Dr BL Jangid, MD, Skin, is a top dermatologist from Delhi, with over 10 years’ experience in new treatments, technology and research on skin and hair problems, skin surgeries, hair transplant surgeries, lasers and anti-ageing processes. He practises at SkinQure in Saket, New Delhi. Team Optimist spoke to him on the recent trends and practices for anti-pollution skincare. Read on…
Team Optimist: Skin-related problems, including skin cancer, are already creating havoc in India. What are the possible ways to tackle the UV ray menace?
Dr BL Jangid: About 90% of the times, the risk of developing skin cancer is directly related to the amount and intensity of ultraviolet (UV) light exposure one gets from the sun. Fortunately, it’s easy to limit excessive UV exposure and lower your skin cancer risk with regular use of sun protection. Over-exposure to the sun also causes premature skin ageing.
You should see how hill people develop wrinkles. So, sunscreen is an important aspect in dealing with this. No matter how the weather is, sunny or cloudy, you should apply sunscreen to protect your skin from damage.
Use the right sunscreen to protect skin
Applying sunscreen is one of the most important aspects of one’s skin-care routine. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is important, but you should also make sure your sunscreen says ‘Broad-Spectrum’ for protection against both UVA and UVB rays. SPF only describes protection from UVB rays, the sunburn rays that damage your skin’s DNA. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, causing wrinkles and brown spots. Instead of looking for a product with the highest SPF, look for a product with at least an SPF of 30 and one that is also labelled with UVA and UVB protection or broad-spectrum. An SPF of 30 will block 97% of the sun’s harmful rays.
Most people don’t apply sunscreen as they should, so using a sunscreen with a higher SPF acts as a safety net for the highest degree of protection. If you’re in the hills or mountains, where UV rays are stronger, choose SPF 50. Higher SPF numbers mean more protection, but the higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens about 98% and SPF 100 about 99%. No sunscreen protects you totally.
Team Optimist: Teenagers are often very worried about skin glow and other skin-related issues. What should one stress in a balanced diet for a healthy, glowing skin, instead of using multi-national cosmetic brand products?
Dr BL Jangid: How you live reflects how you look. If you want your skin to look clean and radiant, your lifestyle and eating habits should reflect that. Higher temperatures and longer outdoor hours lead to internal dehydration, which not only causes dizziness and headaches, but also makes your skin look lacklustre and dehydrated. Drink at least ten 8-ounce glasses of plain, filtered water every day to help maintain critical moisture balance of the body and skin and assist in detoxification.
Role of diet for healthy skin
Diet plays a major role in making your skin look good. Many women aren’t aware of the impact of food on the body’s pH balance. Carbonated drinks, alcohol, eggs, sugar and so on, lower the body’s pH levels and so are acidic, while fresh fruits and vegetables, lemon, chia seeds, turmeric and so forth are alkaline in nature and healthy. pH imbalance results in skin inflammation, extreme sensitivity and acne, among other problems. Therefore, it’s important to eat sensibly because make-up won’t conceal these, but, instead, aggravate them.
A healthy diet, regular exercise and keeping oneself calm are always good. If you have pimples, use acne mask creams before make-up to stop chemicals from reacting with the skin. One of the best things about summer is the bounty of fresh and crunchy fruits and vegetables — watermelons, mangoes, gourds, cucumbers, and herbs like mint, coriander, thyme and so on that have a high water content that hydrates the skin and anti-oxidants to protect it.
While there are many dermatological treatments to help you get a glow to your skin, it’s always advisable to opt for natural ways to keep your skin healthy. After all, it’s true that you are what you eat. So, you must include fresh fruits and vegetables in your summer diet to stay healthy and look beautiful and radiant.
Team Optimist: How can men and women take care of their hair during summer?
Dr BL Jangid: You may have healthy hair almost round the year. But, during summer, your hair can turn limp and lifeless. The sun dries out your hair strands and the increased humidity makes your hair fall flat. Additionally, sweat and dust during the summer months increase such hair problems as dandruff and split ends. The worst scenario is hair loss and thinning hair. Summers can be harsh to your scalp, too, causing dryness and sunburn. Some people believe that hair protects the scalp, but that’s not the case. Summer heat can cause scalp damage, too. This, in turn, causes damage to hair.
Shampooing your hair every day isn’t recommended, but, at times, it’s not avoidable. A good rinse with cold or lukewarm water will do the trick on days you don’t shampoo. You’ll probably be washing your hair more often to remove grease and grime from a day spent in the sun. That’s why, it’s important to choose a gentle shampoo and conditioner designed for daily use. If you have thin, fine hair, it’s tempting to skip conditioners that feel greasy and heavy. Unfortunately, that can leave you at the mercy of frizz! Try using a weightless conditioner, instead.
A conditioner is like moisturizer for the hair and seals the hair strands so that the moisture cannot escape. You must remember that dry hair makes it more prone to environmental damage. So, a conditioner suited to your hair texture is a must. Look for products with tags like ‘replenishing’, ‘hydrating’ and ‘moisturizing’. Avoid any styling products that have formaldehyde (alcohol) and with the tags, ‘volumizing’ or ‘bouncy’. These dry the hair more, so, they’re to be strictly avoided.
To deal with summer issues, one needs to start using shampoos and conditioners infused with such rich, anti-oxidant oils as Argan and Macadamia. Also, check for Proteins (Wheat Protein, Pea Protein, Keratin), Vitamins (Vitamin E, B5) and natural extracts like avocado in your product. As your hair is already exposed to the sun’s heat, avoid tools like flat irons and blow-dryers during summer as much as possible. Go slow on the blow-dryer and, if needed, let your hair air-dry. In India, most areas are affected by high UV radiation in summer, so you should use ‘leave-on’ conditioners and serums that can protect your hair from high heat and UV exposure. This will safeguard the natural colour of the hair and keep your hair hydrated, too.
Vitamin & Protein supplements for healthy hair
Vitamin D and E supplements, along with biotin, are especially beneficial for maintaining hair and skin health in summer. Vitamin B12 and folic acid are good for hair growth. Proteins and sulphur are great for hair health and one must include eggs and onions in the diet. Animal proteins are excellent for nourishing hair strands from within.
The primary concern of hair therapies must be hydration. It’s good to massage your hair with light oils, such as olive oil or almond oil, at least twice a week. I recommend hair massage in the mornings and that, too, for not more than 30 minutes. Leaving oil overnight can aggravate dandruff and oily scalp problems. Cosmetic treatments, such as Keratin and colouring, must be avoided as they strip the hair of its natural moisture, leaving the strands coarse and dry.
A mixture of chlorine — in case you love to swim — and UV rays can fade it over time or even turn it brassy. This can burn your hair in the hot sun and turn it brownish. Coloured hair, too, tends to fade if you stay outdoors too long. Protect your colour with the right shampoo and conditioner. It’s good to wear a swimming cap while in the pool. This not only protects the hair from chlorine, but also prevents bleaching of wet hair in the sun.
Team Optimist: Male baldness has become common, especially in the urban areas. Is it possible to avoid this in any way?
Dr BL Jangid: Most problems related to hair are caused by the quality of water used to wash it. If you live in a region where the water is laced with chemicals and has become hard, you’ll face hair loss, wispy and lifeless hair with a strawlike texture. In this case, hair also becomes more prone to breakage because of the brittleness caused by a large quantity of calcium, magnesium, iron and copper. No amount of conditioners or styling sprays can help redeem this. Moreover, this can lead to premature greying, hair loss, hair thinning and many other problems.
A water-softening device is a good investment. It removes calcium and magnesium (lime scale) and certain other harmful minerals from the hard water and makes the water soft. It may be expensive, but it’s extremely useful for people experiencing hair problems, eczema and other issues caused by hard water.
A shower filter is a cheaper alternative to a water softener. It can considerably reduce lime scale, chlorine and other chemicals in hard water. You simply need to attach this gadget to your shower head. It needs to be cleaned as the deposits may clog the shower over a week or two. As a last rinse, you could use filtered water from your RO device, or filter. Since a happy environment is also crucial, using bottled water may not be a good idea for the long term.
Look for a shampoo and conditioner specially formulated to fight hard water effects, especially coarseness. Use a natural, herbal, pH-balanced shampoo. Boil a couple of hibiscus flowers with a raw amla, or gooseberry and use this to wash your hair. Or, if you really want the feel of a shampoo, choose one without parabens and sodium lauryl sulfate. A natural ‘leave-on’ after-shower conditioner, such as 2-3 drops of almond oil or coconut oil, applied to the lower ends of your hair will also add to hair health and appearance. To add to the benefits of shampoo, add a teaspoon of epsom salt to your shampoo and wash your hair with this to actually clear away the hard water residue.
A dermatologist, or a trichologist is a physician trained in the care of skin, hair and nails and one who can diagnose and successfully treat hair loss professionally and permanently. It’s important to consult a licensed dermatologist if you have severe hair damage. Depending upon the severity of your condition, a dermatologist can prescribe not just medication, but also medical intervention, such as PRP, hair transplant and so on.
Team Optimist: Opting for cosmetic surgery seems to have become a trend — right from Bollywood celebs to millennials. What’s the flip side of such cosmetic surgeries?
Dr BL Jangid: Too much of anything is bad. Moreover, cosmetic surgeries carried out by untrained doctors, or quacks are even worse! Almost anyone can benefit from visiting a dermatologist. A good dermatologist can help teens and adults control acne, improve the appearance of their skin and prevent skin cancer. Choosing a dermatologist is an important and personal decision, especially if you have a skin condition. Avoid any unlicensed medical practitioner, because, if anything goes wrong, you’ll have limited or no legal recourse.
Viewing ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures of a doctor’s patients can help you assess if the doctor’s results match your expectations. One area that’s critical is lip enhancement where different injectors produce different looks and it becomes important to know if the injector’s signature style is what you’re looking for.
Team Optimist: Does laser hair removal have negative effects in the long run? And is hair transplant a permanent solution to baldness?
Laser hair removal: Myth-busters
Myth: Laser treatment causes hair to grow.
Fact: Not at all true! Laser treatment destroys the hair follicles, rather than helping hair to grow back. This myth has grown around the idea that shaving makes the hair grow thicker and coarser over time.
Myth: It’s an expensive treatment.
Fact: Emphatically no! Although it’s not as cheap as waxing or threading, it’s not too expensive, either. The price of the treatment is worth the time you may waste on your weekly salon trips.
Myth: It can harm internal organs.
Fact: People, generally, link it with X-rays. But this isn’t the case. The laser rays used in laser treatment are different from X-rays. They don’t penetrate deep enough below the skin to cause damage to any internal organ. The laser goes only till 4 mm beneath the skin.
Myth: It can lead to fertility issues.
Fact: As I’ve said, the radiation in laser treatment is negligible compared to that of X-rays and reaches just 4 mm beneath the skin. So, it’s impossible for it to harm the reproductive organs.
Myth: Laser treatment leads to skin cancer.
Fact: This belief, too, isn’t true at all. In fact, lasers are used to treat different forms of skin damage and skin cancer. The amount of radiation used in laser hair removal is negligible.
As any other treatment, laser treatment, too, requires follow-up sessions. Individual hair follicles can be destroyed completely in one sitting of laser hair removal treatment, but all the hair follicles cannot be completely destroyed. Based on an individual’s hair growth, dermatologists advise the number of sessions required in a procedure. After that, repeat treatments for maintaining the results are advised every six months. This treatment, too, requires a qualified and licensed dermatologist to carry it out. If not done by a professional, laser hair removal procedures can leave the skin damaged, burnt and disfigured. So, it’s best to approach a reputed laser hair-reduction clinic and seek advice from a licensed dermatologist, because all those who wish to look beautiful should look beautiful.
Dr Jangid’s skin care tips
* Eat a healthy diet
* Wash your face as often as possible
* Don’t use an overdose of skincare products
* Cut down on use of cosmetics/make-up products