Cosmetic dermatologist, hair transplant surgeon and the founder of LeJeune Medspa, Dr. Shuba Dharmana, talks about winter beauty
What is the impact of change in weather on both the skin and hair?
Dr. Shuba: As the season’s change, changes in the weather have big implications for skin and hair. The skin has a thermoregulatory system for temperature changes, but it takes time for the skin to adjust to sudden changes. Similarly changes in humidity levels will impact skin hydration, strong winds can make skin dry and in the rainy season excess moisture can lead to fungal infections. But, with adequate care, these can be tackled with simple changes so the skin can adapt better and quicker.
What are the common hair and skin issues faced during winter?
Dr. Shuba: In winter when the humidity levels drop, the skin hydration levels also drop leading to dryness in the skin which sometimes further leads to cracks. One of the main functions of the skin is the barrier function. The skin barrier consists of the outermost skin layer with dead skin cells and fats that help to retain moisture and protect us against external environmental factors and microorganisms. When this layer dries out with little or no hydration, the skin barrier function is disrupted leading to inflammation and irritation.
Those suffering from acne can see their condition aggravating. There may be itching, dryness, patchiness, and flakiness of the skin. It is easier for environmental toxins and micro-organisms to get inside and cause havoc. Similarly, the hair also becomes dry, dull, brittle, and prone to breakage.
Does winter weather affect different skin/hair types in different ways? If yes, is there a common remedy for all?
Dr. Shuba: Winter weather can affect different skin and hair types differently. Those with oily skin and acne can see a flare-up as the epidermal barrier gets disrupted and inflamed. Those with dry skin will see more dryness, peeling and patchy skin.
Curly hair is more prone to getting brittle and winter weather can be harsh for them. Dry hair will also see brittleness and dryness. Those that get hair colour and use heat styling methods will see a worsening of the hair condition with more dryness and brittleness.
Skincare needs to be switched up in winter. A good moisturiser is essential in winter but does take care in choosing a cream or serum that will not clog the pores. Coconut-based skin oil is not only non-comedogenic but increases the skin hydration levels by at least 30 per cent as they are rich in saturated fatty acids and will penetrate the skin barrier to strengthen it. Coconut-based hair oil is also rich in MCTs and lauric acid. This helps it penetrate deeper and quicker, and adds to the hair and scalp health.
What is the importance of a proper haircare and skincare routine?
Dr. Shuba: Although the skin has its own regulatory mechanisms, it takes time for the skin to adjust to sudden weather changes. This coupled with the fact that people use external factors to change temperature, like having hot showers, confuses the skin. It is therefore important to use corrective measures in one’s skincare and hair care as per the demands of the skin. Dry skin and hair in winter can be easily corrected by changing the steps of skincare. Daily cleansing of the skin is essential to get rid of excess skin sebum, dirt and debris. When the skin is dry one must switch to a gentler cleansing lotion with oils or emollients incorporated that will not dry out the skin further. Avoid cleansers with sodium lauryl sulphate and soaps that can be more drying for the skin. Moisturise with a serum or a coconut-based skin oil to replenish skin hydration levels. It is also important to use sunscreen in winter to protect from UV rays.
Similarly, for hair, avoid or reduce heat styling and chemical processing treatments in winter as it can cause further damage and make hair more brittle. Use coconut-based hair oil regularly and massage to increase penetration and circulation. Use a mild shampoo that is SLS-free preferably and a conditioner or a deep conditioner mask if hair is dry or frizzy.
Any DIY masks and home remedies for winter hair care and skin care?
Dr. Shuba: Coconut-based hair oil can be mixed with egg whites and applied to hair. Leave for up to 20 minutes and wash off.
Mashed avocado or even mayonnaise can be mixed with coconut-based hair oil and applied to hair, for shiny conditioned hair.
Coconut-based hair oil can be gently warmed and applied to scalp for better penetration to help combat dry scalp issues. Leave for 40 mins and wash off. This scalp and head massage will help relieve stress, improve circulation, and increase penetration of active ingredients.
You can make your own DIY scrub at home by mixing brown sugar with coconut-based skin oil. The consistency should be slightly granular. You can apply to the face, leave it on for 10 mins and scrub gently all over the face before washing off. Lip scrub can be made similarly for excellent exfoliation.