Winter Care for Skin

Winter is the time of the year, when the humidity levels drop significantly, which cause the skin to become dry. One should take special care during the winter, so that skin remains soft and supple. Dry skin tends to appear dull and wrinkled. I am sharing few tips on how to manage skin during the winter.

  1. Apply a light oil on your body before you take bath. You can apply coconut, olive or sesame oil. Oil forms a gentle barrier between the harsh effects of soap/water and skin. This is especially important if the water supply is hard water from boring wells.
  2. Minimize your bath duration and keep them as short as possible. Do not indulge in long baths as the drying effect of water will damage the skin. Do not use very hot water as that damages the skin too. Use sparingly warm water which feels just comfortable.
  3. You can also add a few drops of oil like Olemessa oil in your last rinse. This will leave behind a moisturizing film on your body.
  4. Use a mild soap, preferably liquid soap. Use soap also sparingly, specially on the legs and hands. Soap cleansing is more important in the folds like under arms, groin and under the breasts because in these areas bacterial growth occurs and leads to odor.
  5. Immediately after bath, apply a generous amount of thick cream or even plain petroleum jelly. You will feel sticky for sometime but as the skin absorbs the moisturizing agent, your skin will feel soft and comfortable. Lotions are useless as the effects disappear after a few hours and skin tends to feel dry again.
  6. Wear cotton clothes and keep yourself protected from excessive wind and sun exposure.
  7. Consume almonds, flax seeds and healthy nutritious diet daily to keep your body healthy, which will reflect in healthy skin and hair as well.
  8. Lips also tend to get dry and chapped. Apply a rich lip balm or chap-stick, through out the day. Women who like to wear lipsticks should avoid matt lipsticks completely and instead opt for gloss.
  9. Hands and feet are usually ignored. Massage a good rich cream specially formulated for hands and feet at night and leave it on. You can also wear socks some nights so that the cream works better on your cracked feet. Moisturex cream is a very good brand for hand and feet care.
  10. Drink plenty of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Lack of water causes dehydration and leads to further dryness of skin.

Find your Skin type with a simple test

The choice of your skin care depends on the type of skin that you have. So, it’s very important that you know what type your skin is. There are ways of identifying your skin type, however, remember that skin texture changes according to the environment, your general health status and your age. Teens have the oiliest skin while elderly people have the driest skin.

Simple test:

After washing your face, wait for about 30 min to 1 hour. Then feel your facial skin.

1. Normal skin: Will still feel fresh and will not be greasy or stretchy.
2. Oily skin: Most people who are acne prone develop oiliness within 1 hour after washing their face. If you feel greasy or if your tissue paper shows oil blotting then clearly you have oily skin.
3. Dry skin: Feels dry, flaky and stretch right after washing. If the discomforts continues even beyond 30 mins then you have dry skin.
4. Sensitive skin: This is a special type of skin. Most people consider their skin to be sensitive which is not the case. Signs of sensitive are redness especially on the cheeks, intolerance to bright sunlight and most skin care products do not suit them easily. Your skin can be either dry sensitive or oily sensitive, though it is usually dry.
5. Combination type: The most common type. If you develop oiliness only on the forehead, nose and chin after 1 hour, then you have combination skin. A little tricky to deal with. In the next post, I will recommend the type of skin care needed for each skin type.

6 Points to remember about Sunscreen Application

The single most important thing to delay ageing is sunscreen. Sunscreen also protects from sun rays induced allergy and tanning.

Sunlight contains UVA and UVB rays which account for 90% of photo-ageing. The ultraviolet rays lead to the formation of free radicals which breaks down collagen and elastic fibres present in skin; these are responsible for maintaining the integrity and smoothness of your skin. Over a period of time, due to everyday sunlight exposure, these break down pre-maturely and hence lead to formation of wrinkles, open pores and sagging of skin. Sunlight also leads to formation of melanin in excess which leads to spots such as freckles and age spots.

However, one can delay the process of ageing just by application of a good quality sunscreen of at least SPF 30.

Some points to remember about a sunscreen application:

1. Apply at least before 20-30 mins before stepping out as it takes time for the sunscreen to penetrate the skin in order to start working.
2. Apply a generous amount so that your face skin is covered completely. Apply ok your hands also to avoid tanning.
3. Do not massage it in. Instead, use gentle patting movement and spread it using your fingers only. If you feel that you have applied too much, wait for 2 mins and then dab off excess using a tissue paper.
4. Reapply if you are out in the sun for more than 2 hours; as the effect of sunscreen wears off slowly.
5. Always wash off sunscreen before going to bed.
6. Even on a cloudy day, apply sunscreen. Remember, the UV rays penetrate through the clouds; and even though you may not feel the warmth of sun, the UV rays continue to damage your skin.

Ways to decrease Body Odour

Your sweat is actually odor-less! It’s the bacteria on the body which breaks down the sweat into smelly particles.

Ways to decrease body odor:

1. Take showers twice daily, specially wash the under-arms, in between the thighs and under the breasts (for women) with an antibacterial soap. Avoid using anti-bacterial soaps for rest of body as it causes dryness.
2. Wear cotton inner wear and cotton clothes. Synthetic clothing helps to retain the sweat on the skin and encourages bacteria to multiply. Also, avoid repeating same clothes. Sweaty clothes contain bacteria, which will nullify your bath as soon as you put them on and will cause rapid multiplication of bacteria on your skin.
3. Anti-perspirant or deodorants?
Anti-perspirant helps in controlling sweat and deodorants just mask the smell. Depending on how much you sweat and how severe is your body odor, you can decide between the two. Anti-perspirants help to keep your under-arms feel fresher for longer duration.
4. Drink more water if you sweat too much, to replenish your body so that you do not get dehydrated.
5. Certain foods like garlic, ginger and certain spices accentuate body odor. Though they are good for your health, you can reduce the intake and observe if it helps in reducing your odor.

How to choose your skin care product based on your skin type?

The type of product that you use depends on the type of your skin, which was covered in the last post. This is important for optimal results and so that the skin does not break out.

Normal skin:

  1. Lotion based moisturizers.
  2. Use toner only once in a while. Toners can dry out the skin so use occasionally.

Dry skin:

  1. Cream based moisturizers.
  2. No toner.

Combination skin:

  1. Use gel or lotion based moisturizer.
  2. Use toner only on T zone areas.

Oily skin:

  1. Usually no moisturizer needed but you can use gel based light moisturizer followed by gel based sunscreen.
  2. Use toner at the end of the day.

Sensitive Skin:

  1. Special moisturizers meant only for sensitive skin. Never experiment with your skin care products. If something suits you then stick with it.
  2. Toner to be completely avoided.