If there's one category of queries we receive the most, it's that of skincare. And one look at the myriad of factors contributing to skin concerns these days, makes the whole thing entirely understandable. Acne, acne scars, patchy skin, excessive dryness, excessive oiliness....it's exhausting to even think of the sheer number of issues we all battle regularly, just to achieve the skin of our dreams.
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Well, we wanted to be of help the best we could. So we thought, why not pass on your skincare concerns to an actual expert professionally trained to solve exactly those. We turned to Dr. Harsimran Kaur, a dermatologist and cosmetologist practising in New Delhi. She specializes in treating skin infections, hair loss, acne, open pores, pigmentation and scars, and her expertise lies in anti-ageing treatments.
So, without further ado, I'm gonna pass the mic over to Dr. Harsimran! Here's what she had to say.
Q. How can I treat my blackheads at home?
Dr Harsimran - Oil, dirt, skin debris may clog your pores and lead to blackheads especially along the T zone. Glycolic acid-based cleansers help in unclogging pores. Toners help to minimize dilated pores. Exfoliate twice a week and incorporate salicylic and retinol-based products in your night care routine. No matter how gratifying it may seem, stop squeezing those blackheads and seek expert care for monthly extraction!
Q. The skin on my face has a texture which makes it look like I have small pimples all over. You can’t see it until daylight highlights it. What could be the cause and what can I do?
Dr Harsimran - Oil gland hyperactivity with clogged pores can lead to this kind of appearance. Wash your face as frequently as possible. Never compromise on the regimen- “cleanser, toner, serum, moisturiser, sunscreen, makeup”. This means that you should not jump directly to applying makeup. Get a clean up often. Keep your hair away from your face and do keep in mind that a flaky, dandruff prone scalp can aggravate this.
Q. I have very dry skin and lots of pores. How do I minimize the pores?
Dr Harsimran - Use very gentle cleansers which are soap-free, foam-free, paraben-free. Astringents can minimize pores but dry the skin further, prefer alcohol free toners instead. Using a face serum that contains both vitamin C and hyaluronic acid (HA) will not only minimize pores but also hydrate the skin. Opt for mild superficial chemical peels and micro-needling treatments after consulting your dermatologist.
Q. I have several white bumps on my face. I've been told it is because I consume too much of oily and fatty food. I changed my diet 6 months back. How do I get rid of it?
Dr Harsimran -The white bumps could either be whiteheads (closed comedones) or milia (keratin plugs) near the eyes and nose. If left untreated, whiteheads can get infected and lead to nasty acne. Do fix a meetup with your skin doctor often and use products containing adapalene or benzoyl peroxide under his/her supervision. Use skin products that mention ‘oil-free’ or ‘non-comedogenic’ on the pack. In addition to oily and fatty food, cut down on dairy products and protein supplements too.
Q. I have had acne for 5-6 years and there's some on my arms too. I have done everything possible (facewashes, creams, medicines), but I am still not able to get rid of them. What could be the reason? Will they ever go?
Dr Harsimran - Yes, acne can be controlled. But remember, no matter what treatment you take for acne, compliance is the key! Stick to a particular treatment regimen for at least 3-4 months before giving up. Consult a doctor and get your hormonal profile checked for disorders like polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and insulin resistance. Regular exercise always helps. You may take the support of chemical peels in your treatment to hasten results.
Q. I have an issue with strawberry legs (keratosis pilaris). How to get rid of that?
Dr Harsimran - The thorny lesions of keratosis pilaris are largely genetic. Waxing can aggravate the same, hence opt for laser hair reduction. Visit a dermatologist for retinol and TCA peels. Consume a diet rich in vitamin A (carrots, papaya, mango, fish oils).
Q. I have a lot of spots on my back. How to get rid of them?
Dr Harsimran - Spots on the back may occur after acne, waxing, excessive friction or rubbing. Bathe directly with a soft soap bar and avoid scrubbing. Treat the underlying cause. Take help of a dermatologist if needed. Chemical peels and Q switch lasers can go a long way in minimizing the appearance of these marks.
Q. How can I improve my uneven skin tone?
Dr Harsimran - Be regular with your sunscreen even when indoors. Reapply sunscreen every 3-4 hours in adequate quantities. Carry an umbrella, exfoliate often. Use skin lightening creams which are steroid-free and contain ingredients like kojic acid, arbutin and other plant extracts. Laser toning is a quick and satisfactory procedure that one can go for. Make sure your diet is rich in antioxidants like Vitamin A, C and E.
Q. Which is the best SPF to use on your skin?
Dr Harsimran - It is wrong to chase only SPF! A sunscreen high in SPF only protects from UV B rays. One should always pick a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects from both UV B and UVA rays. A Sunscreen with SPF 30 blocks 97% of UV B rays while a sunscreen with SPF 50 blocks 98% of UV B rays. However, a higher SPF makes the sunscreen preparation thicker and more difficult to wear. SPF 30 is ideal for Indian skin but one must always remember to reapply every few hours.
Q. How can I remove old acne marks and scars?
Dr Harsimran - Acne marks usually fade with time but stubborn marks can be really bothersome. Try preparations containing kojic acid and azelaic acid. These work well on pigmented marks but not on scars. For scars need to visit a dermatologist who may suggest procedures like chemical peels, microdermabrasion, derma roller, fractional lasers or platelet-rich plasma therapy depending upon scar depth and severity.
We know, we know. You're welcome! Have more skincare queries? Well, what's stopping you from sending 'em over?
About The Author
Dr Harsimran Kaur
Consultant Dermatologist & Cosmetologist
Reach Out @ firstname.lastname@example.org