Come winter and the floodgates of information on the ‘best ways to keep skin healthy’ open to the extent that one goes numb with all the misinformation and bogus advice. Everyone from your dadi to your 10-year-old cousin has some totka or suggestion to give regarding a better skincare regimen to counter the harsh winds. With everyone chipping in their two cents’ worth, it’s important to distinguish between myth and reality.
People with dry skin see this a season to apply layers and layers of cream to counter the cold weather. Some even switch to natural oils like almond oil, coconut oil and olive oil, thinking that those are actually better than moisturisers. However, dermatologist Dr Badr Dhanani dispels this misconception saying, “Direct application of oil is never a good idea. If oil should be used, it should be used with water, perhaps a couple of drops of olive oil in the bucket when taking a shower.” Additionally, “Overcoating is harmful as well. You should know your skin type well and get a suitable moisturiser.”
On the other end of the spectrum are people who see winter as a time for a natural glow and the rose tint that the weather brings to the cheeks. Little do they realise that it’s actually the broken capillaries in the cheeks that make them look oh-so-desirable. This could lead to permanent redness (rosacea), reports marieclaire.com. “This is where ignorance and illiteracy come. The redness, so-called rosy cheeks, is actually damaged skin which sometimes cracks and makes cheeks bleed as well,” explains Dhanani.
Other ill-informed people think that if they have oily skin they can forgo the moisturiser completely, not realising that dry, cold climates wear on all skin types. Dhanani states, “Some level of lubrication is necessary for the healthy functioning of skin. Even people with oily skin should apply a thin layer of coating which serves as a defence mechanism against pollution and dirt in the atmosphere.” To illustrate his point even further, the dermatologist adds, “Just like we use some kind of coating for the furniture at home to protect it from damage, similarly, our skin also needs a layer of coating in the form of a good moisturiser.”
Meanwhile, if you think winter is the time to spend hours in the hot water shower, think again. They might feel great on a bone-chilling day, but hot water baths can actually be harmful as they strip away the essential oils from the skin. “Bath water should always be lukewarm as steaming hot water will remove your natural skin oils,” warns Dhanani.