BENGALURU: Breezy evenings with a slight chill, perfect to gaze at the rain with a steaming cup of coffee in hand. But the damp side of the monsoon is the increased humidity causing fungal infections, acne vulgaris, dry and frizzy hair, ringworm infections, athletes foot, and eczema, among a host of other issues. The pandemic, which has necessitated the use of masks, gloves and sometimes PPEs, has added to the problem.
Although frequent washing or sanitising of hands is a key requirement now, excessive soap, water, or ethanol disrupts the hydrolipid mantle of the skin, causing irritation, eczema and dryness. “Long-term use of gloves can cause blockage of blood vessels and hyperhydration of the epidermis that can, in some cases, lead to maceration and erosion of skin. It can also lead to fungal infections and contact dermatitis. Here, application of protective moisturisers is crucial,” says Dr Mikki Singh, dermatologist, BodyCraft Spa and Salon. Ideally, a moisturiser with a pump and a small nozzle should be used, to avoid contamination of the product.
Constant use of masks puts pressure on the skin and decreases aeration, making the skin oily and sweaty. This can lead to allergic reaction, eczema, pressure blisters, acne breakouts, and rashes. “Wiping your face once in a while with face-friendly antibacterial wipes would help. For people who develop such issues, it is better to switch to cloth masks. Using a water-based moisturiser is ideal to avoid acne breakouts,” says Singh.
Agrees Dr Shireen Furtado, dermatologist, Aster CMI Hospital, who cautions against using wet masks or wearing wet clothes.”One should ensure that the masks are kept dry. The dampness can precipitate infections on the parts covered with the mask. Wash the face with a mild cleanser and dry it using a soft cloth,” she says. The use of steroid-containing antifungal creams not only lengthen the infection period but also cause dependence and stretch marks and skin thinning at the site of application, she adds.
Spending countless hours in front of screens can also lead to skin damage from blue light. Which is why Shankar Prasad, founder, Pureplay Skin Sciences, a beauty and grooming company, suggests including ample antioxidants in the diet (bright coloured fruits and vegetables), and in skincare products (Vitamin E and Vitamin C). “This will help protect skin from free radical damage that can lead to dark spots and other aberrations. We should get at least 15-20 minutes of sun exposure a day,” he says, adding that drinking enough water is a must. “For men, itchy skin in the beard area can be a common issue. Using a gentle wash and a lightweight cream or oil is recommended,” he says.
- Moisturise your skin using the right type of product.
- Use sunscreen during the monsoon and while wearing a mask. The sun’s rays can penetrate clothing as well.
- Dry your feet completely before wearing footwear and make sure your clothes are completely dry before you wear them.
- Watch out for symptoms related to fungal infections, especially on your feet. Clean and dry your feet every night before sleeping. If you are diabetic, feet care is of prime importance.
- Use excessively hot water while taking a shower or washing your face. It will stripe away essential oil present naturally on the skin, adding to dryness.
- Self-medicate. Always consult a dermatologist before using any medication.
- Share your skin products with anyone in order to avoid contamination.
(By Dr Mikki Singh, dermatologist, BodyCraft Spa and Salon)