It’s the dry season again and irrespective of how much the mercury drops — or not — our skin and hair need special care during this time.
“It’s important to understand how the quality of our skin and hair fluctuates with the weather to create the right care routine,” says Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, cosmetologist and foundermedical director, ISAAC Luxe. The cool, dry season strips the skin of its natural oil, pushing it to overproduce sebum in an attempt to keep the skin soft. “This can result in oily spots on the face. Some parts of your body and face may even be dry and flaky, while others become slick with oil.” And when it comes to your tresses, dry scalp can lead to dry hair, breakage and hair loss.
Experts shed light on how best to pamper your skin and hair during this season.
Keeping it supple
Celebrity make-up artist and stylist Ojas Rajani says that an effective beauty routine starts with something as basic as a good, lubricating bodywash and facewash. “Read the label carefully before buying a product and do not selfmedicate and buy alphahydroxy or fairness face washes — they often backfire. Use products that have a vaseline, jojoba or coconut oil base,” she says, adding that one should apply body lotion right after taking a shower when the skin is moist. “It soothes your skin and prevents flaking and itchiness.”
Itchiness and dryness are the two most common complaints during the cooler months. Skin conditions such as acne, eczema or psoriasis may also flare up. “Use mild and gentle cleansers and treat your body like you would a baby. You can make a face-pack with half an avocado and a tablespoon of olive oil,” says Megha Asher, co-founder and COO, Juicy Chemistry. “Aloe vera too, soothes and hydrates the skin. Using a sunscreen even indoors is a must.”
For those battling dry skin, Gupta recommends increasing the daily intake of fats with walnuts, olive oil and avocados on the menu. “Also, switch to a heavy moisturiser, exfoliate with something that has a mild glycolic or lactic acid and consider placing a humidifier in the room where you spend the maximum time. It increases the moisture level in the air,” she says.
When it comes to caring for oily or combination skin, using a non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturiser, exfoliating twice a week and staying hydrated are effective measures. “You can apply a paste of turmeric and honey on your face. Turmeric has antioxidant and antiseptic properties and honey is a natural humectant that keeps the skin moist but not oily,” says Gupta.
Your scalp, too, becomes dry during this season and can lead to dandruff, itchy scalp, frizzy or static hair, split ends and hair loss.
“Oiling hair regularly is always a great idea and becomes especially important during the colder months. Coconut, almond and olive oils are greatly nourishing for the scalp,” says Asher. She also recommends making a paste with avocado, banana and olive oil and leaving it on for 30 minutes. “Rinse off with a mild shampoo. Oats, coconut oil and coconut milk make for a nourishing hair mask as well.”
Ojas, too, swears by her weekly hair mask routine. “I mix triphala methi powder with four eggs and lots of fresh yoghurt and some avocado, and beat them together and leave the mask on my hair for 45 minutes. It takes care of the dryness and adds a healthy glow,” she says, adding that zero shampoos can take care of flaky scalp in winter. “Also remember, a conditioner should be applied from midlength to the tip of the hair and never on the scalp.”
Gupta recommends a protein-rich diet with plenty of eggs, poultry, legumes, lentils and green beans, and using a nourishing shampoo and leave-in conditioner that would restore the lost oil in the hair.“Switch to a hydrating shampoo and conditioner that suits your hair type and use a deep-conditioner once or twice a week,” she says, adding that medicated, anti-dandruff shampoos containing zinc pyrithione, coal tar, salicylic acid, selenium sulfide or ketoconazole are effective for controlling seborrheic dermatitis.