it again. Just because it’s raining doesn’t mean we get to skip out on wearing sun protection.
The same way you switched your moisturiser for a lighter one, opt for more fluid-like sunscreens or even a mattifying one. As Dr Prerna Taneja said, “If there is sunlight, there are sun rays… Even if you do not see sun rays in the monsoon, they affect your skin.”
The booming beauty industry has sunscreen in different forms – lotions, sticks and sprays. So, play around and find one that works best for you in this weather and add it to your monsoon skincare routine.
Invest in multitasking products to cut down on skincare layers
We love layering our skincare products as much as the next skincare enthusiast. But during the monsoon, our skin just doesn’t tolerate the layers very kindly.
Instead, invest in products that can get more than one job done and cut down on the different products you have to apply.
For example, using sunscreen with moisturising ingredients can let you skip a standalone moisturiser during the day (unless you have very dry skin). Using an antioxidant-rich moisturiser means you won’t have to use a separate Vitamin C serum. A tinted lip balm will cut out the need for lipstick.
These kinds of little tweaks to your monsoon skincare will take some of the load off your skin. You’ll feel less congested, irritated and oily but still use ingredients packed with all the good stuff.
Get some TLC with a clay mask
Mud masks are an easy way to soak up the excess oil simmering on our faces. Once a week is more than enough to clear out our pores without overdoing it.
You don’t want to let it completely dry down (best to follow what the product box advises) but just enough to get the job done. Face masks can be great as a gentle, manual exfoliator. Some even come with chemical exfoliating ingredients like glycolic acid and salicylic acid that you can just wash off after 10 minutes.