Most of us by now know the importance of proper cleansing, moisturizing and using a good sunscreen are key elements in keeping a healthy and glowing skin. However, there is another important element which can be added to your skin care health arsenal. Exfoliating. Exfoliation helps in the removal of the cells from the surface area of our skin by speeding up the cycle that our body naturally sheds these cells to give an improved complexion for a temporary period of time.

Types of Exfoliation.

There are two methods of removing the dead skin cells: Chemical and Mechanical exfoliation. A chemical exfoliation is one that uses certain substances that biologically loosen the binding agent between the skin’s outer layers, allowing the skin cells to shed. Mechanical exfoliation, on the other hand is basically any process in which the skin cells are removed by physical friction, i.e.: a loofah or a cleanser, cream within them granules inthem. Chemical exfoliation may be physically gentler on the skin but could be harsher due to the overall strength of the product.

The best method for you.

So how do you decide for which method do you go to? It will depend on your skin type and sensitivity. If you are using strong products to treat conditions like eczema or acne using chemical exfoliants like glycolic and salicylic acids which are found in lotions and washes can cause irritation. Certain mechanical brushes can be helpful in reaching deeper layers of the skin much quicker but can cause some damage if overused and harshly. Pay attention to your skin and how it reacts and choose a method that suits you the best.

How often should exfoliating be done?

Exfoliation is useful when it comes to removing dead skins and giving your face a glowing complexion and making you look fresher, however it also removes layers of skin that help you keep moisturized. Exfoliating should be done not more than twice a month, give importance to your regular skincare practices and once in every two weeks exfoliate will help in removal of dead skin and not cause irritation or trauma to the skin which can come from exfoliating weekly or daily.

Melasma is dark pigmented patches of skin that appears on the face. Melasma is one of the medical community’s annoying oddities that no one can quite figure out. We do know that it is hormone related and that sun exposure makes it much worse. Dark pigment in the skin is produced by overactive melanocytes (small cells that create pigment in our skin).

Here is the top do’s and don’ts when fighting melasma:

1. Don’t spend an entire fortune on skin care and treatments and then slather on subpar sunscreen, or worse forget it entirely.

2. Do think of sunscreen as your first line of defense. Sunscreen keeps the skin from sustaining as much “injury” from the sun. (Melasma is made worse by stimulation of melanocytes, which are the cells that produce pigment!) Apply your sunscreen every 2 hours when out in the sun.

3. Don’t hang out in the sauna or hot tub. Studies show that heat can cause the melanocytes to rear their ugly heads and start to pump out extra pigment.

4. Do get religious about your skin care routine. Consistency is key when applying skin lightening products so don’t go to bed without dousing yourself in the creams your skin care professional recommends.

5. Don’t rush. It’s going to take 3-6 months to see a big change either way. Compliance is the key

6. Discontinue any contraceptives if you see melasma happen after its consumption.

7. Do not self-medicate. Not all dark patches are Melasma. For accurate diagnosis and treatment visit a physician preferably a dermatologist.

Melasma is a common facial skin pigment problem with patches of excessively dark skin. Most people with melasma are women, but men also suffer from it too, especially those with darker skin. The disfiguring facial hyperpigmentation of melasma can be emotionally devastating. It can even cause social isolation.

What causes Melasma to happen?

The cause of melasma is complex and not fully understood. We do know that melanocyte cells (the skin’s pigment-producing cells) are stimulated by a number of different things including UV light, but the pigment formed with melasma is not the same as a tan. It is much more complex.

In melasma, there is a cascade of events that happen from UV exposure and visible light, such as from indoor lighting. Yes, indoor (visible) light can also play a role in causing melasma!

The problem of melasma is more than just a problem of excess pigment, it includes what happens to the pigment and the skin around the pigment.

  • Light causes melanin to be formed and cells called melanophages to gobble up the melanin and hold it in both the epidermis and dermis.
  • In the skin where melasma exists, there is also evidence of sun damage in the dermis (changes in elastic fibers).
  • There are also more blood vessels in the skin where melasma pigment exists!
  • Immune cells and dermal fibroblasts are also more active and playing some role in causing melasma.
  • Melasma is a very complex physiologic process that can even sting and itch.
  • Genetics also play a role in whether you are predisposed to melasma.

The first thing you need to know is that men’s skin is very different from women’s as their skin is thicker and less likely to be sensitive to ingredients in cleansers and moisturizers. Men who have thick beards or curly hair, the irritation and razor bumps caused due to shaving is another problem. With good skin care practices and some small yet effective changes in your daily routine, you can keep these problems at bay and have a clear and healthy skin.

1. Say “NO” to soap. Soaps are highly alkaline in nature which strips away all the water and natural oils out the skin, leaving the skin dry and dehydrated. Without water in your skin, your skin cells don’t stay moist which can lead to acne conditions and can also aggravate sensitive skin.

2. Always wear moisturizer and sunscreen: Continuous exposure to sunlight is the main cause of aging leaving the skin extremely worn out. An SPF 30 sunscreen would be ideal as it is lightweight and doesn’t dry out the skin and won’t leave you feeling greasy. Moisturizers will keep your skin smooth and more importantly will help remove dead skin and will prevent your pores from clogging.

3. Use a shaving gel, rather than foam: The main objective of a clean shave is to ensure you soften your hair prior to shaving. Using shaving gel helps to soften the hair and the follicle so that when you use a razor, there is less irritation. Shaving foams are not that effective when it comes to penetrating the skin and do not soften hairs as effectively as a gel. Gel-based shaving creams instantly lubricate and hydrate resulting in a comfortable shave with fewer rashes and ingrown hairs.

4.Avoid using alcohol-based aftershaves: A lot of aftershaves products in the market contain alcohol in them, most men use these aftershaves as it gives a tight and clean feeling. You should know, alcohol-based aftershaves cause dead skin cell buildup and keep the hair trapped within the skin. Try using oil-free moisturizers which will help soothe the skin rather than leaving you with a burning sensation

Allergies are very common among children. Children get allergies or fall sick often due to a simple fact that their immune system is not fully developed yet. Allergies don’t cause children to just sneeze and wheeze, they can also show up on their skin. A reaction may take many forms such as eczema, allergic rashes, hives, and swelling.

Here are certain tips and preventive measures that you can take to ensure that your child’s skin is protected.

1. Gentle skin care: Use fragrance and dye free cleansers and syndets. Harsh soaps can make the skin dry and break down its protective barrier.

2. Bathe: Using lukewarm water (not hot) can soothe the skin and help children feel relaxed. Avoid bubble baths and long bath times as it can dry out the skin.

3. Moisturize after a bath: After a bath, dry the skin gently and apply a nice coat of moisturizing cream or lotion on the skin. A good moisturizer will keep the skin hydrated and smooth and prevent the skin from drying out.

4. Treat an infection immediately: If you notice symptoms of skin infections such as rashes, redness, frequent itching or dryness, call your doctor immediately and get it treated.