As a beauty junkie you probably have a cupboard full of unused beauty products. You also probably believe – the more expensive the brand, the better it is for your skin. But a savvy Nykaa woman like you should know better. Pretty packaging, glib marketing and fads do not a great product make. But it’s not always easy to distinguish the hype from facts when it comes to skincare. Nykaa spoke to top dermatologists to uncover skin facts from fiction to give you the REAL deal about good skin care.
You have to cleanse, tone, and moisturize. It’s the least you should be doing.
This might have been the gold standard in skin care once upon a time but not so any more. In humid climes like ours when ambient humidity rarely causes skin to really dry up, using a moisturizer is setting you up for breakouts unless you have really dry skin. Similarly using a toner regularly can disturb the skin’s pH balance causing skin irritation. Use one only if your skin is so oily that it shines an hour after your wash it, and always opt for a gentle formula like Avene Thermal Spring Water
. All you really need is gentle cleansing during summers, try L’Oreal Paris Revitalift Milky Foam
and Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Foaming Face Wash
. Mix it with the addition of a light moisturizer like Sebamed Visio Active Hydro Gel
You don’t need to slather on sunscreen on cloudy days. It’s enough to dab it on sunny days or at the beach.
Sunscreen is a must everywhere, every time, says dermatologist Dr. Jaishree Sharad. “It’s tempting to skip sunscreen on cloudy or chilly days. Fact is, damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays can penetrate clouds. Research even suggests that they can also cut through glass windows. You’re not even safe at home or the car,” she adds.
Dermatologist Dr. Abhijit Desai explains that there are three kinds of UV rays – UVA, UVB and UVC. While UVA rays goes deeper into your skin, altering pigmentation to produce a tan, UVB rays on the other hand damages your surface, thus causing sunburn. It can permanently change your skin’s DNA in form of wrinkles, sun spots, pigmentation, darkening, tanning and even cancerous tumors. UVC rays are absorbed by the atmosphere and doesn’t reach the ground. He suggests a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects you from UVA and UVB rays. “Choose SPF 20 or 30 that either mexoryl, oxybenzone or avobenzone (Parsol 1789) or titanium dioxide.” Just as Neutrogena UltraSheer Dry Touch Sunblock SPF 50+
and Avene Very High Protection Cream SPF 50+ + Emulsion.
I don’t need sunscreen because my makeup has inbuilt sun protection.
It’s a myth that you’re protected just because you’re wearing foundation or a compact with inbuilt SPF. The fact is to get the sun protection you can get from a regular sunscreen you’ll have to apply 14 or 15 times the amount of makeup a normal person would ordinarily wear to reach the SPF on the label of powdered makeup. Meanwhile using a sunscreen (like Organic Harvest Sunscreen With Spf – 60
) AND makeup with SPF (like Revlon Photo Ready Air Brush Effect Make Up SPF 20
) offers greater layering and better sun protection for your skin. In short, use both!
The higher the SPF, the better the protection.
The SPF or Sun Protection Factor of a product can range from 2 to greater than 50, and the number refers to its ability to deflect the sun’s rays. However, some sunscreens now also include compounds such as titanium dioxide, zinc oxide and avobenzone that protect against UVA rays. The sunscreen SPF rating is calculated by comparing the amount of time needed to produce sunburn on sunscreen-protected skin to the amount of time needed to cause sunburn on unprotected skin. So it’s a common mistake to think that a sunscreen with an SPF 45 rating gives three times the protection one with SPF 15 would give. In reality, SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens filter 98% like L’Oreal Paris UV Perfect Aqua Essence SPF 50
, and SPF 100 filter 99% like Lotus Herbals Safe Sun Ultra Sunblock SPF 100+PA+++
. Basically, the higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes.
Scrubbing my face with soap will keep my skin healthy and acne free.
Dr Desai says that in fact this is one of the worst things you can do to treat acne. “Scrubbing your face or using harsh soaps will make the problem worse. Using the right medicated cleansers can fix the problem without causing excessive dryness and rebound oiliness that brings its own set of problems. You may have to use the cleanser two to three even four times a day depending on the weather and level of oiliness.” Basically, you can’t scrub acne away. Instead use a soap-free gentle cleanser like Kama Ayurveda Mridul Soap Free Face Cleanser
or a cleanser formulated for acne like Ponds Pimple Clear Face Wash
Popping a pimple is the best way to flatten it and get rid of acne.
It might make you feel better to flatten that offending bump on your face but acne goes much deeper. As Dr. Desai says, “Acne itself doesn’t cause scarring. It occurs because many people find it hard to resist the temptation to pick at pimples, breaking the skin and causing it to heal unevenly.” Also, when inflammation goes deeper, the infection spreads under the skin and leads to another zit near the previous one. So what’s a girl to do? Stop picking! Use a blackhead removing cleanser or a medicated acne cream like Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner – Corrective Concentrate
or Avene Tri + Acneal Skin Cream
. You may also benefit from a short course of antibiotics.
Regular facials and microdermabrasion sessions are good for your skin.
This is a myth perpetuated by spa owners and parlors. In fact, a recent study concluded that facials can actually cause breakouts in 80 per cent of people. Sure, they might feel relaxing but they have no other long-term benefits. Besides, most facials are not customized to individual skin types and many practitioners don’t have an in-depth understanding of skin types and ingredients. You could have a bad reaction to herb and plant extracts, olive oil, castor oil or any other ingredient used in the facial. Similarly, microdermabrasion simply sloughs off the top layer of skin making it look smooth and fresh for a couple of weeks before it reverts to its original state. Have one too many sessions and you run the risk of thinning skin. Instead, you’re better off use a mild daily exfoliating cleanser like Aroma Magic Coffee Bean Scrub
and Inatur Charcoal Face Scrub
The more expensive the skin care products, the more effective it is.
“This is a common misconception,” says Dr. Dhimant Goleria. “I often prescribe retinoid formulations and sunscreens that cost under Rs. 500 with excellent results. In my experience, many mass market products are better than much more expensive ones.” As a savvy shopper, get into the habit of checking the ingredient list on skin creams. Most of the active ingredients found in anti-aging creams are similar, whether you buy them online or at a boutique store. Brands like Lakme, Pond’s, Himalaya Herbals are bang for the buck. Of course, pricier brands are selling you the whole deal – smell, imagery and packing. And if that’s what you want, go right ahead.
Anti-ageing products erase wrinkles.
This is another myth perpetuated by clever marketing. “All that wrinkle creams do,” says Dr. Goleria, “is hydrate skin making it look plumper and smoothing out wrinkles temporarily.” No cream can really erase wrinkles, he asserts, no matter how expensive or how convincing the marketing. However, there is one topical cream that does reverse fine lines and wrinkles, retinoids. Sold under brand named Retino-A or Tretinoin, these creams are proven to increase skin cell turnover, prevent acne, reduce pore size and fade pigmentation. Either ask your doctor to prescribe one for you or buy a Retinol enriched skin cream like Dermalogica Overnight Retinol Repair
and Lakme Youth Infinity Skin Firming Day Crème
Use separate day and night creams.
Sure, evenings are prime time for skin repair but choosing the right cream best suited for your skin type is far more important than the time of day you use it. If your have dry skin for instance, look for a cream with peptides or Vitamin C antioxidants (like Olay Total Effects 7 In One Anti-Ageing Smoothing Serum
) and use it day and night. If you’re using a pigmentation cream containing retinol, use only at night because this key ingredient can cause skin sensitivity. Oily skin? Look for a light water-based moisturizer (like The Face Shop Chia Seed No Shine Intense Hydrating Cream
) that you can use round the clock.