Get inside your beauty routine: with dermatologist Dr Kiran Sethi

Earlier this month, Columbia-educated dermatologist Dr Kiran Kaur Sethi and The Hindu Weekend’s wellness columnist, Vasudha Rai, had an in-depth conversation about common skincare ingredients. Organised as part of the ongoing #LockdownwithWeekend series on Instagram live, the session also focussed on the solutions for skin and hair problems, and dermatological treatments that last beyond a lockdown.

Primary takeaways from the session:

– Vitamin C, retinol and hyaluronic acid form the backbone of your skincare.

– Vitamin C comes in many concentrations: 10% is good for young, oily skin for prevention and protection and 15-20% is good for older, more dry skin looking for treatment. Vitamin C protects the skin as it is the strongest antioxidant, heals imperfections and fades scars. If your skin reacts with vitamin C serums try a cream or oil formula instead.

Doc’s miracle smoothie: her ingredients

  • Take a handful of spinach; chia + sesame + flax seeds; some cranberry + 1 amla; 1/2 a pomegranate; half a citrus fruit in season; honey and a raw banana for pre-biotic fibre. Blend everything together and drink immediately. Dr Sethi recommends a base of either coconut water or almond milk.

– Retinol is basically vitamin A. This is the most researched ingredient for collagen regeneration. While you can use vitamin C during the day, retinol is more suited for the night. Start with low concentrations and build up your tolerance. Dr Sethi recommends you mix 1% retinol with your moisturiser and apply that over your face.

– Hyaluronic acids can hold up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Therefore, it intensely hydrates the skin making it look plump and dewy. It comes in high and low molecular weights. The low molecular weight penetrates the skin and could cause reactions with sensitive skin. The high molecular weight sits on top of the face and hydrates it.

– Acids or chemical peels exfoliate the skin, stimulate collagen and boost glow. Alpha hydroxy acids or AHAs include acids such as glycolic, lactic and mallic. These acids are good for all skin types with glycolic being the strongest and lactic being the mildest, therefore great for sensitive skin. Beta Hydroxy acids (BHAs) include salicylic acids, which help unclog pores and are suitable for oily, acne prone skin. It is better to use a cleanser with BHAs and a toner/ moisturiser with AHAs. You can use AHAs with retinol but the tolerance must be built up over time.

– Other favoured skincare ingredients include copper peptides that also boost collagen, and niacinamide, which tightens pores and gives the skin a fresh, dewy appearance.

Disclaimer: Please consult with a dermatologist before beginning a new regimen

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