Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s that time of the year when the cold, frigid winter affects just about everybody in the city. Your skin is one of the first casualties of the weather and all your defensive measures (creams, oils, and salves) fail to protect you.
When that happens, we look for help to treat our skin-care issues. From gharelu nhuskhe to dadi ma’s advice to tips off some obscure blog, we follow almost anything and everything to rid ourselves of the problems we have.
While we certainly laud your effort in seeking answers, the downside is that you may end up subscribing to popular myths and half-truths. And sometimes, they do more harm than good.
At Skin Alive, we’ve come across our fair share of these ‘bits of wisdom’. And we’ve also met scores of people who followed random advice only to end up regretting it later. In the interest of their well-being, and because we place great emphasis on science and scientific information, we’ve decided to do some regular, old-fashioned myth-busting.
Winters are all about long, hot showers
Hot showers are comfortable. And relaxing. And indulgent. And also bad for your skin!
You heard that right. Hot water can drain your body of moisture, making your skin dry, cracked, and itchy. While cold showers are ideal, we understand if you don’t welcome that advice with open hands. Switch to warm or lukewarm water and apply a generous dose of body lotion (preferably one with ceramides) within a few minutes of the bath, while the skin is still damp. It helps with better absorption and retention of moisture.
Fresh air makes your skin glow
Heard this one, have you? Well, for starters, the air in Delhi isn’t exactly what you’d call fresh. Secondly, that reddish tinge on your face isn’t a healthy glow, it’s broken capillaries in the cheeks. Exposure to harsh wind does that, so do yourself a favor and use a strong protective moisturizer, along with a thick muffler or scarf.
Alternatively, you can always limit the amount of time you’re spending outside, which isn’t a bad idea, considering the air outside. But, if you must step out, make sure you’re covered properly.
Exfoliating during winters is BAD
We never recommend exfoliating aggressively, but we don’t stand by people saying that you should abandon this practice altogether during winters. Yes, winters take a toll on your skin. Yes, the skin becomes dry and vulnerable. Yes, we need to treat it gently. But giving up exfoliation is not the answer.
Mild exfoliants are good for the skin, especially if you pick up something that has a herbal base. It can remove dirt and debris from your skin, which in turn helps the skin breathe and prevents acne. Just make sure you don’t scrub your face too hard. Be gentle, be good.
Don’t wash your hair too often during winters
Your hair is just as likely to get dirty in winters as it is in the summers. So we won’t ask you to stop washing your hair just because the mercury has started falling. What we do recommend is regular hot oil massages to beat the dryness and using conditioner that’s rich in moisturizers. Also, do not blow dry your hair or brush your hair aggressively, especially when wet, to avoid breakage. Add a few drops of serum to protect your hair and use a wide-toothed comb instead.
Drink water and it’ll all work out
Don’t get us wrong, you should drink a healthy amount of water. But too much water basically means that the body is going to get rid of it quicker. Besides, when we talk of skin health, you also need a lot of essential nutrients for moisturization and collagen buildup.
So, don’t just guzzle down water willy nilly. Supplement your diet with omega-3 fatty acids like alpha linoleic acid (found in cod, flaxseed, walnuts, canola oil) and Vitamin C for the collagen (found in citrus fruits and leafy greens). The supplements help reduce inflammation, while collagen maintains the skin and other connective tissues.
You don’t need sunscreen during the winter
Of course, it’s not beachy weather. But that doesn’t mean that you lay off the sunscreen. UV rays don’t discriminate based on season. They aren’t extra kind to you during winters. Sunscreen is a must in all weathers, even when it is cloudy. Get yourself at least an SPF30 cream, and re-apply it every 2-3 hours. And don’t forget to apply moisturizer before the sunblock.
There’s no end to the number of myths you’re likely to bump into day in and day out. We would always advise you to exercise caution and take things with a pinch of salt. Don’t follow anything blindly just because you happen to read it in a blog or an article, unless, of course, it happens to be a blog that’s run by skin specialists, like ourselves!
Have a great winter and don’t let the weather, or someone’s bad advice dampen your spirit!
Ms. Anupama Arora, a Senior Consultant at Skin Alive, has nearly two decades worth of experience under her belt. With her background in nutrition, she is able to take a comprehensive and holistic approach to aesthetic dermatology. In addition to providing counselling on skin related issues, antiaging, and weight management, she also recommends diet and lifestyle changes to her clients, so that they’re able to live a more fulfilling life.