Besides the heat and dryness, summer months also bring many skincare challenges. Overexposure to the sun does not mean just tanning. It also means dullness and additional dryness. “Dry skin means dead skin cells. Dead skin cells mean dull skin. Take care of both by making scrubbing a part of your weekly skincare routine,” says dermatologist Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra. Dehydrated, dull, rough and prone to breakouts – that is how even the softest skin begins to feel as soon as the air gets hot. Come summers, the problem could go out of hand and lead to sunburns, redness, patchy and lifeless skin – if not tackled carefully. Summer air as it sucks out the moisture from our skin. That we are exposed to the sun and also to dehydrating air conditioners worsens the problem of dry skin.
Dr Madhuri Agarwal, founder and medical director of Yavana Aesthetics Clinic says, “In summers, the sunrays are harsh and skin is extremely vulnerable to sun damage. Scrubbing reduces the dead skin build-up and leaves behind a soft, smooth skin.”
Dry skin means an accumulation of dead skin cells on the epidermis and this results in dull, lifeless skin in the summer months. The only way to get rid of flaky dead skin is by exfoliation. But exfoliation should not be done more than twice a week on the body and more than once a week on the face to avoid irritating already sensitive and weather-beaten skin.
“Scrubbing too much is not advisable in summers. Once the exfoliated new, clear skin is exposed to the sun in summers, it will end up with more sun-related damage such as tanning, pigmentation, dark spots and skin sensitivity. So unless you have a work profile that involves being indoors in the air-conditioned environment, avoid scrubbing the face more than 1-2 times a week in summers,” advises Dr Madhuri Aggarwal, on being asked the frequency of scrubbing in summers.
Other than that, know the difference between a face scrub and a body scrub. “The skin on your face is different from the skin on the rest of your body and so you’ll want to use something gentle on your face,” says beauty expert Shahnaz Hussain.
Many of us neglect the exfoliation regime in summers thinking it will be harsh for the skin. Cardinal mistake. It is not the exfoliating, but the frequency with which you may do it, as well as the type of products that strip skin of the moisture or injure it. Scrubbing is actually quite important in summers or hot months to keep dryness away and letting the skin breathe. The most basic scrub can be made right within your kitchen. “Mix honey and brown sugar into a paste and use that as a scrub – this exfoliates as well as moisturizes,” says Shahnaz Hussain. Actor-producer Shilpa Shetty Kundra’s favourite way of exfoliating her skin is tamarind. “Just rub tamarind pulp for a couple of minutes and let it stay for five minutes before washing off. You will see dead skin cells dissolve away,” she says.
For those who have more stubborn flakes, here are some options that we put to test and passed with flying colours to become our favourite summer scrubs.
1. Mantra Deep Cleansing Body Scrub (Rs 900 for 100ml) – Don’t go by its steep price tag. This amazing scrub is one of the best to slough off the scales from your body because the crushed pearls, triphala and avocado not only scrubs, but also reduce blemishes, brightens and invigorates.
2. Spawake Whitening Scrub Face Wash (Rs 145 for 100gm) – We loved the fact that this face wash, supposedly enriched with sea minerals and Vitamin B3, also doubles up as a scrub. The best bit – the scrub particles are really fine and within 3-4 days of use, it definitely does help make the skin smoother and so-clean-it-glows!
3. Sephora Double Duty Exfoliator + Mask (Rs 920 for 50ml) – Another magical multi-tasker, except for the tony price. This double whammy clears pores, refines skin texture and restores radiance, and the presence of shea butter and jojoba beads makes the skin soft and supple. I wish they would make the price a little more easy on your pocket and I swear I would have no other scrub on my bathroom counter!
4. Himalaya Herbals Purifying Neem Scrub (Rs 130 for 100gm) – I think this is a tried and tested product. But what we liked best was its creamy and non-drying texture.
5. Aroma Magic Mineral Glow Scrub (Rs 295 for 200ml) – This was the surprise of the haul of scrubs we got over! Not only is it 100% free of chemicals (including alcohol, parabens, phthalates, sulphates, fragrance and colouring), but it has the most unusual ingredients. Cornflower and grain almond meal make up the exfoliating components while rice bran oil and aqua minerals remineralise and nourish the skin. The aromatherapy blend of tea tree, rose and lavender essential oils helps keep the skin protected. If this weren’t enough, the goodness of beeswax and glycerine moisturizes your skin!
Text and images by Aarti Kapur Singh