Your plan for skin care in monsoon should be firmly in place before you welcome the first raindrops of the season. As you take deep, cleansed breaths of moist air, you thrill at how the dust has been mopped up by those cottony clouds. But you can’t help recalling that this same moisture plays havoc on your skin.
Hands and feet care should be topmost on your mind – these are the areas that sweat most, gather the most germs, and as a result, are scoured with soap. The result? Stripping of natural oils and further dryness! And, in season with the rains, are water-borne infections. You deal with this by more washing, and more work running around for your limbs.
Put back the lost moisture by planning a simple but disciplined monsoon skin care routine and you will see how far regular moisturising will go to protect your extremities. The first question that anyone would come up is:
How much can I do at home?
As it turns out, there is a lot of skin care at home you can do. Skin care in Monsoon is all about the attitude and plan of attack.
Skin care in monsoon – Start with the basics
- Avoid excess exposure to water: water washes away natural oils from skin, hair, and nails. Repeated exposure causes dryness. It’s worse when you use hot water.
- Bath water should be lukewarm: water that is too hot is harsh on the skin. The glands under the dermis have to work extra hard to bring back the lost balance of moisture to the skin.
- Avoid harsh cleansing agents: pay attention to the quality of soaps, cosmetics, and shampoos you use. Even in a single use, detergent-based shampoos and those that contain sulfates cause dryness. Astringents rob the skin of vitality – such scouring is unnecessary.
- Humidity-laden air is your enemy: Your skin loses its glow and the hair get a weather-beaten look devoid of all shine. This weather also promotes the build-up of gunk and sticky residue when it mixes with the pollution in your surroundings. The solution to this is a mild, daily-rinse body wash and shampoo.
- Retained moisture in pubic and axillary areas of the body can result in fungal infections. These are found in greater numbers during the wet season, so watch out for moisture. Dry yourself carefully after a shower, after a swim and even more carefully if you ever get caught in the rain. The areas to pay attention to are between the toes, under folds of skin and around the neck.
Dryness in the skin can lead to peeling of the layers. This not only has an unappealing appearance, but can also lead to cracks, cuts and bruising, and if left unaddressed, bleeding.
Simple steps in any routine for skin care at home
- Cleansing: For oily skin, cleansing your face and neck twice a day is recommended. For combination skin and dry skin, wiping with a clean cotton ball can help get rid of pollution and dust gathered.
- Toning: Water is a naturally occurring toner freely available to you. If your tap water is of questionable quality, you can buy a toner made of sterile water, or use rose water as a toner. For even more effective toning and to add a refreshing element, put in a tablespoon of lemon juice into your rose water and use this solution as a toner.
- Moisturising: oil, lotion, cream whatever method of moisturisation you choose, you are looking to nourish your skin. This is best done right after a bath or after the cleansing-toning routine when the pores are all opened and clean after removal of debris and dead skin.
Note: If you live by the seaside where humidity is high, it doesn’t mean your skin does not get dried out. Your skin suffers under the layers of sweat and grime that get lodged on the pores as a result of the climate and pollution.
You need to go through the steps of cleansing, toning, and moisturising even when you live in a place with high humidity. A light day cream can protect your skin during the day. For deeper conditioning and recovery, a heavier night cream once every few nights can help cells repair.
Why is additional skin care necessary – What your skin goes through on a daily basis
Like every other part of the body, the skin, being one of the largest organs, goes through wear and tear. Cells die and new cells are born every day, and these dead cells don’t immediately detach and fall off. They linger, harden and result in callus formation.
This thickened skin has fewer nerve-endings and blood circulation but needs time before it is shed off. Until it does, it looks and feels ugly. An important part of the ‘cleansing’ routine would be to exfoliate the skin i.e. get rid of these dead cells so that the newer layers of skin are topmost.
If this is what happens with your facial skin – which gets the most of your attention — think of what goes on with the extremities. Given the rush of today’s lifestyles, the limbs are easily taken for granted and sidelined.
Hands and Feet Care – Why they need special skin care in monsoon season
Hands and feet are features that give away your age even before your face and eyes do. This is not surprising, considering they do a lot of work all day, day in and day out. While the hands carry out myriad tasks, the feet carry the weight all day and hardly get good blood circulation. These facts tell you why the problem of skin infection on feet and fungal infections of skin under the nails gets compounded.
How to take care of your feet during monsoon
As the feet carry the weight of the entire body all day, people who spend a lot of their time on their feet find callus formation and splitting at the sides of the foot. Dry skin that has lost its elasticity gives way to cracks. To help retain moisture and elasticity of the skin, it is important to moisturise skin.
This delays the formation of cracks. Every once in a while, a foot mask can work wonders in removing the dead skin and give you clean feet. Follow up the foot care routine by putting on a pair of socks and getting a good night’s sleep.
A luxury tip
They say Cleopatra used to bathe in milk and honey. While that may not be viable, do try giving your feet a bath in a solution of milk and honey. Raw honey is a natural conditioner and milk (yes, full-fat milk) is a natural moisturiser. Honey also helps lessen the effects of tan. It smoothens thick skin and moisturises like nothing else. As you massage the heels, toes, and arches, grime is loosened. You can follow this step with a scrub or use a gentle foot file to get rid of dead skin.
Use gentle, circular motions, and do not soak in a foot bath for too long. What you need is enough soaking to loosen the dirt, but not such that it weakens the skin further.
The exception to this is when you start considering how to remove a callus: Callus formation that is thick requires a long (sometimes overnight) soak before lactic acid is used to break down the hardened cells.
How to take care of your hands during monsoon season
Clearing the gunk from under your nails is the first step in getting clean hands. You wash your hands several times a day, given all the household tasks and personal care you attend. Lemon juice is an excellent natural conditioner that works on dirt and grime, grease, as well as on tan. Make the most of this ingredient which also leaves your hands smelling fresh.
A simple idea for a hand scrub is a couple of tablespoons of rice flour dissolved in a cup of milk along with turmeric. Rub the grainy rice flour in circular motions around the palms and hands to get rid of dead cells and smooth out thickened areas.
In less than 15 minutes of massaging, your hands will feel smooth and softer than before. Clipping nails, smoothing out rough edges on cuticles and calluses on the fingers and massaging the nail beds with soothing petroleum jelly or pure coconut oil is a great way of caring for your hands. Other alternatives are olive oil or almond oil.
Just remember that vitamin A, vitamin E, and vitamin C hold lots of benefits for skin and hair. It’s best to receive these through the diet and through an external application. Vitamin A gives the body antioxidants that delay aging. They are found abundantly in some root vegetables (sweet potatoes, carrots, mangoes, and spinach. Vitamin E is another superstar of a nutrient for skin and hair that can be found in nuts, vegetable oils, sunflower seeds, broccoli, and spinach.
A luxury tip
Rub hand cream into the hands and massage it until it moisturises hands and is completely absorbed. This can be done regularly, every night before bed.
These common sense skin care tips should be a matter of principle
Footwear should always be of appropriate size and quality. Tight footwear squeezes the feet and causes damage to the foot as you take steps. This will affect your gait and hurts your feet as well. Sometimes the damage can be lasting, given that the feet contain several delicate bones and metatarsals – a lot more than even the hand.
To keep skin infections on feet at bay, changing socks frequently and letting your footwear air-dry is extremely crucial. Examples are fungal infections, tinea pedis, itchy feet or red rashes, warts, etc.
Skin infections on hand are a common fallout in the monsoon season when there is an increased presence of e.coli and tinea manuum. Bacterial and fungal infections can cause scaly or patchy areas that gradually increase in size. The first step is prevention. That’s why every set of monsoon skin care tips worth its salt would remind you to boost your immunity and take good care of yourself.
For instance, eat only freshly-prepared food, access seasonal produce, and eat home-cooked meals served hot. A good rule of thumb is to keep one’s immunity high by eating a balanced diet and getting mild exercise at least 3-4 times a week.
Nifty additions to your skin care home remedies – time to jazz up your vanity/pantry shelves!
If you are up for using skin care home remedies, it would be a good idea to shop for some basic items like coconut oil, tea tree oil, sea salt, apple cider vinegar, argan oil, aloe vera extract, and shea butter.
Items like these can also serve you in your kitchen and double up as solutions for bug bites, warts, facial cleansing, black-head removal, etc.
Since the rainy season is the time you may also get pimples, boils and scaly patches, no skin care tips in monsoon are complete without suggestions for your diet. You would do well to load up on ginger which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Also try turmeric, a natural dietary supplement that reduces inflammation and boosts assimilation of antioxidants. Soups, pulses and legumes, garlic and seasonal vegetables such as beetroot and bitter gourd are ideal for consumption in this season.
Skin care tips for monsoon are relevant to not only your facial skin, neck, and hair, but also do a good turn to hands and feet care, as these areas are vulnerable to the excess moisture in the air.
The best approach to skin care in monsoon is the holistic one. You work on your diet, fitness, daily routine, and take the best of what Nature has to offer during this captivating season. This ensures that you are in the pink of health and can enjoy a day out in the sun as much as a rainy day.