Well, it’s a well-known fact that the hot Indian summer can really wreak havoc on our skin—both body and face; and while we got the deets on how to take care of our face last time, it’s the body that never gets the attention it deserves. Well, not anymore though. Since summer is all about lounging on the beach with coconut-y cocktails, healthy, well-hydrated skin is a must. So, we spoke to Dr. Apratim Goel, MD, Cosmetic Dermatology and Director of Cutis Skin Studio who answered all our summer body care questions!
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Q. How is body care different from face care?
Our body skin is different from that of our face; it’s thicker and doesn’t have oil glands, so it’s not that sebaceous—also one of the reasons why we don’t observe much acne problems on the body. On the other hand it’s more prone to dryness. Now the reason why body care becomes more important during summers is because we tend to expose our skin more which causes a lot of skin issues such as pigmentation, strawberry legs etc. More importantly during summers, our skin can also get affected by fungus that can cause pigmentation. Truth be told, we are also lazy about body care; we aren’t really motivated to take care of our bodies like we are for our face. So, a seven step regime (that we do for our face), will hardly work. We need to make it simple, yet effective and that’s also the reason why body care products are also formulated differently. They have a higher concentration of active ingredients; for instance if we use only 0.1% retinol for the face, we can use up to 5% on the body. Ofcourse, the packaging is different in terms of quantity, more lotion-based (easily absorbed) etc. All-in-all body care is really important; in fact the body is the new face.
Q. What are the must-have body products that one should use during summers?
Exfoliation is also very crucial and hence a good body scrub with a fortified moisturizer needs to be a part of your body care ritual. Since the blood supply to our body skin is lesser compared to that on our face, we need to use stronger products with actives. Retinol mixed in a moisturizing base such as the FCL Bioretinol Body Lotion is something that should be incorporated in body care. Secondly probiotic infused lotions are also beneficial for our body. Also, as we tend to lose water more (that can lead to dry, dehydrated skin), hydration is key.
Q. What are the ingredients to look for in summer body products?
If you have dry skin, you should stick to peptides and ceramides that aids in retaining moisture. You can also opt for oil-based products such as body oils if your skin is very dry. Alternately, you can also look for Hyaluronic Acid based products such as the Innisfree Blueberry Rebalancing Lotion that is light-weight and gets instantly absorbed by the body. Refrain from using heavy textured body butters during the hot months in order to avoid acne on your back/upper body etc.
Q. There are quite a lot of skin concerns such as bacne, buttne, heat rashes etc. that people suffer from during summers. What are the most important products or steps to deal with these concerns?
You might be surprised to hear this but it’s very common for acne to appear on your upper back. If you do a lot of oil messages and have acne-prone skin, then you might get acne on your back. The principle remains the same: you need to cut down the oil concentration; use a body wash with Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide—or even a Salicylic Acid peel is also a good idea. Moreover, acne leaves marks which can take a long time to disappear, so it’s best to use active ingredients to help acne clear up at the earliest. For buttne, one of the causes is sitting in one place for too long. Secondly, the hair on your butt can lead to boils so a laser hair removal treatment can help in a big way. Using a good exfoliant, chemical or otherwise works equally well since the skin is thicker there. You can use an antibacterial cream such as T-Bact Ointment along with Salicylic Acid or Benzoyl Peroxide. The thing to remember though is not to use a lot of it since this will dry out your skin and cause itching, irritation, rashes etc. Heat rashes (Miliaria) are also common occurrences during summers and what cures them is a high dose of Vitamin C. Also don’t forget to take a lot of cold water showers and wear clothes made out of natural, breathable fabrics such as cotton.
Q. What are the most crucial things to keep in mind for body care during summers?
First and foremost use sun protection. In fact, you can go ahead and try oral sunscreens that are good for people whose job requires constant sun exposure or who tend to get tanned easily. It also comes in handy when you feel applying sunscreen on your whole body is a chore that you would rather avoid. It’s not a 100% substitute for sunscreen but you can just apply one layer of sunscreen in the morning— and this can take care of the rest. Secondly exfoliation is key. Keep yourself hydrated inside-out especially when you spend the entire day in the air con; remember to use a calamine lotion after waxing. Thirdly, give your body regular nourishment so as to diminish the issues you are facing at that point of time.
Q. Any clinical treatments or remedies you want to recommend for the summer?
Papaya is a good exfoliant that can be mixed with coffee beans and grinded to make a DIY scrub at home. You can also add a bit of honey to give your skin some extra moisturization. If you have extremely dry skin then use a mask made out of oatmeal, almond and cucumber. Coming to treatments, chemical peels are a good option if you aren’t exposed to the sun constantly; otherwise skin polishing is also a good idea.