Monsoon Skin Problems

 Shahnaz Husain

Among the organs of the body, the skin is one of the first to bear the brunt of changing seasons. When humidity is high, it can pose a problem, especially for oily skins. Sweat and oil secretions increase and these are deposited on the skin. An oily and sweaty skin also attracts more dirt and chemical pollutants. This can lead to eruptions, like pimples and rash, if the skin is oily. An acne condition can also get aggravated during the hot and humid season.

Daily cleansing and skin care, with appropriate products, is the only way of protecting the skin from eruptions and oily-skin conditions. The pores must be kept free of hardened oil and the oiliness of the skin surface must be reduced. If the skin is oily, an astringent toner should be used after cleansing. Wipe the face with it, using cotton wool. Some home ingredients can also be used. Rose water can be mixed with cucumber juice and applied on the face to reduce oiliness. Or, mix rose water and witch hazel in equal quantities and apply on the face. Witch hazel may be available at a pharmacy. Night-time cleansing is a must, to remove the pollutants that have been deposited on the skin during the day.

Avoid washing your face too often with soap and water. If there is rash, pimples or acne, the face should be washed with a medicated soap, or medicated cleanser twice a day, morning and night. You may wash the face several times a day with plenty of plain water. You can also apply a rose based skin toner, or rose water mixed with witch hazel. I would recommend the use of a rose or lavender based skin tonic, which should be used to wipe the face, using cotton wool pads. This not only completes the cleansing procedure, but also helps to close the pores and restore the normal balances. It is better not to use harsh astringent lotions, as these can lead to acute dryness of the outermost layer, giving the skin a wrinkled appearance. If you buy an astringent lotion, mix two parts of astringent with one part rose water and keep in a tightly closed bottle in the fridge.

Preventing blackheads helps in the prevention of acne. If there are blackheads, a facial scrub should be used on the blackhead-prone areas. But do not apply scrubs on acne, pimples or rash. Mix rice powder with rose water. Apply it on the areas with blackheads daily. Rub gently on the skin with circular movements. Leave on for 5 minutes and wash off with water. This can be done after cleansing in the morning. The scrub can also be applied on open pores and the marks left by acne.

Stubborn blackheads should be removed at a skin-care clinic, by a trained therapist, using proper methods. Pinching blackheads, or trying to remove them at home, not only leads to infection, but also scarring. Avoid touching the face, without washing your hands and never pick or pinch blackheads and pimples.

If the skin is oily and prone to eruptions, avoid the use of oily creams and moisturizers. If there is dryness of the skin, it is usually a superficial dryness of the outermost layer. For this, mix together a little honey and lemon juice and apply daily. Honey is a natural moisturizer and suits all skin types, including acne prone skin.

In warm humid weather, wash the face often with plain water, to wash away sweat and oil deposits.

Apply sandalwood paste on eruptions. Or, mix sandalwood with a little rose water and apply on the entire face. Wash off with plain water after 20 to 30 minutes.

Mix cinnamon (dalchini) powder and methi seed powder with a little lemon juice and a few drops of honey into a sticky paste. Apply only on the acne daily and leave it on for one or two hours.

Take a handful of neem leaves and simmer on very low fire in 4 cups of water for one hour. Leave overnight. Next morning, strain and use the water to wash the face. Make a paste on the leaves and apply on the face.

In cases of severe acne, wash pillow covers and towel daily in warm soapy water, after adding 2 teaspoons antiseptic solution to the water.

Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water daily. Add the juice of a lemon to a glass of warm water and have it first thing in the morning. Include fresh fruits, raw salads, sprouts, whole grains and curd in your daily diet.

The author is international repute beauty expert