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Keeping your skin clean, using cleansers and moisturisers that are meant for your skin type, and eating plenty of fruits with a high water content are key to healthy skin in summer, says Delhi-based dermatologist Dr. Shazia Zaidi.
Dr. Zaidi says people can prevent acne and minimise sun damage by making small tweaks to their skincare routine during the season and using the right products. We spoke to her about summer skincare tips; here are edited excerpts from the interview:
- How does summer, the heat and humidity, impact our skin?
- How should our skincare routine change during summer?
- What is SPF? How much SPF does Indian skin need?
- How many times should we reapply sunscreen?
- Do you have any sunscreen recommendations?
- Should we use gel-based moisturisers and sunscreens in summer instead of a cream one?
- What should we eat in summer for good skin and what should we avoid?
How does summer, the heat and humidity, impact our skin?
Any kind of extreme weather is bad for skin. In summer, our pores open up as we sweat. If we don’t keep our skin clean and tone it, the sweat, dirt, creams and cosmetics will clog up the open pores, leading to comedones, commonly call whiteheads and blackheads. These can lead to acne, which is more common in summers compared to winter. The acne problem can become complex and difficult to treat as it can lead to scarring and pigmentation.
Secondly, sun exposure is more during summer and it is harmful for skin. Even though there are various sunscreens available in the market, people are not sure about what to use or what suits their skin best. It is best to seek advice from a dermatologist on that. It can also be hard to determine, on your own, how much of harmful substances like benzophenone the sunscreen has or how much is it actually protecting your skin.
How should our skincare routine change during summer?
The most important thing is what we eat. In summer, we need hydration and nutrition from the inside. Our diet must contain citrus fruits and fruits that contain water, like melons, guavas, and watermelons. The consumption of water has to increase.
Using sunscreen is ten times more essential as compared to winter. We also believe that the kind of sunscreen you use in summer has to change as the texture of your skin is different.
The moisturising pattern has to change in summer as well. However, we must remember that we always need to moisturise, irrespective of whether you have oily, dry or combination skin. In summer, we have to use a moisturiser that is not oily and doesn’t cause sweating. Similarly, you need to change your cleanser depending on your skin type.
The usual cleansing, toning, moisturising routine, with the right products for your skin type and a good sunscreen, works well for summer.
What is SPF? How much SPF does Indian skin need?
SPF is sun protection factor. It’s the ratio of the amount of sunlight that is being reflected from your skin to the amount that is being absorbed by it. The minimum amount of SPF we need in India is SPF 40. If you’re living close to the sea, you may need higher SPF. It depends upon the weather that you are in, the climatic conditions there, and the amount of sun exposure that you have in a day. People have a misconception that if they don’t go out, they don’t need sunscreen. No, you need sunscreen even if you’re not going out because it is not just for UV rays, it’s also for infrared and gamma rays. You are exposed to these with the bulbs and lights in your home, smartphones, laptops etc. You need a broad spectrum sunscreen which will cover all these.
How many times should we reapply sunscreen?
We advice three times a day – morning, afternoon and late afternoon. People often complain that when they apply sunscreen many times, their face becomes oily and they end up with breakouts. But that happens when you’re not applying the right sunscreen for your skin type.
There are two types of sunscreen — physical and chemical. Physical sunscreens are the ones that show more on your skin. Now there are chemical sunscreens which are light and don’t show at all; these have good compounds. Chemical sunscreens with a good SPF factor and broad spectrum covering all the rays are recommended.
Do you have any sunscreen recommendations?
Not really in terms of brands. The only recommendation we as dermatologists have is that it should be medicated so you at least know the ingredients and their amount in the product. It has to be a sunscreen that your dermatologist has recommended to you based on your skin.
Should we use gel-based moisturisers and sunscreens in summer instead of a cream one?
It again depends on your skin type; there are people who have dry skin even in summers. They are not supposed to use a gel-based sunscreen, they should use a cream or lotion. If you have oily skin, then you have to use a gel-based sunscreen irrespective of the weather. There are people with combination skin that is sometimes oily and sometimes too dry. When your skin is oily, use a gel-based product and when it is getting dry, opt for a cream-based sunscreen.
What should we eat in summer for good skin and what should we avoid?
The most important part of good skin in hydration. Your basic water consumption should increase during summer otherwise it’s impossible to have good skin irrespective of whatever you’re applying. Eat fruits, which have additional water in them. Some people eat a lot of dry fruits during summer, like walnuts, almonds and cashews. If your skin is oily, you can avoid some of these in summer. We have to keep it as light as possible in summer.
All green leafy vegetables are wonderful for your skin. They are usually winter vegetables, but we can add as many of these that are available in our summer diet as well. Fruits and vegetables like berries, pineapple, tomatoes, zucchinis, bell peppers, coconut water, cucumber, papaya, lime, are all good for skin.
In terms of foods to avoid, junk food is a big no no, especially if your skin is oily. If you have acne, fried and junk food consumption has to go down.
Dr. Shazia Zaidi
Consultant Dermatologist Cosmetologist
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