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Shweta Ganesh| Posted On: 16-March-2013

We battle with various skin problems on a day to day basis all year round! During winters, it’s dry and flaky while sultry summers make the skin sweaty, oil and greasy. Dr.Rekha Sheth, India’s first Cosmetic Dermatologist, the Founder of the Cosmetic Dermatologists Society (India) through which she has trained general public, physicians, dermatologists in Cosmetic Dermatology. We tackle the big, small and the in between skin worries, myths and treatments with her. In an exclusive with Dr.Rekha, she opens up on good skincare, importance of sunscreen and more. Here’s why beauty is skin deep…

1. What are the major skin concerns in today’s day and age?
A lot of clients come to me for common problems like dullness, tanning, sunburn, skin lightning or fairness procedures. Another major skin concern that’s affecting both men and women but women largely is acne. Adult acne, hair loss or thinning is a problem that most adults come to me for. The main cause for it is hormonal imbalance owing to PCOD in women or the general dearth of nutrition and exercise in our daily routine. Pollution, UV intensity and stress coupled with our lifestyle and food choices have lead us to battle with these major skin problems.

2. What are the beauty and skincare products/regimen that you personally swear by?
More than the products or brands, it’s the type of products that you should use. Sunscreen is a must for every skin type almost through the day which is till about 7:00 PM in summers. Another one is cleansers which most people choose completely wrong! It’s either too harsh with a lot of active ingredients or it’s too mild, thereby doing nothing for the skin. So, pick up something that suits you. The best way to find out is after ten minutes of using the cleanser; one shouldn’t be feeling like it’s too dry or is making you sweat. There’s enough reason that everyone stresses on the 3-part regimen of cleansing with hot water, followed by cold after which toning the skin is essential.

3. Ideally, what is there right SPF that our sunblock should contain depending on the tone and skin type?
When it comes to SPF, the minimum is 30 and quantity should be 2mg per square which is adequate. In theory and practice, more the SPF the better! These creams are formulated in such a way that it’s supposed to feel sticky but they will not induce acne at least that applies to reputed brands. Generally, if it’s too oily on the skin you can wipe it off with a gentle washcloth. 

4. What are the most common misconceptions that women have about skincare?
People come to me saying that they are not ready to use so many products because they are all chemically induced! In fact, even with botanical products people are equally prone to the similar chemicals as they too contain preservatives. Pure extracts are good and usually can exist without the preservatives. People come to me for dullness and expect light, bright-looking skin at the earliest. However, they don’t realize that factors such as hormonal imbalance or PCOD in women could contribute majorly to dull looking skin. People must keep their weight in check and eat a well balanced diet.

5. How often must one exfoliate or get a beauty facial?
It depends on the individual, his skintype and the lifestyle that he leads. Usually one can do it once in 3-4 weeks. It’s best if people go to salons, skin clinics for such procedures over doing it at home. People should consider micro dermabrasion instead of using scrubs at home. Most scrubs are very harsh on the skin and can result in patchiness and pigmentation. If you’re looking to do something that’s gentle on the skin, use a sponge after you have applied the facewash along with hot water to gently exfoliate. Toning is a must after you exfoliate.

6. What would you recommend on a daily basis as proper skincare? What do anti-oxidants, AHA’s, BHA’s and Retina-A do for the skin?
It would again be sunscreen, cleanser and antioxidants both topical applicators and internally. Vitamins like A,C,D are also essential, aloevera is gentle, mild and cooling on the skin. It’s best to start antioxidants from a young age itself. Foods like Pomegranate, Soya, Papaya are great for the skin while Olay Regenerist is one great commercial product. Antioxidants are great for the skin in the sense that they slow down the process of oxidation thereby protect and repair the skin. Retinoid containing products are most effective and trusted upon. It helps in slowing the process of anti-ageing and improves quality of collagen content too. 

7. How often should people change their skincare routines and products?
As one is ageing, the skin undergoes various changes. So, it’s essential that you get aware of how your skin is changing and adapting to the various changes the body, hormones are going through. Also, depending on the seasons, weather conditions it’s essential to pick a skin care regimen and stick by it. No matter what you do include sunscreen and antioxidants!

8. In the debate between ‘au natural’ and synthetic ingredients which way should one go for effective skincare and healthy skin?
The right and most effective is a right balance. The only way to effective skin care and healthy skin is by taking constant care of it depending on the already mentioned factors of which lifestyle forms the most important factor. Just by using all of the kitchen ingredients problems like acne, dullness, and pigmentation aren’t going to be taken care of. One needs to know when to go botanical and when synthetic ingredients are required.  Proper exercise, good  diet and constantly hydrating yourself will lead to healthy skin and overall wellbeing.

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