The monsoon season is extremely divisive—either you’re so excited to be done with the stifling heat of the summer, or you’re ready to fast-forward straight to the winter. Either way, the heavy rains, soaring temperatures and increasing humidity can wreak havoc on the skin and scalp, causing infections, acne and clogged pores. We spoke to a makeup artist and skincare expert to find out how you can prevent these before they even begin.
1. Choose water-based products over those with oil
Swapping your usual moisturiser for something lighter is key. Dr Kiran Godse, consultant dermatologist, Fortis Hospital, Mumbai, recommends a hyaluronic acid or water-based formula instead of a heavy cream, as the skin tends to hold on to more water in the humid season. When applied over oily skin with enlarged pores, heavy, cream-based moisturisers can clog them and cause blackheads, particularly on the chin and nose. Even in terms of makeup, choosing oil-free products that specifically state non-comedogenic properties might help. “The key is to let the skin live a little during the monsoon. Choose light water-based primers, water-based foundations and powder blushes to prevent clogged pores. These will feel more comfortable on the skin, and will also last longer,” says celebrity hair and makeup artist, Daniel Bauer. “Waterproof makeup products might be your go-to for this season, but they are equally hard to take off. Remember to clean your face well before you sleep to avoid further clogging.
2. Swap makeup wipes for a double-cleansing routine
While makeup wipes can remove surface dirt and grime (and are a lazy girl’s dream), they may not pass muster in the monsoon. High humidity tends to result in increased sebum production and sweat, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. “Plus, you’re probably using waterproof makeup in this season, which cannot be properly taken off by a face wipe,” says makeup artist Bauer.
“We often see acne worsen in this season due to the excess sebum already being produced in the skin, as well as sweat and surface humidity,” explains Dr Godse. The damp, hot weather leaves skin susceptible to bacteria outgrowths and thus, acne breakouts. It’s important to keep the skin as cool and clean as possible; make sure to double cleanse skin and build an anti-acne routine if you need one.
Rid your skin of impurities with a gentle, hydrating cleanser that will deep-cleanse without leaving it patched. A good double cleanse routine will include an oil cleanser to sop up oil and sebum build-up, and a foam or gel-cleanser to dislodge long-wear makeup and pollution. Double cleansing also brightens the complexion and sloughs away any dead skin cells that don’t reflect light, or are on the surface—leaving a layer of new and ready skin cells that accept active ingredients more effectively. “If you are prone to breakouts, using salicylic acid or retinol-based products can also prevent outbreaks,” says Dr Godse.
3. Add an anti-fungal powder to your body care routine
“One of the most common skin concern this season is rashes on the body due to fungal infections. To avoid this, it’s important that you take regular showers, wear breathable fabrics that dry fast in the rains and let your skin breathe and stay dry,” adds Dr Godse. “Do not use over-the-counter products to treat your rashes as they contain steroids, which might offer immediate relief from itching and redness, but in the long term, they can damage your skin and make you more prone to acne and redness. You should switch to calamine lotion or plain fresh milk cream,” he advises. He also suggests using an anti-fungal powder all over on the body after a shower, to cool skin and reduce prickly heat.
A common mistake that people often make is having baths with extremely hot water. This might feel pleasant in the rains, but it messes with your skin’s pH balance and can dry it out, making it more prone to eruptions. “It’s safe to use water that is 45 degrees hot or close to the body temperature, as hot water can cause sudden flushing of the skin. A mix of extreme cold and hot water on the skin is not good,” warns Dr Godse.
4. Don’t forget to take care of the scalp
“Hair often becomes wet in the monsoon, and too much drying causes frizziness too. So, condition your hair well to stay away from the frizz this season,” says Dr Godse. But more than just frizz, your scalp can also go through the ringer during the monsoons. As an extension of the skin, the scalp is also susceptible to fungal skin infections like ringworm, as well as yeast infections like dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis. “Cleanse the hair more often than you usually do, and add a clarifying or anti-dandruff shampoo with active ingredients to the mix,” he concludes.