Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Keep skin soft and supple

Q. Post childbirth a few months back, my skin tends to feel increasingly dry and parched at all times. Please suggest a way out. -Nikhila
After childbirth, there is a significant drop in oestrogen levels. This makes skin drier and less supple. Keep in mind a few things apart from moisturising your skin religiously. Extreme dry skin requires a very heavy emollient like petroleum jelly (Vaseline) or olive oil, so opt for products with a jelly base. Remember to apply a rich moisturiser immediately after your bath to help lock in maximum moisture. Avoid using soaps as they tend to make skin all the more dry. Also, don't take long leisurely baths as too much exposure to water and bath products tend to dry out skin. Most importantly, choose sunscreens that are water-based instead of matte-based and oil-free ones. However, if your skin still continues to feel severely dry, see a dermatologist.
Q. Of late, I have developed under-eye bags that make me look older than I am. What's the best way to prevent them? -Diksha
Minor puffiness is usually caused by the pooling of body fluids around the eye area during sleep and disappears by mid morning. However, such puffiness can also be due to an allergic reaction elsewhere on the body. However, prominent eye bags are more a case of accumulation of fat around the eyes which could be a sign of ageing, hormonal imbalance or even a thyroid problem. You need to see a doctor immediately. If very unsightly, you can opt for a relatively minor procedure called blepharoplasty, where a thin incision is made below the lower eyelid and excess eyelid skin removed so that it gets stretched and the pouches disappear.
To reduce minor puffiness around the eye area, avoid salty food as salt causes water retention in our body. If it persists, apply eye gels containing plant extracts like witch hazel or chamomile.
Dr Rekha Sheth is a leading cosmetic dermatologist. She is founder-president, Cosmetology Society (India) and also runs Yuva, a successful chain of skin clinics.
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