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Your Most Popular Skincare Questions, ANSWERED!

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There we said it: Skincare ain’t as easy as it used to be once upon a time. With newer trends, ingredients and skin tools making their way into the beauty aisles every fortnight, it can get really confusing, really fast. After all, how do you tackle those annoying skin concerns and pick the right products from the barrage of options out there? Well, we at team Beauty Book intend to clear all your lingering skincare questions, no matter how basic or complex they are. Below, you'll find seven inquiries on your biggest skin-care concerns, including how to tackle pigmentation around the mouth, how to tame acne, and everything you need to know about dark knees and elbows— along with some very helpful solutions. Scroll down for all the deets.

1. I want to get rid of my dark circles. Help!

While stress and lack of sleep can cause dark circles, there are also other important factors that are responsible for ‘em raccoon eyes. Dermatologist Kiran Lohia, MD explains, “There could be an anatomic component (deep-set eyes that cast shadows under the eyes), genetics (you might be prone to discoloration and poor blood circulation in the area), pigmentation and aging which also could be some of the key reasons”. Fret not, as there are long-term, non-invasive options such as Under Eye Rescue and Ulthera (recommended by Dr Lohia) that can help diminish the discoloration. Alternately, you can also incorporate topical products with a few key ingredients known to target dark circles: Hyaluronic acid, Caffeine, and Vitamin C. Don’t forget to hydrate and get ample sleep while you are it.

2. I have hyperpigmentation around my mouth. What do I do?

One of the primary reasons for hyperpigmentation is the presence of excess melanin—causing your skin to darken around the mouth. This in turn can become more pronounced when the skin is exposed to the sun for long periods of time (sans any protection). If you are looking for clinical treatments, you can opt for chemical peels that remove the unwanted melanin—thereby causing the regeneration of new cells and tissues. Laser treatments are also very popular which stimulate skin renewal and eliminate excess skin pigmentation. Alternatively, you can also opt for prescription creams containing Hydroquinone and Kojic Acid or OTC brightening creams containing AHAs, Ascorbic acid (vitamin C), Niacinamide, Arbutin etc. all of which can reduce hyperpigmentation. PS: Don’t skip the sunscreen.

3. Blackheads and whiteheads are regular occurrences on my face. How can I prevent them?

Some of the most potent treatments for blackheads are products containing Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid that removes excess oil, exfoliates and chemically disintegrates the top layer of the skin—thereby unblocking the pores. Other ingredients to look out for are Charcoal, Alpha & Beta Hydroxy Acids and Lactic Acid. For more stubborn cases of blackheads, you can opt for Retinoid creams. Incorporating a facial cleaning brush can also help in blackhead removal. When dealing with whiteheads Witch Hazel, Benzoyl Peroxide, Retinol or salicylic acid can help clear the build-up out of pores.

4. What’s the best way to get rid of these lines on my neck?

Turns out necklines are caused by a combination of a) Natural aging b) Genetics c) Daily activities we engage in. So, all that constant craning over smartphones can cause sagging skin and fine lines as well. Moreover, since the skin of the neck is thin as compared to the rest of the body, the décolletage is also more prone to sun damage. What you need to do is to start using anti-aging products on your neck as well. Think potent night creams with Retinoids that fades lines and boosts cell turnover. Don’t forget to add a sunscreen to the mix to shield from environmental damage.

5. How can I get rid of dark underarms?

According to Dermatologist and Celebrity Cosmetologist Dr Bindu Sthalekar, dark underarms are mainly a result of hormonal imbalance. “That’s the reason why oral medication is given to people with this problem. They should also avoid refined food and try to lose weight. Deodorants might cause allergy leading to dark armpits. If you get mild itching, change your deodorant. There are skin lightening creams and laser treatments as well”, she adds.

6. What are the best treatments for acne and acne scars?

The good news is that there are a plethora of treatment options for both acne and acne scarring. On the topical side, Dermatologists recommend opting for formulations that contain ingredients that fight acne-causing bacteria, such as Salicylic Acid, Benzoyl Peroxide, and Retinol to help ward off that wayward zit. You can also try dabbing Tea Tree Oil (1 part for 9 parts water) as an effective acne spot treatment. For lingering acne scars or marks, Dermatologist and leading health expert, Dr. Deepali Bharadwaj recommends one of these acne scar removal treatments such as Fraxel/Frazer, Subcision and TCA Cross. Microneedling and Dermal fillers are some of the other options.

7. Why are my elbows and knees dark?

Dark knees, elbows and knuckles are caused by dead skin build up, that gets worse with sun exposure and friction. Sometimes it could also be a result of hyper-pigmentation, excess melanin production and obesity as well. First things first: since exfoliation is key, use a good scrub to slough off all the dead cells. Next, in order to combat the discoloration, try rubbing a lemon (natural bleaching properties) on the offending area. Follow this up with a targeted cream to hydrate. While opting for lightening treatments, look for products with Vitamin C that brightens up the skin as well as prevents pigmentation from appearing in the first place.

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