With the temperatures rising, we suspect most Indians to stay indoors which ultimately leads to spending more time on our phones, laptops and television screens and stepping out in the sun only when needed. I reached out to celebrity dermatologist Abhijit Desai to help solve some of the most asked summer skin questions and how to tackle them with a plush dose of expert advice. In this telephonic interview, Desai reveals top tips, product recommendations, solutions for blue light exposure, cranky skin, anti aging ingredients and the importance of Vitamin C serums to give you a solid summer skin care regimen. Scroll down for all the details.
Q. Blue light exposure has become a massive concern especially during the pandemic. How do we tackle this problem?
Desai: So, as you rightly said because of the pandemic and the cases rising, a lot more people are exposed to their devices more than ever. While it’s difficult to control that, there are products that one can use to protect yourself from these radiations. La Shield Ir Sunscreen Gel SPF 30 is a great product specifically created to protect you from the adverse effects of blue light.
Q. How does one select the right SPF for their skin?
Desai: I have always advised all my clients over the years to use a sunscreen that they personally like. As dermats we always give you a few choices depending on your skin type and the climate. And then you choose what you prefer from the list of recommendations that we give you. Otherwise, the chances are that you won’t actually use it. I’ve seen this happen time and again.
Coming to the SPF, most sunscreens these days are SPF 40 and above, which according to me is more than sufficient. The ones with 20 and 35 SPF are really not sunscreens, in fact they are moisturizers with sunscreen benefits. So, I personally recommend a 40 to 50 SPF for strong protection. What’s important is to reapply your sunscreen after 3 to 4 hours of sun exposure which, according to the majority, is most often ignored. A one-time application will last not you the whole day. If you like chemical sunscreens, make sure you apply it 30 to 40 mins before you step out—giving you a nice, seamless, lightweight finish. Whereas the physical sunscreens contain zinc oxide and because of that you most often see a white patchy consistency post application which is normal. I would recommend physical sunscreens for those with sensitive skin and kids. Chemical can be used for those that are mostly working outdoors, etc.
Q. The skin can tend to get pretty heated during summers. What are your tips on keeping one’s skin calm and cool. Any anti-inflammatory skincare products or routines that you can suggest?
Desai: Typically, hydration is most important. If you stick to keeping your body refreshed with a healthy water intake, the water in your body will work to balance your body temperature. So, half the work is done right there. For those that are constantly exposed to the sun and prone to redness, I recommend using the Avene Thermal Spring Water Face Mist. It’s a wonderful product for the summers, abundant in earthy minerals that help reduce inflammation. It’s wonderful. You can use it throughout the day. Also, the sun is the strongest between 11 to 2pm. So, try to not step out during that time if possible.
Q. What is your number one summer anti-aging product?
Desai: Retinol and hyaluronic acid are star ingredients when it comes to anti aging. However, vitamin C serums are very, very effective. It’s a powerful antioxidant and it also protects you from the sun, leaving your skin fresh and vibrant. Litmocee 20, Vc 15 serum, Auriga vitamin c serum are some good options. The concentration must basically be from 8% to 20%.
Q. Lastly, what are the basic summer skincare products every Indian woman should have in their beauty cabinet?
Desai: Firstly, you need to use a good cleanser that will take away the excess oil, not your natural oil. This will help prevent you from heavy breakouts. For oily or combination skin the Sebamed Clear Face Cleansing Foam, Bioderma Sebium Gel Moussant, Avene Cleanance Cleansing Gel, Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser. These are very useful during summer. For those with active acne, cleansers with salicylic acid infused in it will help. Coming to moisturizers, they are an absolute must. You could go for oil-free or water-based moisturizers like the Sebamed Clear Face Care Gel Ph5.5. It’s an excellent formula. Clinique Super City Block Oil is also fantastic. Sunscreen is an essential part as I mentioned earlier. I absolutely recommend La Shield Pollution Protect Mineral Sunscreen Gel SPF 50. The Bioderma Photoderm Akn Mat Fluide Spf 30 is also very effective. I also love brands like Truderma and ISDIN Fusion water that have come out with some fabulous sunscreens that I absolutely swear by!