Ever noticed how your perfectly normal skin resembles a greaseball in the monsoon months, or how your face feels flaky, dry and uncomfortably tight when there’s a nip in the air and your heater is cranked up high? Think your wardrobe is the only thing that changes with season? Turns out, your skin and its needs also change when the weather soars or dips. The climate can control your skin and its many moods, making it important for you to recognise these changes and shift to appropriate products and routines. Now that we are well into summer and have the monsoons to look forward to next, the time for a skincare switch up is nigh. We spoke to Dr Abhijit Desai, founder of the Skinsense Clinic, to help us with the transition.
“First and foremost, the most common factor between the two seasons of summer and monsoon is humidity. The actual transition starts when winter season starts receding, and summer (followed by the monsoons) sets in. The weather in winter is dry, but the humidity factor in summers and monsoons causes skin to sweat more and become oilier. So people with dry skin are not really affected. But those with oily and combination skin start facing problems of extra oiliness, resulting in an increased number of breakouts and worsening of their existing acne. People with sensitive skin, irrespective of winter, summer or monsoon, have to be very specific in their skincare routine as far as selection of their skincare products are concerned,” he explains. Ahead, Dr Desai elaborates more on the products you need to invest in for the seasonal switch.
How to pick the right summer skincare products for each skin type
If you have normal/dry skin
If you have dry or normal to dry skin, you require less moisturiser come summer and monsoon because of the humidity. Instead of a rich cream, start applying lighter moisturisers more frequently during these seasons, and continue using a gentle, non-drying cleanser that hydrates skin twice a day. Everyone knows and understands the importance of sunscreens during summer, so for your daily sun protection, opt for sunscreens that are gel- or cream-based to avoid the side effects of a scorching sun. But what people at large are unaware and guilty of is skipping sunscreen in monsoon, because they think they don’t need one since it is dull and cloudy outside, and the sun is not so strong. But fact is that the harmful effects of UV rays are equally potent even during cloudy, dull weathers, and can cause potential damage to your skin. Make sunscreen non-negotiable and use it around the year irrespective of the season. Our recommendations: Bioderma’s Photoderm Max cream or the Venusia cream/lotion.
If you have oily/combination skin
People with oily or combination skin types face a real uphill task of taking care of their skin during the months of summer and monsoon, because humidity wreaks havoc on their complexions. They have to diligently devote themselves to keeping their face clean throughout the day to keep the increased oiliness under control. Use cleansers with salicylic acid at least thrice a day to keep the skin free of unwanted oiliness and to keep the pores clean. Apply light, water-or gel-based moisturisers that are non-comedogenic but adequately hydrate the skin—anything rich or oil-based will clog your pores and make existing acne worse. Even the sunscreens you use should be gel- or water-based to ensure they are not clogging pores. Incorporate exfoliating in your skincare routine but don’t overindulge—scrubs are most sought after in these climactic conditions, but an excess of anything is never considered as good skincare. We suggest limiting the use of scrubs to once or twice a week at best. Don’t know what to use? Reach for ISDIN Fotoprotector Dry Touch or Bioderma Sebium Hydra for effective results.
If you have sensitive skin
Individuals with sensitive skin have to be careful of their skin year around, no matter the temperature or climate. Use gentle, pH balanced cleansers that are tolerated well by sensitive skin to wash your face. These ensure that the skin doesn’t become overtly dry while still keeping the sweat and oiliness under control. Use a thermal spring water mist to calm any rash or reactions that appear out of nowhere. If you suffer from rosacea, opt for anti-redness moisturising creams—they do wonders in keeping the skin free of redness and irritation during summers. I would advise using non-comedogenic, physical sunscreens for sensitive skins. As a rule, sensitive skin types should avoid alcohol or artificial fragrances in any of the products they use. The Cetaphil Gentle Cleanser and Uriage Thermal Spring Water will work well for you.
The body care tips to keep in mind during the summer
Apart from the face, the rest of the body also faces challenges during summers and monsoons. Prickly heat or heat rashes are very common because of the excessive sweating and oiliness, resulting in clogging of sweat glands. Fungal infections are also very common in these seasons, as sweaty skin becomes an ideal medium for fungus to set in. For both these conditions, I would advise taking frequent, cold showers throughout the day—if you can’t tolerate hot water, you can shower with lukewarm water as well. Using anti-fungal powder to keep the fungus-prone areas dry is also recommended. Wear 100 per cent cotton or linen garments as they absorb the sweat and keep the body cool and dry. If you’re an active person who works out in the gym or runs outside, chances are you prefer non-cotton athletic gear that doesn’t absorb sweat and keeps you dry. But it pays to note that moisture-wicking fabrics don’t let the skin breathe, and more often than not, give you rashes and fungal infections—so try to embrace cotton clothes.
Foot care is also very crucial during monsoons too. Dry your feet after washing them, and if you come into contact with dirty rain water, clean the area as soon as possible with a combination of lukewarm water and an antiseptic solution—the dirty ground can make your feet susceptible to fungal and bacterial infections. Use antibacterial and anti-fungal soaps to clean the hands and feet, change your footwear every couple of days and if you wear closed shoes, use fresh pure cotton socks daily to keep everything clean.