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Revealed: The secret to a healthy, glowing skin

Last updated on: August 19, 2014 17:23 IST

Revealed: The secret to a healthy, glowing skin

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Divya Nair/Rediff.com

Bollywood's favourite skin doctor Dr Rashmi Shetty gets candid about the effectiveness of fairness creams, the myths surrounding skin care and tells us what one must do in order to age gracefully. Read on

Mumbai-based Dr Rashmi Shetty is the skin care expert to celebrities like Nargis Fakhri, Sania Mirza and Suriya to name a few.

In her book Age Erase: Your Ultimate Beauty Bible to Ageing Gracefully, the dermatologist and aesthetic cosmetologist talks about the different ways you can nurture a healthy, glowing skin for life.

If you haven't read the book yet, you can read an excerpt here!

Ahead of the release of her book, we'd asked Dr Shetty over e-mail to tell us what each of us can do to keep skin problems at bay and she obliged.

Read on for her expert take on fairness creams, moisturisers and herbal products…

How to fix common skin problems

Most Indian men and women suffer from tanning, and patchy skin tone. This happens because most of us are still not very careful about using sunscreen, which leads to tanning.

Sun damage on skin also leads to deposition of excessive melanin (your skin's pigment) in certain areas, which makes your skin look patchy and dull.

Due to the hot and humid climate in our country, many suffer from greasy skin, and acne.

The best way to deal with these two issues is to keep your skin very clean by using a skin-type-appropriate face wash or a cleanser.

Use sunscreen regularly, even if you are not going out in the sun.  

To fight greasy skin, use water-based moisturiser that also controls excess sebum production on your skin.

If acne is too aggravated, I suggest you visit a dermatologist for professional care.

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Image: Do you fancy a skin like Nargis Fakhri's?
Photographs: Rediff Archives

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How to have a lighter skin tone

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Not all fairness creams give you effective results.

The effectiveness of a fairness cream depends on the amount of 'key actives' added to the cream.

Fairness creams have ingredients like licorice, kojic acid etc which lighten your skin tone. They work by blocking excessive melanin production that takes place in your skin as a defence against UV rays.

When you start using a skin lightening product, know that your complexion depends on your genes.

If you are genetically meant to be dusky, then no amount of fairness creams can make you really fair.

You can expect your skin tone to become at most two shades lighter, and skin will look clearer, and even.

However the moment you stop using those products, your skin will go back to its original colour.

To get really good results, my advice is to seek professional help from a skin doctor.

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Image: Fairness creams can only do so much for your skin tone.
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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Say goodbye to skin problems

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Pimples

  • Try the yeast and lemon juice paste.
  • Mix the two with little water and apply on the spot.
  • Leave for ten minutes and wash off.
  • The pimple will come down.
  • You may also boil tulsi or basil in water, reduce, and leave it to cool.
  • Use this after washing your face to ward off oiliness and impending acne.

Acne

  • As you enter puberty, you will notice that you break out.
  • For some it is an occasional event, for others it can be a chronic condition.
  • Acne is caused when your pores get clogged with dead skin, dirt, and excessive oil.
  • Acne can present itself as whiteheads, blackheads, or pus filled pimples.
  • It usually develops in the central area of the cheeks and on the forehead, and it's almost universally caused by a hormone imbalance or a hypersensitivity to the robust hormonal activity going on the body during this time.
  • Stress during this time can also aggravate this condition.
  • Treatments with benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid works well.
  • However, if you have a serious case of acne, please visit a dermatologist for proper medical help.

Tanning

  • To revive skin after being out in the sun try rosewater and milk pack.
  • Mix some chilled milk with rosewater and apply one the areas.
  • Leave on for few minutes, and wash off with cold water. Skin will be soothed and calmed instantly.
  • The lactic acid in milk also fights tan from settling on the skin. 

Patchy skin

  • To rejuvenate patchy skin and dark under eye area, grate half a cucumber and mix with yoghurt and apply all over face, neck and even hands.
  • Leave it on for 15 minutes or so and then rinse.

Oily skin

  • To fight greasy, oily skin, apply sandalwood paste.
  • Leave it on for a while the wash off with tap water. Your skin will glow. 

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Image: Juice of lemon and yeast does wonders for your skin.
Photographs: Rediff Archives
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Best foods for skin: What you must eat

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Nutrients are very important for healthy skin and hair, which you can get only from a balanced diet.

Protein

Protein is something you have to have. They are fundamental components of all living cells.

Protein is the key element in our skin and hair make-up.

Eat eggs, fish, lentils or even two Threptin biscuits.

Fat

The other important thing is fat.

For the sake of your skin have two spoons of oil of your choice.

You can try some of the new oil blends that are available in the market -- olive oil, rice bran oil, which have Omega-3 and HDL necessary for healthy body.

The other favourite is ghee, which is fantastic for your skin and joints when you don't cook it.

So is coconut oil.

A great way to include ghee in your diet is to put a spoonful in your rice, dal/sambar, vegetables or even your chapattis.

Additional supplements

Some of the supplements that you can take on a daily basis to improve your total health and your skin and hair are anti-oxidant pills, a good multi-vitamin, a fish oil capsule to get your dose of Omega 3, evening primrose oil, vitamin E, calcium, iron, Vitamins D3 and B12.

Try unpolished rice and dals, walnut, flaxseed, peanut butter, fish oil, fresh fruits and green vegetables for great skin.

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Image: As long as you don't cook it, ghee is fantastic for your skin.
Photographs: Chiots Run/Creative Commons

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How much make-up is good for your skin?

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Myth: Makeup is bad for skin

Truth: If you use the right product matching your skin type then makeup is good for your skin. Some of the products you get today, also contain some skin-friendly ingredients.

However what is bad is not taking the makeup off at night before going to bed.

Avoid using expired makeup products as it can affect your skin.

Myth: All natural products are good for you.

Truth: Not necessarily. Even natural products contain acids and minerals which can react with your skin. You might be genetically allergic to them.

Whether naturally sourced or lab synthesised, you have to be aware of the actives that go into a product.

Even so-called 'herbal products' have some chemicals that stabilise the actives and increase their shelf life.

Myth: People with oily skin do not need moisturisers.

Truth: All skin types need moisturisers. The thickness or rather the richness of it all depends on the skin type, lifestyle and ambient conditions.

If you have dry skin, go for a heavier , creamy moisturiser with ingredients like vitamin E.

But if you have oily skin you would stick to lighter, lotions or milk form with may be AHAs (alpha hydroxy acis) and BHAs (beta hydroxy acids).

If you have skin dripping with oil you will still need a hydrant, may be in the form of a mist.

If you keep oily skin completely away from any hydrants or moisturisers and keep washing them often, you will drive it towards over sensitivity and rebound increase in sebum production, thus worsening the situation.

Hydration along with the right amount of moisture helps skin heal better. 

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Image: Check for the ingredients of your cosmetic product before you start using them.
Photographs: Sergio Perez/Reuters
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Skin care routine you must follow

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Follow these simple tips to make your skin glow like ever:

  • Most women forget to cleanse their face at night properly. This is a must if you want to have clear and glowing skin.
  • No matter how tired you are, you must remove makeup and dirt from your skin with a makeup remover and a face wash.
  • After washing, use a serum or a night cream to keep it supple.
  • Avoid over washing or over scrubbing your skin with exfoliators that have big granules. That can really hurt your skin, and cause scars.
  • Your daily skincare regime should have a cleansing routine, moisturising your skin well, and using sun protection. Using the right cleanser is also important.
  • What you need to do is get the right skin care ingredient even in your cleanser. 
  • You can use cream cleanser if you have a dry or sensitive skin.
  • If you have ace-prone oily skin then pick a face wash with salicylic acid, or benzoyl peroxide or tea tree oil.
  • If your skin looks dull then try a face wash with small exfoliating granules it has a gentle scrubbing action.
  • Once your skin is clean, use a good day or night cream depending on the time of the day.
  • If you want to give more to your skin in terms of treating a specific issue then use a serum as well.
  • Sunscreen is one of the most important skincare products you need to use in life. You need to apply sunscreen all the time.
  • Start with a diet that is rich in essential fatty acids. 
  • EFAs are responsible for skin repair, moisture content, and overall flexibility. 
  • Dry, inflamed skin or skin that suffers from the frequent appearance of whiteheads or blackheads can benefit from supplementing with essential fatty acids (EFAs). 
  • Try to add Omega 3 fatty acid to your diet, since it moisturises your skin giving it a healthy glow from inside. Include walnuts, flaxseed and peanut butter in your diet.
  • Try and get at least seven hours of sleep every night. A deep slumber is nature’s best defence against skin aging. 
  • Keep your skin clean and well moisturised from the outside with an appropriate skin product. 

Image: Even if you're not going out in the sun, use a sunscreen.
Photographs: Courtesy Beach Bunny 2013 Bronze ad campaign
Tags: Omega

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