Skin getting dry this winter? This dermatologist's skincare essentials could help
Here’s what you need to add to your daily routine
New skincare products launch faster than you can get through a plate of gol gappas (it always ends too soon). Fancy-sounding serums, moisturisers of every texture and chemical exfoliators promising skin smoother than my uncle’s bald head — there’s just too much to get through. For the sake of my bank balance, I often turn to the world of budget-friendly skincare dupes when looking at skincare essentials.
But after a 5, 7, 10-step routine, why does my skin still look oily enough for an American invasion?
Sometimes you just need to get the right steps in and cut out the extras. Cosmetic dermatologist Chytra V Anand, founder of Kosmoderma Skin & Hair Clinic in Bengaluru, advises changing my skincare according to the season. Keeping heavier, more nourishing products for the winter and switching them out for something lighter in the summer, but making a heavy-duty daily sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 50 a necessity no matter what.
Read on for the essential steps and ingredients that make it to this dermatologist’s skincare routine.
No-soap morning cleanse
We’ve grown up being told to wash our face twice a day. Turns out, that doesn’t work for everyone. After a proper double-cleanse at night, some people need only a water rinse the next morning. Others prefer a gentle face wash to start their morning routine.
While the debate around skipping the morning cleanser continues, people seem to agree that it comes down to skin type and personal preference. Anand shares that she has a normal skin type. “I cleanse my face with just water during the shower and refrain from using soap.”
Antioxidants are game-changers
‘Free radicals’ sounds like a great punk rock band but they’re menacing critters that cause serious damage to our skin. They harm our skin barrier, degrade collagen and weaken the skin’s elasticity. Here’s where antioxidants come in. Vitamin C, green tea or Vitamin E – there are plenty that neutralise the free radicals and potentially even brighten, soothe and moisturise the skin.
Anand’s go-to is a Vitamin C serum in the morning (the Skin Brite serum by Kosmoderma) which also contains liquorice and hyaluronic acid (HA). “The serum acts as a photo protectant due to the antioxidant properties of Vitamin C and also a sealant preventing dehydration due to the hyaluronic acid as I am in the AC the entire day,” she says.
Hydration, hydration, hydration
Moisturiser tops the list of skincare essentials. Even if you have oily skin – the more you deprive your skin of moisture, the more oil your skin will produce to compensate. A light, water-based gel is perfect for summer days and oily skin. Dry skin needs the extra nourishment and richness of a heavier lotion or cream. For Anand, it’s all about hyaluronic acid. On alternate nights she uses a pure HA serum to quench her skin that turns drier during winters.
“Ninety per cent of the water in our body is stored in the skin. It’s important to replenish this with fluid intake orally and a topical application. HA is also a humectant that attracts water, 1000 times its weight, So when I am sleeping this not only hydrates but also seals in the skin moisture.”
Exfoliation can remove excess sebum, impurities and dead cells that could clog your pores. However, we tend to go a bit overboard once we start seeing results. With physical exfoliation, it’s easy to press down too hard, scrub a bit too much which can cause micro-tears on our skin, leaving it damaged and open to skin infections.
Dermatologists advise chemical exfoliation using products with AHAs and BHAs, maximum of 3 times a week. Anand sticks to a good deep exfoliation as a weekly add-on. “I exfoliate my skin with a mask made of papaya, pineapple and pumpkin enzymes. I apply it to a clean face, leave on for 10 minutes, steam for 30 seconds and then wash with cool water.”
Save your skin from the sun
All the Multani mitti in the world can’t undo the damage caused by wanton ultraviolet light penetrating our epidermis and unleashing inflammation. UV rays destroy the underlying collagen matrix, contributing to photo-ageing, discolouration, wrinkles. And the best tool in your arsenal, short of a burkini, is sunscreen.
Anand has a special formulation that is the result of years of research that she (and many of her patients) swears by. “I consume Kosmoderma’s Sun protect capsule as soon as I wake up every morning. This capsule is rich in antioxidant properties and contains Lycopene, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Alpha Lipoic Acid, pomegranate extract, curcumin (turmeric), Co Q 10, Grape seed extract, Calcium and Zinc. It helps boost the immunity of the skin to the sun, prevent external damage from free radicals, pollution and tanning.”
Best acids for your skin
Hyaluronic acid provides deep hydration to moisture-deprived skin
Nykaa Skin Secrets Pearl + Hyaluronic Acid Sheet Mask, Rs 100.
Clinique Moisture Surge 72-Hour Auto-Replenishing Hydrator, Rs 890
GLAMGLOW Superserum, Rs 3,900
Salicylic acid tackles troublesome spots and acne
Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Face Wash, Rs 549
Innisfree Bija Trouble gel cream, Rs 990
Mario Badescu Anti Acne Serum, Rs 1,400
Glycolic acid sloughs off dead skin cells for brighter skin
Dr. Sheth’s Gulab And Glycolic Toner, Rs 499
NIP+FAB Glycolic Fix Cleansing Pads, Rs 800
Pixi Glow Tonic, Rs 1000
Lactic acid is a gentler and equally effective version of glycolic for those with super sensitive skin
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA, Rs 2,100
Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, Rs 5,600
Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Body Yogurt Lotion, Apricot & Honey, Rs 490
Ascorbic acid, that’s really just antioxidant vitamin C, fights free radicals, tackles fine lines and brightens skin
Garnier Skin Naturals Fresh Mix Vitamin C Face Serum Sheet Mask – Orange, Rs 150
The Body Shop Vitamin C Glow Boosting Moisturiser, Rs 1,845
Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate, Rs 5,100
WATCH NOW – Beauty Rituals from Meghalaya, with Jessica Ruth
Styling: Divya Gursahani, HMU: Mausam Gandhi, Model: Teesta Dalvi/ Anima Creative Management