By Ravina Rawal For Men's Life Today
The weather's getting all hot and smoggy, and you're wondering how your skin deals with the pollution our cities seem to be breathing under. Common sense tips certainly include the basics – like drinking lots of water, getting some exercise, a healthy diet and enough sleep. But you definitely need a few extra tools to win the battle against clogged pores, increasing acne and photo-aging! Here are five of the best:
Use a mild cleanser on your face at least twice daily. “If your skin is excessively oily, try a cleanser with salicylic acid, and use a toner to temporarily battle large open pores,” recommends Dr. Narmada Matang, Head Medical Operations for Kaya Skin Clinic India. “Also, what you may not know is that the contact time of the cleanser makes a difference. Use your fingertips and keep the cleanser on for just 30 seconds before rinsing it off again. The product may be mild, but you can dry out your skin if you leave it on too long.” Oh, and if you've got baby-soft sensitive skin, you may want to try a non-foaming face cleanser. Dr. Matang also recommends a using a scrub on your face once a week. And if you have the time for facials, they’re great every six weeks or so to tackle clogged pores, blackheads and dead skin, allowing shiny younger skin to come through, resulting in a great glow.
2. Get a Great Shave
There’s nothing like a smooth shave to make your skin feel good and look even better. But instead of hurrying through it every morning, take the time to prepare your facial skin first. Start by opening up your pores, to make the shave smoother. If you shave in the shower, your pores are already prepped. If not, soak a towel in warm water and apply it to your skin for at least a minute. Next up: shaving cream. Remember to leave this on your stubble for a good two minutes so it has time to work, and you don’t end up with razor burn. When you’re done, wash up with cold water to close your pores, and pat dry.
3. And Then, Moisturise
You must moisturise after shaving. The beard area is especially prone to folliculitis and dryness, so moisturising needs to become an essential part of your daily routine if you want your girlfriend to go gaga over your soft skin. Can’t bear the grease? Try a water-based moisturiser.
4. Seal + Protect: Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen
This is our TOP tip. One of those slightly painful, but absolutely essentially additions to your morning routine. Shave, shower… sunscreen. “The most important thing you have to remember about protecting photo aging of the skin, is that the earlier you start the better, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors” says New Delhi-based consultant dermatologist Dr. Sanjiv Kandhari. He believes you should be using sunscreen irrespective of your age or season (it is just as important to protect yourself in the winter as it is in the summer). Get a good sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15, with both UVA and UVB protection. Slather it on every morning, and if you’re going to be outdoors a lot, reapply it every two-three hours. “There is a new finding that indicates that not only are UVA and UVB rays harmful, but also visible light,” says Kandhari. “They’re not available in India yet, but top skincare brands have started introducing sunscreens that covers the whole spectrum, including visible light.”
5. Look Hot, Stay Cool
An often-neglected area on the face is the skin around the eyes. If you don’t want to end up with those fine crinkly lines that we call ‘crow’s feet’, invest in a pair of large and funky sunglasses, and you’re good to go!
Ravina Rawal is the editor-in-chief of youth magazine MTV Noise Factory, and has contributed to many of India's best-known lifestyle publications, from Cosmopolitan to India Today Travel Plus. She lives mostly in New Delhi, and sometimes in Mumbai. Follow her on Twitter @RavinaRawal