In your skin

Tired of drinking plenty of water and eating lots of greens and still having to hide your acne scars and wrinkles with concealer and foundation? On National Healthy Skin month, MiD DAY gives you some handy healthy skin tips

You have heard this a zillion times. And let us tell you one more time that avoiding stress, cosmetics and using sun-block are the three mantras you have to diligently follow for a healthy skin.

Having a balanced diet is absolutely necessary to improve the immunity of your skin, resist infection and bacteria attacks but Dr Umashankar Nagaraju, Senior Consultant, Dermatology Department of Apollo Hospital insists that apart from having sprouts and soybeans and drinking two to three liters of water a day, you should not use hair oil at all and resist yourself from pricking zits.
"The most common skin problem that I come across is acne, which aggravates further with stress. People with acne should avoid using oil-based products and if they are too keen on using cosmetics, they should apply the water-based ones," says Umashankar.
However, Sachinth Abraham, dermatologist at Apollo and Manipal hospitals, believes pimples and acnes are common in adolescence and is a part of growing up.

He doesn't think anything can be done to prevent it. Acnes can also be an adult skin issue sometimes, mostly caused by hormonal disorder and cosmetic over-use and need to be combatted in the same way as adolescence acne.

Busting myths
Dr Umashankar insists on keeping oiliness at bay. He suggests shampooing your hair everyday, which can relieve you of acne and dandruff as well. Umashankar breaks the myth you might have grown up listening to. Hair oil does not do any good to the hair other than lubricating it.
"If someone is addicted to putting oil he can, ten minutes before bath and then wash it off by gently applying shampoo. Hair massages are not of any use," explains Umashankar.

If you always thought that using sunscreen or sunglasses is  not necessary during rainy and cloudy days, here's some advise from the doc. "Reflection of sunrays is more harmful during the rainy season and cloudy days. You should use sun protection even in hill stations and lakes just as you would on the beaches," he says.
Winter woes
"In winters the common skin problems are Thoriasis and Etopic Exima. While Thoriasis leads to scaly patches on the skin, Etopic Exima causes dryness and itchy sensation mostly on the  face, neck and legs," says Umashankar.
Sachinth suggests an easy remedy to overcome dryness in winter - by applying plain petroleum jelly or glycerin based moisturiser, if necessary twice a day. Exfoliation also helps.

"One needs to exfoliate at least once in two weeks either by glycolic peeling or using exfoliating creams. Alpha Hydroxy acid and Beta Hydroxy Acid are the two creams which can be used to exfoliate dry skin," says Sachinth.

Midlife crisis

Pigmentation is common in middle-aged women who are either prone to sun tan or have been over using cosmetics for a long time. Sometimes it could also result from medicinal drugs. "The most common type of skin pigmentation is Melasma and it is a condition in which a lot of melanin is produced causing hyper pigmentation.
To heal such pigmentations, one needs to do chemical peeling to get rid of the dead skin," says Umashankar. Though sunscreen can be used to prevent pigmentation caused by sun tan, he insists application of sun-block every three hours to get best results.

Smoking and drinking are two harmful habits that can damage the skin by creating puffiness. Dr. Umashankar lists out  all that you should include in your daily diet to hydrate the collagen and elastin fibre in your skin.
"Greens, pulses, sprouts, fully boiled eggs, citrus fruits or juice and lots of water protect the tissue from getting damaged," he reveals.

5 steps to glowing skin
Use sun protection
Use moisturiser
Drink lots of fluids
Eat green vegetables and citrus fruits
Frequent hand washes to prevent bacteria

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