Thursday, October 31, 2019

Skincare tips to beat Diwali pollution: Doctors tell you how to make it healthy again

Skincare tips to beat Diwali pollution: Doctors tell you how to make it healthy again

The post-Diwali air is apocalyptic in most cities, with Delhi leading the list. How to save your skin from the pollution? Doctors have the easiest skincare tips for you.

Ways to protect your skin from air pollution Photo: Reuters

Diwali is over. The pollution that the festival has left in its wake is all we are left with now. The smog and the deteriorating air quality affect us in ways that we cannot even fathom.

You must have realised, right after Diwali, your skin gets irritated and the itching begins. Your skin becomes drier than usual.

Skin being the largest organ in the body, gets affected the most. But worry not, spoke to dermatologists Dr Shehla Agarwal and Dr Geetika Mittal to tell you how you can save yourselves and your skin from the harmful effects of air pollution.

Let us first understand how the skin is affected by all the pollution. Dr Mittal says, "Your skin goes through increased sebum (oil) production; it can also be in the form of increased dehydration and your skin might also suffer from reduced skin defence."

Dr Agarwal said that pollution can make your skin sensitive, resulting in burning, stinging, prickling, itching or a tight-feeling along with intolerance to cosmetics and shaving products. She also said, "Sensitive skin is not restricted to the face but also present at other locations, mainly the hands, and often the scalp and feet."

She said, "Pollutant particles accumulated on the skin surface not only damage the skin barrier but also diminishes the skin radiance. It further increases skin irritation and sensitivity which amplifies skin ageing due to collagen matrix breakdown and brown spots."


The doctors gave us a lot of tips which are quite easy to incorporate in our daily life.

1. If you live in an area known for smog and air pollution, make it a habit to listen to the weather forecast. On foggy days with poor air quality conditions, wear long-sleeved shirts when you go outdoors and get scarves to cover your hair so they do not dry out. This will help keep air pollution particles off your skin.

2. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter and vacuum regularly to clean up particles of dust that settle in on your carpet and on other household surfaces.

3. Keep air conditioner filters clean so that they can trap pollutants that try getting indoors. Put on sunscreen before going out, even in winter.

4. Morning time is pollen-load time as flowers open at around 5 to 6 in the morning. On cloudy days, move your morning walk time to after 8am or even better, go for evening walks.

5. To fight clogged pores, blackheads and blemishes, exfoliation once or twice a week can help. To get rid of these dead skin cells for a healthy-looking skin, use a peel-off mask once a week as it removes dead cells without abrading the skin.

6. Use pollution-defying essence or serums rich in L-ascorbic acid and other antioxidants like Vitamin E, which helps build a skin defence system.

7. Keep a facial mist at hand. And spray frequently to keep your skin fresh and hydrated.

8. Moisturise with creams that have beeswax, niacinamide, glycerin and lanolin that help preserve your skin barrier.

9. Pamper your skin with skin-sheet masks, or you can also hydrate your skin overnight with masks to repair the damage.

10. Use an air purifier with a humidifier at home and at the workplace to lessen the effects of pollution.

11. Eat your greens and drink a lot of fluids rich in antioxidants.

12. Your lips need protection too. Exfoliate with a mild sugar scrub and use lip balm with beeswax and SPF 15 protection.

13. Cover your hair when stepping out to avoid particulate build-up. Deep conditioning and hot-oil treatments nourish and protect your hair. Avoid chemical hair treatments and blow-drying.

14. Use hair and skin supplements rich in biotin, vitamins and minerals.

15. Eat jaggery and Vitamin C-rich food and fruits.


We also asked Dr Geetika Mittal if there are any natural remedies or any masks that can be made at home to help the skin with air pollution and she suggested a few. She said, "Clay-based masks with hydrating properties can help replenish the skin with nutrients. Also, curd (rich in pre and probiotics) mixed with honey, lemon juice and a pinch of turmeric can help."

She added, "Curd hydrates and also replenishes the skin bacteria. Honey hydrates, while lemon juice is rich in Vitamin C, it removes the tan. Turmeric works as a detoxifier and an antibiotic that removes allergies and bacteria. Even cool sheet masks can help in soothing the skin and hydrate."


Dr Agarwal is all for SPF. She said, "Even on cloudy days, your skin can be affected by UV rays which can damage skin and cause premature ageing. So make sure you're protected. Use SPF 15-20 moisturiser."

Dr Mittal said, "SPF works as a physical barrier. There are sunblocks with anti-pollution properties available now, which stop dust from getting inside the skin pores.

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