Nothing can make the terrible Indian summers bearable. Unless quitting your job and working in an ice factory is an option. Stepping out into the sun for even a few minutes during the summer months can rob most of us of our will to live, and drive us to the point where we want to take off all our clothes and never leave our air-conditioned bliss. But unfortunately, real life doesn't work that way. Stepping out and battling the evil ball of fire is inevitable, no matter how hard you work to avoid it. And skin is one of the earliest casualties in this fight against the heat. It doesn't have to be, though. While there's little you can do about the constantly flowing rivulets of sweat in Mumbai's humidity or the burning dryness of Delhi, there are several things you can do to protect your skin from damage. Here are 6 summer skincare tips every Indian needs to memorise.
Heat and humidity cause the sebaceous glands in the skin to work overtime, which is why skin gets oily and irritable during the summers, especially in humid cities such as Mumbai. Overactive oil glands in the summer may also cause the pores to get clogged, which can lead to all kinds of irritation and breakouts.
If you have acne-prone skin, look for products that contain zinc oxide.
Activated charcoal face masks are very effective exfoliators for oily skin. Oils and toxins bind themselves to the charcoal, cleaning clogged pores, and clean pores appear smaller. Ensuring that you have clean pores will tighten your skin, make it feel fresh, help it breathe and make skincare products more effective. So maintaining a strict skin cleansing routine is very important in humid summers. If you have acne-prone skin, look for products that contain zinc oxide.
Dry, scorching summers can leach moisture from your skin, leaving it feeling like a parched leaf or sandpaper. If you already have dry skin, or spend most of your hours in an air-conditioned environment, summers can dehydrate your skin further, since both the heat and the AC make skin lose its moisture. Dry, dehydrated skin tends to look harsher and shows wrinkles and lines more prominently. So, constantly hydrating your skin is your biggest skincare priority if you live in places like Delhi and Rajasthan, where the air is devoid of all moisture.
A hydrating moisturiser for dry skin contains three kinds of ingredients: an occlusive, a humectant and an emollient.
Drinking more water is one very obvious solution, of course. But it's not enough. You also need to prevent your skin from losing moisture by using products that act as a barrier for loss of moisture and using products that replenish the skin with lost moisture. A hydrating moisturiser for dry skin contains three kinds of ingredients: an occlusive, a humectant and an emollient. Occlusive ingredients like lanolin, petroleum jelly and zinc oxide form a film on the skin to prevent water loss. Humectants like glycerine, hyaluronic acid and lactic acid rehydrate the skin by attracting water molecules from the inner layers of the skin and even the air around your face, and binding them to the surface. Emollient ingredients like jojoba and other oils, fill the spaces, or cracks between skin cells, making the skin more supple and smooth.
During summers, steer clear of foundations and concealers to avoid rivulets running down your face if it's humid, or making your skin irritable if the weather is dry and burning. Instead, stick to light BB or CC creams with a tint of foundation to even out dark patches. Opt for one with some amount of SPF, offering additional sun protection. Unlike concealers and foundations, they don't cake up and are a lot easier on the skin. If you must use full-fledged base makeup, don't use coloured powder on top of the foundation and concealer, instead, use transparent powder to press the base into place. Using coloured powder adds one more layer to the skin and your face could end up looking greasy and shiny, in case you sweat.
Retinoids make skin photosensitive, which can lead to hyperpigmentation and skin damage, if exposed to sun.
If you use retinol — your best friend if you're trying to battle the effects of ageing on skin — you're going to have to switch the time you apply it during the summers. Retinoids make skin photosensitive, which can lead to hyper-pigmentation and skin damage, if exposed to sun. So start using them in the night instead of the day, and apply a thick night moisturiser over a layer of retinol serum once it has dried.
It is worth investing in different skincare products for the summers and winters, especially moisturisers. If you're experiencing humid summers, opt for light hydrating moisturisers instead of thick, creamy ones. Hydrating moisturisers are lighter on the pores and help the skin remain healthy without attracting too much dust and grime in the summer. If you have dry skin, or are battling a dry summer, use water-based products that can be reapplied quickly through the day and oil-based, nutrient dense ones in the night.
Memorise the SPF mantra and repeat it every two hours during the summer. Using a good sun protection lotion should be a beauty must-do throughout the year, but during the summers it is simply non-negotiable. Damage to the skin due to sun exposure leads to premature ageing as well as patchy, unhealthy, irritable skin. A sunscreen with SPF 50, applied 15 to 20 minutes before going out and reapplied every 2 hours if you're out, is an absolute must during both humid and dry summers.
Mineral sunscreens are a better pick for dry and sensitive skin.
For dry weather or skin, use a chemical or mineral sunscreen. Mineral sunscreens contain active ingredients such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide that deflect UV rays from the skin. Chemical sunscreens contain chemical compounds like oxybenzone that convert UV rays into heat and then release the heat from the skin. While both are good for dry skin, mineral sunscreens are a better pick for dry and sensitive skin.
Non-greasy sunscreen lotions that are liquid or fluid, instead of thick, creamy sun blockers are advisable for oily skin.
For oily skin and humid weather, the key to picking the right sunscreen lies in the texture, not the ingredients. Non-greasy sunscreen lotions that are liquid or fluid, instead of thick, creamy sun blockers are advisable. It is also important to ensure that at the end of the day, the sunscreen is properly removed to let the skin breathe and avoid breakouts due to excess sunscreen clogging the pores.
If you live in a humid city, you need to watch out for breakouts in places other than your face as well. All the sweating due to the heat and humidity could lead to sweat acne on the chest, arms and back as well. Hot and damp is the best environment for bacteria to grow in. If the pores are enlarged due to improper cleaning, the bacteria on the skin can get lodged in the pores and grow there.