A Daily Skin Care Regimen Will Make Your Skin Glow
To look your best every day, you need a daily skin-care regimen based not only on your skin type but also on the nature of your skin tone and the amount of melanin in your skin. Indian skin is very susceptible to developing either dark or light patches in response to a variety of factors. Everyday triggers such as sunlight, scratches, pimples, or even rashes can prompt the overproduction or underproduction of melanin, causing dark or light discolorations. To avoid the discolorations, you must treat your skin with great care.
The way you tend to your skin every day can make the difference between a clear, glowing complexion and one with blotches or blemishes that can be difficult to camouflage or fade. In this post, I will show you how to put together a skin-care program, including ways to properly cleanse, exfoliate, tone, moisturize, and protect your skin. To make this program easy for you to adopt, I have summarized the steps in checklists, modified for skin type, at the end of the chapter.
Skin Cleansing Pointers
• Cleanse your face daily to remove dirt, oil, and makeup.
• Avoid abrasive cleansers or cleansing products (puffs, loofahs), which can irritate skin of color.
• Use products designed for your skin type: oily, dry, normal, wheatish, or hyperpigmenting.
• Do not overdo it. Cleansing too often or too roughly will harm your skin.
• Exfoliate if you need to remove dull, dead skin cells by using exfoliating acids found in skin products — but test the product on a small patch of skin first.
COMING CLEAN: THE FACIAL STORY
To remove dirt, excess oil, perspiration, and makeup, most Indian women of darker skin tone should cleanse the face twice a day. The tools you select for washing are important. Think gentle. First, choose a mild, non-irritating cleanser. Avoid cleansers that contain abrasive granules for exfoliation. These harsh particles do not clean out pores and they can aggravate and irritate the skin, causing redness, or worse, darkening of the skin or hyper-pigmentation. If you have acne, scrubbing with the granules can actually dramatically worsen an acne outbreak. Also, steer clear of acne puffs, loofah sponges, or rough washcloths. They will only irritate the skin.
Many Indian women of darker skin tone often make the mistake of overcleaning — cleaning the face too often or too roughly. But most skin problems (acne, dark marks, clogged pores) are not caused by dirt, so there’s no need to use harsh products or rough cleansing techniques. Also, our pigmented skin requires gentle care to avoid skin irritation that can trigger problems such as discoloration or even keloid scarring.
Gentle cleansing with your fingertips or a soft cotton washcloth will do. Beyond this general advice directed to all Indian women, I suggest the following additional tips for women with different skin types. Remember, for many Indian women, skin type tends to vary with the change of seasons. It is likely that most of you will change your cleansing ritual several times a year. Many will utilize the advice for oily skin in the hot and humid summer months of April to September and the advice for dry skin in the dry winter months of December and January. So remember, you may need to adjust your cleansing ritual and the products you use accordingly.
Skin Care Tips For Oily Skin
Wash your face two or three times a day to reduce excess oil. Avoid washing more than three times a day because this practice may irritate the skin, promoting low-grade inflammation of the skin and the subsequent development of dark patches. Wash early in the morning, immediately after work or college, and again just before bed. When washing, gently massage the face with a warm cleansing solution for one and a half to two minutes to dislodge the excess oil and skin debris. Use an antibacterial soap or a gel or foaming cleanser designed for oily skin (consider using products with salicylic acid or sulfur as the primary ingredient) during the late spring, summer, and early fall months to remove excess oiliness, and a milder glycerin-based or hyaluronic acid–based cleanser (Cetaphil for oily skin, Neutrogena Facial Cleansing Liquid, Basis All Clear Bar, pHisoderm Skin Cleansing Bar) in the winter and early spring months. Also, since oil on the forehead and temples can come from your hair, make some adjustment in your hair-care regimen.
Try washing your hair at least once a week and wear it pulled or brushed back from the face. Avoid applying hair oils or pomades on the scalp near the forehead. They’ll seep into the skin and produce more oil and shine.
Skin Care Tips For Wheatish Skin
Begin by washing the oilier areas of the forehead, nose, and chin first for one minute and then concluding with the dryer cheek area for a total cleansing time of one and a half minutes. This allows more time to be spent removing the oil and debris that has accumulated on the forehead, nose, and chin.
As with oily skin, cleanse gently. Avoid washing more than twice a day. Consider using a hyaluronic acid–based cleanser, light creamy cleanser, a nonsoap bar, or a glycerin soap, which attracts some moisture to the skin, twice a day during cooler seasons. Err on the side of a more emolliating (moisturizing) cleanser during the months surrounding winter because the cheek area and even the chin can become moderately dry at this time while the forehead and nose may remain slightly oily.
In spring and summer, switch to a less emolliating cleanser such as the original Neutrogena glycerin bar on the cheeks as well as on the other facial areas because they will be oilier. Also, since oil on the forehead and nose can come from your hair, make the same adjustment in your hair-care regimen as outlined for oily skin. That is, try washing your hair at least once a week and wear it pulled or brushed back from the face. Avoid applying hair oils or pomades on the scalp near the forehead.
Skin Care Tips For Normal Skin
Because your skin is neither dry nor oily, you have flexibility in the products you choose, from soaps for normal skin to various cleansing cloths. Wash your face twice a day if needed. However, if your skin becomes slightly oily or dry owing to weather change, follow the prescriptions for those skin types.
Skin Care Tips For Dry Skin
Despite what your mother may have taught you, wash your face only once a day unless you exercise or wear foundation or other makeup. If that is the case, it is important to wash the face at the end of the day to remove the pore-clogging makeup. Wash the facial skin gently with lukewarm water for about half a minute only. Use creamy cleansers that are emolliating to moisturize as you cleanse or select hydrating cleaners (Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, Aveeno Moisturizing Bar for Dry Skin, Eucerin Gentle Hydrating Cleanser, Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser).
Switch to the richer, creamy cleanser products in winter and lighter versions in spring and summer. During the colder winter months, gravitate to products that do not produce a foamy lather such as Cetaphil or Aquinel — they will cleanse the skin without drying it out. Finally, for extremely dry facial skin, consider applying a cleansing product such as Cetaphil or Aquinel directly on the face and then removing the excess with a damp cotton pad, thus avoiding applying water directly to the face. The face will then have a satiny feel.
Skin Care Tips For Sensitive Skin
Wash once or twice a day with cleansers that are free of alcohol, lanolin, propylene glycol, and fragrance. Also avoid cleansers containing benzoyl peroxide. Use salicylic acid or glycolic acid with caution. Look for ultragentle products. Avoid soap altogether if it irritates your skin. Cleansers to try are Dove Daily Hydrating Cleansing Cloths for Sensitive Skin, Sensitive Skin Dove, Olay Sensitive Skin, Neutrogena Extra Gentle Cleanser, and Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. While washing your hair in the shower, tilt your head back to avoid getting potentially irritating shampoo or conditioner on your face. Do not forget to wash your hands frequently throughout the day and try not to touch your face. Your hands will transmit to your face the residue of all types of irritating products.
Skin Care Tips For Hyperpigmenting Skin
For darker skin that, with the slightest provocation, develops or forms dark marks, extra care must be given to the actual cleansing process and the selection of cleansing products. This skin should be cleansed no more than twice daily. Avoid washing with very cold or very hot water; use lukewarm or tepid water instead. Do not scrub or vigorously rub your skin. Products that produce tingling, stinging, or burning or that make the facial skin feel hot are to be avoided. Also skip products that cause the skin to turn pink or red after washing or that lead to visible peeling of the skin. Rely on cleansers designed for sensitive skin such as glycerin soaps like Neutrogena for Sensitive Skin, Olay for Sensitive Skin, or Dove for Sensitive Skin. Avoid products that contain irritants such as alcohol or benzoyl peroxide.
Once you have your cleansing tools, take these steps to wash your face gently:
1. Create a lather or creamy mixture with your cleanser and lukewarm water.
2. Using your fingertips or a soft cotton cloth, gently massage the entire surface of your face for thirty to ninety seconds depending upon your skin type.
3. Rinse by splashing your face with water several times to completely remove dirt and cleanser residue—try to avoid extremely hot or cold water.
4. Carefully pat your face dry with a soft cotton towel — don’t rub or pull on your skin to get it dry.
5. If you wear an oil-based or pressed-pancake type makeup, remove the makeup with a makeup dissolving cream (cold cream) before washing. Apply the cream and allow it to diffuse into the makeup for sixty seconds. Then with a soft cotton ball, applying minimal pressure, gently remove the makeup from the forehead. Do not rub the skin. Repeat this process with a clean cotton ball for each cheek, the nose, and chin. Finally, wash the face as indicated for your facial type above.
Have a wonderful skin day today and do drop by my little clinic if you are in the vicinity of Lokhandwala Andheri, Mumbai and let me personally assess your skin and suggest something wonderful to make it glow!
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Dr. Sunita Banerji received her MBBS degree from The Armed Forces Medical College, Pune, one of India’s leading Medical Institutes and received her DGO credentials in Obstetrics and Gynecology in 1982. She started her successful Aesthetic Medicine practice in Lokhandwala, in 1989 after undergoing extensive training in London. She was far ahead of her time in starting this type of practice in India. Owning one of the best skin clinics in India, she helps treat major medical problems related to lifestyle, aging and cosmetic treatments and surgery.