Looking fresh and cool in the humid monsoon season needs some special care. Sharmila Chand talks to beauty experts to find out what works in this muggy season. IBNS | 2 years ago

Monsoon is here, and in time or ahead this year meteorologists say. It is, however, a tricky time for the skin due to high humidity in the air. Often the skin looks dull; more so if the skin is oily. This is due to sweat and oil secretions which get deposited in the skin which also attracts dirt and pollutants from the atmosphere easily. Irritating conditions like rash, spots and pimples are common during the monsoons, a nightmare indeed for those who care.
So how does one combat the situation?

Experts say, follow simple home- based treatments regularly to replenish the skin glow, and keep the skin healthy.

A combination of deep pore cleansing, toning, moisturising and exfoliating is an ideal ritual to practice.

"Deep pore cleansing is very essential," says Shahnaz Husain, well known beauty expert. "It is needed to keep the pores of the skin free of clogged oil and dirt."

She suggests simple home based recipes for all types of skin. Facial scrubs should be used twice a week. "Apply it on the face and rub gently on the skin, using a circular motion. Then, rinse off with plenty of plain water," she advises.

For oily skin, Husain suggests rice flour mixed with a little rose water while for normal to dry skin, ground almonds can be mixed with milk or yogurt.

For extremely dry and sensitive skin, one should avoid scrubs, she says. Washing the face several times a day with plain water is enough.

Aromatherapist Blossom Kochhar advises not to use harsh soaps, and 'over-wash', during monsoons. Instead a gentle cleanser to clean the face in the morning and at night is advisable followed by toning with alcohol-free skin freshener. A moisturiser which is lotion based should wrap up the routine.

Kochhar also suggests a simple oatmeal and tomato juice pack to shrink large pores and slough off dead skin instead. Her magic formula: "To a tablespoon of tomato juice, mix enough oatmeal to make a thin paste. Add one drop of essential oil of pepper int. Apply to a dampened skin, avoiding the eye and mouth areas. Leave on for 10 minutes, then wipe off with damp cotton or a sponge and rinse with cool water."

Toning helps

Husain says one must use a tonic too. A flower based skin tonic or freshener is a boon in humid weather. "Rose water can be mixed with witch hazel to make a refreshing skin tonic. For oily skin, mix them in equal quantities. For dry skin, mix one part witch hazel with three parts rose water. Keep the mixture in a bottle in the fridge. Wipe the face with it, using cotton wool pads. It not only refreshes the skin, but also helps to tighten the pores and prevent spots and pimples."

Kochhar on the other hand goes by a paste of one beaten egg white mixed with one tablespoon yogurt and multani mitti (Fuller's Earth) which should be applied on the face till it dries and then rinsed off with clear water. "Use this toning mask at least twice a week," she advises.

Problem skins

When the skin erupts with rash, pimples or acne, the face should be washed with a medicated soap or cleanser twice a day, says Husain and then applied with rose skin tonic. "Avoid harsh astringent lotions, or mix it with rose water and keep in a tightly closed bottle in the fridge. Add a little rose water to sandalwood paste and apply on the eruptions," she suggests. Oily products, like heavy nourishing creams, should not be used when the weather is humid. If the skin is dry, a light, liquid moisturiser may serve the purpose during the monsoons.

A 'monsoon face mask' Husain concocts can be prepared at home with ingredients available easily at home. Here's how: "Mix 3 teaspoons oatmeal with egg white and one teaspoon each of honey and curd. If egg white is to be avoided, add rose water or orange juice. Apply it on the face and wash it off after half an hour. Use it twice a week. Dry and powdered lemon and orange peels can also be added to face packs."

An exfoliating scrub for oily skin can be made at home too as Kochhar shares. "Mix together multani mitti Channa Ka atta (gram Flour) and sandalwood powder in equal quantities. Store in an air tight container. Use a teaspoon of this scrub mixed to a paste with water." This rids the skin of flakes and dirt and should be used twice a week.

Food for skin

During the monsoon, the body loses fluids through sweat. So one should drink more fluids to keep the system flushed. Plenty of water, nimbu paani (fresh lemon juice) and fresh fruit juices are recommended. Instead of heavy starchy meals, salads, fruits, sprouts and yoghurt should figure in the daily diet. One can also substitute the hot cup of tea with iced tea, lemon juice and a dash of honey.

Above all, keeping up a cheery mood in the hot, humid weather can add to the fresh look.

(Posted on 18-06-2013)