If you ever get a chance, what would you love to ask a dermatologist about skin care? Of course, my list is endless but then I had to choose the more important things. Check out this two part interview which was supposed to be published last week but thanks to my malfunctioning wordpress, I had to rewrite the entire stuff and the second hand copy never gets the same flavor. Anyways, let us get back to our queries.
Vanity is not a bad thing!
Says Dr. Chytra Anand from Kosmoderma Clinics, Bangalore.
Me : Welcome Dr. Chytra to Perfect Skin Care for you. Thank you so much for making time out of your busy schedule and sharing your knowledge with us. So, starting off quickly, how would you define “aging well”?
Her : Aging well is looking the best possible at any given time! Genetics and our skin care routine are two factors which affect how we look as we get older. Do we eat well? Have we protected it from sun? Are we hydrating it enough? Everything plays a role. The good thing is these days people are accepting the fact that looking good and taking care of their skin is not a thing to be frowned upon. Vanity is not a bad thing! Looking our best is often equivalent to our struggle to be the best.
Salicylic acid is the best cleanser to deal with oily, acne-prone and combination skin. It also has great results on blackheads. And, interestingly, dry skin also gets benefited by using salicylic acid face wash or scrub occasionally to get rid of the dry skin patches.
Me : Yeah, that is true! So, to look the best, we have to ultimately do a lot of hit and trial. To start with, how do we exactly find a good cleanser?
Her : A good cleanser must always be pH balanced or soap-free. The soap is alkaline in nature and our skin is naturally acidic. Using a soap or a cleanser with surfactants imbalances the pH levels of the skin and makes it dry.
Another point to check while shopping for cleansers is to know your skin type. For a dry skin, try to find a cleanser which is more creamier. For oily skin, cleansers with gel consistency are good choices. For combination skin type which is both dry and oily at the same time, a pH balanced cleanser is the best choice. Neither does it make the skin oily nor does it dry it out.
We also have specialized cleansers available these days. For example, for acne-prone skin, a product with salicylic acid is recommended. Salicylic acid not only controls the oil but is also antibacterial. Similarly, if you skin is prone to a lot of tanning, you can use a skin whitening cleanser which has lactic acid. Lactic acid exfoliates the skin and makes it look fresher with regular use.
Cetaphil, Neutrogena, La Roche Posay have really good cleansers to include in your skin care routine. We also have Kosmoderma Multi-purpose pH balanced cleanser which suits all skin types.
You need not exfoliate your skin if you are not yet 25.
Me : So, moving on from cleansers, another step of skin care which is very hyped is exfoliation. Many people tend to get this step wrong and ultimately it results in bad skin instead of good. So, what are good exfoliants? Should we use physical scrubs or should we go for chemical peels?
Her : Exactly, the thing many people do not know is that exfoliation is not really necessary if you are under 25 years of age. The skin can take care of itself. Just to give it a little push, you can do the light exfoliation once in six to eight weeks. But, if you are more than 25 years of age, you must make sure to exfoliate your skin once in four weeks. The kind of exfoliators to use are the ones made of fruit enzymes like pineapple, papaya or pumpkin. Vitamin C is one of the more popular options these days. The body shop Vitamin C dermabrasion is actually a good one to try. We also have Kosmoderma enzyme exfoliant.
But, when you enter into your 30’s, doing exfoliation at home is never enough. By now, your skin is aging and the cell turnover is not as it used to be. Thus, we prescribe what we call a chemical peel. Salicylic acid wash (for oily skin), glycolic acid wash (for regular skin) and lactic acid wash (for sensitive skin) are usually recommended. These chemical peels can be done in the clinic once in four to six weeks. The whole idea of these exfoliants is to get the dead skin away from top so the fresh new skin can come out.
Sugar and Salt scrubs are great for the body!
Similarly, for the body skin care, salt and sugar scrubs are great. You could use a prescription-only cream containing mild amounts of glycolic and lactic acid on a daily basis to exfoliate your body skin. The body skin tends to gets drier faster and has tough skin on elbows and knees and heels for which stronger exfoliants are necessary.
Me : When we talk about exfoliation, how do using face towels and cotton pads on daily basis affect our skin? Do they really exfoliate? Are they very harsh?
Her : So, when we talk about using regular towels on the skin, the idea is to pat the skin dry or softly wipe the face. When you start rubbing your face dry, the friction makes the skin really sensitive and prone to pigmentation and other problems. The same thing goes for cotton pads. They must always be moistened before use in your skin care routine. If the cotton pad is dry, the fibers are harsh on the skin and can result in breakouts as well.
Skin takes 3-5 days to recover from waxing, threading and plucking procedures. So, soothe your skin with a bit of ice and calamine lotion.
Me : Okay, continuing in the same vein, I wanted to know a professional perspective on procedures like facial waxing, threading or plucking? Do they make the skin sag in the long run?
Her : Well, if you have hair on your face, you definitely want to get rid of it. Just keep in mind that the skin needs 3-5 days to recover from these procedures, especially when it comes to face waxing. And, there are chances of ingrown hair if the hair is too thick and it gets cut off instead of being plucked from the root. Another option is laser hair removal which is now widely available. A caution here is that laser hair removal is a dermatological skin care procedure and not something you would get done in a salon. It must be done by experts with extreme care. If not done properly, the laser can burn your skin.
Bleaching is safe for skin but it should not be done more than once in 5-6 weeks.
Me : And, how about using epilators? Are they gentler than waxing?
Her : Yes, you can use epilation. But, if your hair is fluffy, bleaching is a better option. Just make sure not to do it more than once in five to six weeks.
I have divided the interview into two posts so that you might not accidentally skip on the important parts. To get the gist, you can just scan the quotes. There is a lot in store tomorrow on how to deal with blackheads and pigmented lips and a few home remedies for your skin care and other advice from the good doctor. Stay tuned!