Experts weigh in on how the summer season is as damaging to the hair as it is to the skin and provide solutions
While it is common knowledge that the harsh summer sun can damage your skin, it is also known to damage your hair as well. From sweaty scalp to frizzy hair, we come across various hair related problems that require an elaborate and diligent care routine, much like skincare.
Dermatologist and founder of Zolie skin clinic, Dr Nirupama Parwanda, explain that in summer the hair tends to get greasy due to sweating, which may lead to dandruff, while some may even experience hair loss.
“It is important to clean the scalp thoroughly with anti-inflammatory or anti-dandruff lotion. Even due to UV exposure, one needs to put up a barrier in terms of oiling the scalp for a certain period of time and then washing it off, in order to overcome the damage that could have happened with the sun exposure,” says Dr Parwanda.
The dermatologist further emphasizes that with the ongoing lockdown people tend to compromise a lot in skin and hair care routines, hence making it all the more important to step up our game. “In the long term, this could precipitate inflammatory disorder on the scalp and cause shedding,” she warns.
According to Melroy Dickson, General Manager, Matrix India, one can sail through the humidity and restore their beautiful tresses with a little extra care. “The harsh Indian summers are known to make your hair parched. Wash away all the excess oil and sweat build-up with a good cleansing shampoo. Always follow-up with a good conditioner to restore the lost moisture and finish with an all-in-one serum that helps protects against humidity and combats frizz,” he lists, adding that daily water intake is a must irrespective of the products one uses.
Since under lockdown, Dr Parwands suggests making a hair mask using supplied from our kitchen. “Make a solution of yogurt and eggs as these are agents that form a barrier on the scalp and protect from any type of damage. It is like moisturizing your scalp and putting a protective layer over hair,” she says. She further advises including anti-oxidant rich fruit in one’s diet as it helps to easily fight the free radical damage that could occur to the hair.
Love thy hands
Experts advise taking extra care of your hands, which are seeing increased exposure to harsh detergents while cleaning
The ongoing lockdown has everyone getting comfortable with household chores like washing dishes and mopping. While some find solace in doing these menial tasks, for some, it comes with harsh, dry, and peeling skin.
“Dishwashing soap or detergents are higher concentrations than the normal handwash soap as it contains sulphate, which is known to dry the skin and strips the hands from producing natural oils,” says Menka Kripalani, cosmetologist and founder, Nicci Skincare, adding, “People with sensitive skin should avoid using hot water as it dehydrates the skin faster, making for double dehydration.”
Though one can wear gloves for an easy solution, experts highly recommend moisturizing the hands on a regular basis. And keeping in mind the ongoing lockdown, dermatologist Dr. Nivedita Dadu suggests using whatever is readily available at home instead of making a trip to the nearest store.
“Pluck an aloe vera leaf, extract the sap, and apply on your palms. This is also the time when we are cooking more than usual. Before cooking, just run a few drops of ghee on your palms to prevent damage from acidic vegetables that we cut like onions, potatoes, and tomatoes. Even almond, olive, or coconut oil will work,” lists Dr Dadu.
The dermatologist further suggests rubbing malai (milk cream) as a natural moisturizer in between your breaks from household activities. “If you feel much dryness in your hands, moisturize your palms with malai for 10 minutes while watching a movie or just reading a book. Then, rinse under water as milk cream is a good hydrating agent and rebuilds lost skin cells,” smiles Dr Dadu.
As far as scaling on the palm is concerned, cosmetologist Pooja Nagdev assures that it is nothing to worry about and happens only to extremely sensitive skin. In this case, she suggests putting talcum powder on the hands before wearing gloves. “That is if the hands sweat a lot, as the talcum will absorb it and not led to infection later. And after every contact with water, moisturize palms at least thrice a day to close the pores,” she instructs.
For better results, Dr Dadu advises covering hands with socks overnight after moisturizing. “If you can't do it all night, try it for an hour. This will increase absorption. Avoid this if you have sweaty palms, as it will increase irritation,” she says. And in case of cuts due to extreme dryness, dermatologists suggest applying turmeric as it is an antiseptic, and then cleaning it with coconut or almond oil instead of washing with water.
While moisturizing is necessary, Kripalani also advises exfoliating the hands using sugar. “One can rub away all the roughness with sugar or chickpea flour. Afterward, apply honey, either moisturize with it or apply like a pack on the hand. After washing, use coconut oil to moisturize hands and wipe with a towel so they don't become too greasy or sticky,” she says.
At the same time, one must also pay attention to nails that often turn yellow, become weak, or start to crack. Kripalani shares her mother's secret of applying a lot of lime juice on the nails to strengthen them, while Nagdev suggests rubbing coconut oil on the nails and cuticles for softening.
Feet are the most exposed and ignored part of the body when, in fact, they need special care just like our face
With warmer weather in full swing, experts suggest utilizing this quarantine period to keep your feet summer-ready. While sweaty and stinky feet are a common occurrence in this season, callus and cracks can cause tremendous pain.
According to experts, feet being the most exposed and ignored part of the body they need special care just like our face. “Because of the dry air in summers, our feet become dry too. People mostly come across the formation of fissures on their feet, an intense type of heel cracks. Even sweat or bad odour can lead to the formation of bacteria or fungal growth on the sole,” says dermatologist Lalita Arya.
Seema Nanda, cosmetologist and founder of Estetico-The Facial Bar, insists on adopting an easy pedicure ritual with pantry products and avoiding applying nail paint. “A day prior to the pedicure, wash your feet thoroughly with water before sleeping, apply a very heavy emollient like Vaseline or Boroline, and cover with socks,” she says.
In the morning, she suggests soaking the feet in lukewarm water infused with salt till the skin becomes soft. “Then scrape the dead skin off, as much as you can. You will be surprised that no matter how clean your feet are, the colour of the water will turn black. Keep a mixture of milk cream (malai) and sugar ready on the side. Remember, they both have to be in equal quantity,” the cosmetologist adds.
Once done scraping the dead skin, Nanda suggests drying the feet with a towel and rubbing the cream and sugar mixture till the skin absorbs the solution completely. “Milk cream has a bit of lactic in it and brings natural softness to the skin. First, emulsify it in your hand and then start massaging on your feet. After the scrubbing, wash your feet with normal tap water and apply moisturizer. Repeat this once a week,” she lists.
The experts further advise moisturizing the feet every night to prevent any infection. “We need to keep the skin hydrated in two ways: Internal and external. Internal by drinking a lot of water keeping the body hydrated and by applying cream or coconut oil at night,” says Arya.
Nanda insists on pampering the cuticles as well. “Take olive oil on cotton and rub on nails in a circular motion, nothing more is required and the shine comes in gradually,” she says.
Cosmetologist Menka Kripalani suggests covering the feet in plastic overnight after moisturizing as it will not absorb the moisture. “Since plastic doesn't soak the moisture from the skin, even if it gets on the plastic, it will be touching back, unlike when wearing socks. In the morning, the feet will feel baby soft skin,” she says, further advising changing footwear every six months for proper cushioning.
But since we are indoors, Arya reveals that rubbing lemon thrice a week on the sole will control the growth of bacteria as it has anti-bacterial properties.