Skin care tips: Glow-up like this

Skin care, at the moment, is hurtling through parallel universes. An influential is championing the seven-step Korean regime. Another swears by chemical peels. Still others believe that home remedies are all you need. Everyone has glowing, transparent skin. Everyone’s gossiping, OMG, you guys! Meanwhile, shoppers have a cart full of products, confusion, and suspicion that we’re mispronouncing “hyaluronic.”

Dermatologists say home remedies can cause just as much damage as packaged, bottled skin treatments.  (Sutterstock)
Dermatologists say home remedies can cause just as much damage as packaged, bottled skin treatments. (Sutterstock)

Experts are also surprised. “With influencers flooding social media with their skincare regimens, many people have been led to believe that we need to follow xyz number of steps and apply serums, antioxidants, toners, sunscreens and moisturisers,” says Delhi-based dermatologist Dr Mansak Shishak. “It’s completely unnecessary. In fact, it damages your skin barrier and causes chronic inflammation. The skin is an important immune organ. It’s best not to tamper with it.”

Dr. Indu Ballani, a dermatologist who has been practicing for 18 years, says an annual skin exam should be as much a part of your life as going to the dentist every year “even if you don’t have a problem.” Skin damage is much easier to treat before its effects become apparent, believes Dr Ishan Sardesai, a dermatologist with a background in ENT. And the skin is also a good barometer for other health problems, so a checkup is more than a cosmetic visit.

Here’s what dermatologists are seeing in Indian faces. And how they are behaving.

From scratch: “Itchy skin is the most common complaint in dermatology clinics,” says Dr. Ballani. “There can be 100 reasons for this complaint and a thorough examination is required to diagnose the cause.” Dryness makes it worse. “Keeping the skin hydrated, especially during the changing seasons, can prevent the itchiness from getting worse.”

Cream Concerns: Spas and beauty parlors are rife with counterfeit goods. But it gets worse. “We have lax regulations on prescription drugs. “Everyone from pharmacists to unlicensed practitioners prescribe skin creams, often containing unapproved and irrational combinations,” says Dr. Shisak. “They mask symptoms, damage the skin and are absorbed systemically, affecting internal organs.”

Flare guns: Pimples were a teenage concern. Dr. Ballani says, “Nowadays, all age groups are suffering from acne. Hormonal fluctuations, pollution, diet, lifestyle or simply genetics are common culprits. “We look for patients for the right reasons, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle and good skin hygiene is essential for prevention.” Remember that over-cleansing can also trigger acne.

For acne and breakouts, hormonal fluctuations, pollution, diet, lifestyle or just genetics are common culprits.  (Sutterstock)
For acne and breakouts, hormonal fluctuations, pollution, diet, lifestyle or just genetics are common culprits. (Sutterstock)

Trace problem: Dr Ballani has seen a sharp rise in hair loss cases since the pandemic. “The reason can be hormonal, genetic, drug intake, chemical hair-treatment and vitamin deficiency,” Eat a balanced diet, avoid harsh hair procedures and keep the scalp clean – this is half the battle won.

Dr Sardesai says, “Male pattern baldness is the most common problem. “In the early stages, it can be treated with medication. Treatments such as PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma) or GFC (Growth Factor Concentrate) help thicken existing hair and promote new growth. Laser phototherapy, using a special helmet, can prevent hair loss and existing hair. Can be used at home to improve hair thickness.”

There are no genes in the bottle for this problem. “For hair loss, an unfair marketing industry exists, where many supplements are advertised, while the actual diagnosis remains unknown,” says Dr Shishak.

Color Theory: Dark or light skin blemishes are also a cause for concern in India. Dark spots take especially long to heal. “This may be a reflection of an underlying endocrine disorder or nutritional deficiency,” says Dr. Shisak. Desperate patients resort to laser treatments and chemical peels, or try home remedies that cause even more damage and problems. “An unhealthy obsession with objectivity continues,” says Dr Shisak. “We get frequent requests for skin-lightening injections containing glutathione. Instagram filters and social media apps have made the current generation more physically self-conscious and vulnerable than ever.”

Follow @UrveeM on Twitter and @modwel on Instagram

From HT Brunch, March 18, 2023

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