All of us are born with perfect skin. Unfortunately, with the passing of time, only some of us can maintain a flawless complexion. Today, women desire a perfect skin and body but not many are prepared to put in work to achieve such a look. I am often amazed at the lack of knowledge among women who try and start a beauty routine only to end up creating a complete disaster for their skin. Little knowledge is dangerous. I have seen many women advise their friends, relatives, neighbours, etc., about how fabulous a certain product has been for them. However, it is important to understand that no two skin types are the same—a product that suits you might not necessarily be great for your best friend, and vice versa
Avoid experimenting with your skin because at times, the damage done is irreparable. I remember having met a young mother who kept insisting that her teenage daughter should regularly bathe with gram flour, fresh cream, and turmeric. Having just entered her teens and experiencing hormonal changes, this young lady’s skin was already secreting excess oil. The gram flour and fresh cream pack was too heavy for her skin to take, and she had an acne flare-up, which took several months to clear up. Cases like this are common and it is always better to consult a professional if you are not too sure about your skin type.
Before starting any skin-care regimen, it is important to understand your skin as all the products you use will be based on this knowledge. Besides this, what most people seem absolutely ignorant about are the many foes of the skin that one has to deal with on a daily basis. Today, let us identify these enemies so that you can be cautious about them in the future and will know how to protect your skin from them.
Shield yourself from UV rays
One of the most harmful effects of nature on the skin is caused by the sun—ultraviolet rays can dry up and damage the skin and is responsible for dehydrating it as well, causing the skin to shrivel and be prone to line and wrinkles.
Too much exposure to the sun can lead to premature wrinkling, hence long exposure to the sun must be avoided.
Women in Asian countries are at an advantage compared to their Western counterparts as their skin has more melanin—a pigment that is responsible for colour cells. Melanin is known to protect the skin against the sun’s strong rays. Freckles, pigmented spots, and patchiness all occur due to overexposure to the sun. Always protect the skin with sunscreen or oil. It is also a good idea to use fruit packs, which not only soothe the skin but also protect it, reducing sun tan and excess dryness. Use sunglasses, a sun cap, or an umbrella to avoid exposure to the sun.
Protect your skin from pollution
With rapid urbanisation, it is natural that the levels of dust and smoke will be on the rise. The air in most major cities is polluted by all kinds of chemicals that have damaging effects on the skin. One has to learn to protect the skin against environmental pollutants or else it will degenerate and age.
How many of us clean our faces at the end of the day? Do we see the film of dirt and grease being removed from our faces? Those of you who have not adopted the habit of cleansing should start now—it will shock you when you find out how much grime you have been living with over time.
Know harmful modern-day luxuries
Is it not uncommon for us to protect ourselves from the sweltering heat in a plush room with air-conditioning or to curl up in front of a heater to avoid the biting cold?
Though this may seem comfortable, too much of it can be dangerous. Artificial cooling and heating tends to dry up the skin and make it lose its natural moisture. This makes the skin look shriveled. Dry skin suffers the worst in such conditions.
Harsh soaps and detergents can also create problems for the skin, so protect your hands with rubber gloves while doing kitchen chores. Wearing a pair of gloves takes no time at all and is worth the effort as you will feel the difference in a short period of time, so much so that you will be wondering how you survived without them all these years.
Kick that butt right now
Consuming alcohol and smoking are habits that are on the increase these days, especially in metropolitan cities and among young women. These two major enemies not only affect the pallor of your skin but can also speed up the ageing process. If you do feel like you're in need of a smoke, restrict it to little rewards—after you have finished a hard day’s work, another post a meal when the craving is most. Such conscious restraints will help you curtail the habit.
Alcohol can wreak havoc on your skin and can make it look dull and lifeless. Try to restrict your drinks to a glass of wine, and take lighter drinks. A good way to reduce alcohol is to keep refilling your first drink with tonic water, juice, or just plain water. This will help you feel quite full before wanting a second drink, and your drink will last longer throughout the evening.
It's time to stress less
I find myself constantly telling women not to worry about their skin as that will only make things worse. Day-to-day tension and personal problems such as those related to work, kids, or finances have never been solved by worrying. In fact, it often leads to a feeling of ill-being. The sallow complexion and increasing pimples can often be a result of depression, tension, and stress. For your own sake, find the time to relax even if it is for half an hour a day. Put your feet up and play some music, fix yourself a cool cocktail, and just relax. There is nothing quite like being pampered.
With increasing stress due to excess competition in all age groups, there is bound to be a build-up of tension. I see eleven-year-olds cramming up their textbooks into bags as if it is going to be the end of the world if they do not excel in their next class test. I know of a twelve-year-old who spent 12 hours a day occupied in school-related tasks—commuting, studying, tuition, and homework. There was hardly any time to play or be just like 12 years olds I knew a long time ago. Thank God sense prevailed in her parents; she is now studying in boarding school in the hills with fresh air, lots of activities, and friends her own age, and is much happier and far more relaxed. Seriously, it is about time that we really started questioning ourselves about what we want out of life and whether the entire running around is really worth it, and where will it lead us if our minds and bodies become a total wreck.
As one grows older, the capacity to handle stress reduces. This is why it is important to learn to work out priorities and tackle problems one by one. Blood pressure, heart attack, insomnia, alopecia, recurrent ulcers, and obesity are some of the commonly-known terms today, and I think a major part of these is related to stress. Just stop for a while and you will find yourself to be a much more peaceful and happy human.
Get your diet back on track
Diet plays a major role in what your skin can look like and there is no way you are going to look stunning if you continue to eat all the forbidden items from the goodies store. Chocolates, ice creams, aerated drinks, fried foods, and rich gravies are an absolute no if you want your skin to survive. Too much tea and coffee can be harmful as it only increases toxins in the body.
Try to consume more raw foods, fruits, and vegetables, and you will be amazed at the power of food to keep your skin looking young and supple. Steamed and grilled meats can be a sensible replacement to fried foods and heavy gravy dishes, and vegetable soup and broth can be a substantial meal especially in the winter.
It is said that what you put into your life is what you get out of it, and I would like to reiterate that what you put into your skin, is what it reflects.
Say yes to an active lifestyle
No matter what people say about their rushed lifestyles, if you do not have the time to exercise even twenty minutes a day, it will definitely show on your skin. I used to be amazed at the radiant glow seen on women who have been on their feet the whole day and would work till the wee hours of the morning. I would wonder how they would do it and where they got their stamina from. It was not too difficult when I realised it was the miracle of their early morning brisk walks or jogs that did the trick, and you won’t believe how amazing it is and how good it can make you feel.
Not only does it help increase blood circulation, it also gives your skin a glow and makes you feel energetic. If you have not started already, set the alarm clock and start right away. You could keep your tracksuit and sneakers next to your bedside. Getting out of bed will be difficult at first but once you start, you will never want to stop.
Keep yourself hydrated
I like to call this the skin’s aphrodisiac, but I am afraid not many people believe in the miraculous cure of water. People tend to drink water only when they are thirsty. However, I recommend drinking water like it is a medicine. Not only does it cleanse the bowels but it also flushes out the toxins in the body. People who suffer from dark circles and pimples do not realise that it is their lack of water intake that actually increases their skin problems. On average, a person must make it a point to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. If you have a skin problem, you must definitely drink about 10-15 glasses a day. Never substitute the intake of water with aerated drinks and syrup-based drinks; water has no substitute. Now that you are familiar with the enemies of your skin, I hope this article will enable you to protect and preserve it from its foes.
Have a burning beauty question? Suparna Trikha (Instagram @suparnatrikha) is a beauty and nature care expert who can give you the answers you need.
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