Whether your skin is oily, dry, normal, combination, or sensitive, we're all here for one thing, and one thing only — we want to learn how to take care of our skin. While there are a gazillion products out there that promise to do wonderful things, figuring out how to take care of our particular skin is probably one of the toughest things to accomplish. However, it is one of the most important things that you need to do, because taking care of your skin is vital, especially in the long run; a few bad moves, and you could end up looking like you aged ten years, even if you've just turned 30.
We wanted to get the lowdown on how to take care of skin, regardless of skin type, and that's why we reached out to Dr. Divya Sharma, a renowned dermatologist about the importance of taking care of skin. "Skin is the largest organ in the body and a reflection of our inner health," says Dr. Divya Sharma. "It's very important to take care of skin since it's not only a barrier against external agents like sun, humidity, temperature changes, and infectious agents, its immune system is also designed to protect us. If we don't take care of our skin, even the inside of our body gets affected."
It's true what they say that beauty goes beyond the surface level; to properly take care of our skin, first of all, we need to build a healthy skincare routine that isn't just about following a few steps — it's about understanding what your skin truly needs. And we're guessing you're here because you want to learn how to take care of your skin on the whole. Regardless of your skin type, we've got a few steps that'll help you take care of your skin day in and day out, so read on.
Cleansing is the most important step of any skincare ritual! Cleanse your face twice a day, and when you do, avoid face washes that make your skin feel squeaky clean. That feeling may make you think your skin is clean, but it can strip your skin of its natural oils. And if you're concerned about what kind of face wash to use for your particular skin type, here's what Dr. Divya Sharma has to say. "If you have a dry skin type, you can use a non-soapy cleanser. If you have oily, or combination skin, you should go for AHA or BHA-based cleansers," she shares. "Mandelic acid is my choice for sensitive skin. For extremely oily and acne-prone skin, you can use glycolic acid or salicylic acid at times."
Exfoliation is key to maintaining healthy skin. By scrubbing your face of all dirt, impurities, and grime, exfoliation manages to improve the appearance of your skin, and is great especially if your skin is acne-prone. Says Dr. Sharma, "Do exfoliate, but avoid rubbing your skin vigorously. Don't use brushes or massagers on your face. You can consult your dermatologist and get a chemical exfoliant, depending on your skin type and condition."
03. Use Sunscreen
If you're still not using sunscreen, well, it’s time you did. Using sunscreen is a vital step to taking care of the skin, since it prevents sun damage and the consequences of it in the long run — from sunburn, to skin diseases. Plus, it keeps your skin looking youthful too! And Dr. Sharma agrees. According to her, "Never forget to apply your sunscreen, even if you're indoors! Along with the sun rays, visible light and infrared light can cause pigmentation too."
Even if you don't see the effects immediately, don't get disheartened. This is all about the long term, and if you take care of your skin, you'll see incredible effects over time. This holds true, especially for maintaining youthful-looking skin when you're older. On how taking care of skin helps with ageing, Dr. Divya Sharma says, "So we have to understand that ageing is of two types — one is intrinsic, where one can't really help it.
We can try to arrest the progression. The other is extrinsic ageing, which means that sometimes the skin ages faster due to sunlight or radiation exposure. In the current times, it's the screens — your laptops, your mobile phones — causing the radiation burden on the skin."
She continues, "Stress also accelerates the ageing of the skin, it is very important we inculcate healthy skin habits from a young age. Habits like wearing sunscreen both indoors and outdoors, like avoiding over-exfoliation, and making sure our diet contains antioxidants.
This can go a long way in ensuring we don't get hyperpigmentation, pimples, dullness, and wrinkles." Now that you know why it's important to take care of the skin, let's try and figure out how to go about it and how to set goals for achieving the skin of your dreams. We all tend to be a little careless with our skincare routine at times, but this isn't always for the best. In order to have healthy looking skin, you need to follow your skincare routine rigorously.
"A common skin goal for all skin types is actually an even skin tone and glowing skin. It's achievable, not only with ointments, products, and procedures, but it is also a reflection of our inner health," explains Dr. Divya Sharma. "It's impossible for us to attain flawless skin; as I mentioned, skin is a reflection of your inner health. There will be times in life — such as acne in pregnancy, or too much sun exposure during a beach holiday — where your skin will change."
"An uneven skin tone is generally indicative of nutritional deficiencies, lack of hydration, lack of sun protection. Glowing skin is the best marker for inner health," she further adds. "So if you notice your skin getting dull, question the products you use, question the lifestyle you have, question your sleep time, and question your lack of sun protection."
And while having a select few products in your roster can definitely make a difference in the way your skin looks, we need to remember that taking care of skin is more of a holistic process. As Dr. Divya Sharma mentioned, your skin is a reflection of your inner health — so if you're not taking care of your body, your skin isn't going to reflect that. Read on for all the holistic ways to take care of skin.
04. Improve Your Diet
You know we had to go there! What you put in your body is going to reflect on your body, so if you're all about that junk food life where you eat unhealthy food, maybe it's time to give it a rest. "Sugar is the enemy of good skin!" exclaims Dr. Divya Sharma. "Avoid sugar, avoid high glycemic foods, have a low-carb, high-protein diet. Your diet should have a lot of antioxidants, like vegetables, vitamin C, and coloured foods like beetroots, fresh fruits, nuts, and seeds."
She further suggests, "Walnut is a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, and then we have a whole variety of seeds now. They not only improve iron, but are good sources of micronutrients like magnesium, selenium, and protein. Aim to eat at regular intervals, and aim to have a balanced diet. Keep your consumption of carbs to 40% of your diet — the rest should be protein and healthy fats."
Working out can make you sweat, and make you look and feel great. When it comes to skincare, it increases the blood flow, and nourishes skin cells to keep them vital. Plus, the increased blood flow helps carry all the waste on the skin cells away, meaning you can naturally get better skin in the long run. BRB while we schedule our morning run after 5 months of procrastination!
Stress and a hectic lifestyle may make you feel like a true-blue hustling millennial, but honestly? The effects it can have on your body are not worth it. Now, we're not saying quit your day job and move to the French Riviera. (Although the offer sounds tempting!) We're merely suggesting that every now and then, chill out a little! De-stress with whatever activity you find the most stress-free — in fact, it could be as simple as putting on a face mask! Your skin — and your body — will thank you for it, and you'll feel so much better.