How to use skin essentials | How to use skin shop or fresh wash

But are so many products really neccessary? We help you decide which of those bottles and jars are really essential.


The idea of using a bar of soap when there are so many fancy bottles body wash lining the shelves is surely unfashionable.

But which is more effective? Promoters of liquid cleansers claim that these are gentler than bathing bars as they contain large amounts of petrolatum - an ingredient that moisturises and lubricates the skin.

Undoubtedly soap bars are more alkaline and have a dehydrating impact on the skin. " Body washes are a more convenient and hygienic option for bathing and they spread easily over the skin. They have hydrating and nourishing ingredients too," says Dr Chiranjeev Chabra, dermatologist and cosmetic laser surgeon, Skin Alive Clinic.

On the flip side, conservatives claim that the moisturising property of liquid cleansers makes them less effective at removing dirt and reducing body odour.

"The reality is that both soap bars and body wash are equally good in cleaning the body. The selection should be based on individual skin requirements and the season," says Dr Anil Malik, senior consultant, dermatology, Sitaram Bhartia.

Moreover, many mild soap bars are now available in the market, which have a neutral pH of 7- 10 and don't have the same drying effect. " Earlier soaps had high per cent of caustic and this left the skin dry and stretchy. Things have changed now.

Special soaps are available too for acne skin which are antiseptic and help to dry the acne," says Dr Chabr.


Body wash is ideal for winter or hot and dry weather.

Use soap bars on hot and humid days, during the rainy season or if you have oily skin.


DO we really need different creams for the days and night? Can't day creams be used at night too? Experts say no. Our skin needs different products as the skin's requirement varies according to the body clock. " During the day our skin needs protection from pollution and harmful rays. At night, the skin needs to rejuvenate itself and repair all the damage that goes during the day," says Dr Sachin Dhawan, head, department of dermatology, Artemis.

Day creams contain antioxidants and titanium dioxide ( or other sunscreens), which serve as proper shield for the skin. Night creams, on the other hand, have higher levels of active ingredients such as vitamin C, retinol and alpha hydroxy acids ( AHAs) that repair the skin and also moisturise it. Moreover, night creams are highly concentrated, thicker and stronger than day creams because the skin dries out more quickly while you sleep.

In fact, different categories of creams should be used by individuals of different skin types. In her book, The Skin Type Solution , Dr Leslie Baumann suggests that if your skin is dry, you need a hydrating night cream. Sensitive skin needs an anti- inflammatory night cream, while those with wrinkles should opt for a night cream with retinol or antioxidants.


If you use night cream during the day, the active ingredients can either get oxidised by the UV rays or cause skin reaction.


Astringents and toners were earlier part of female domain but are now popular among men too. " Our face needs intense cleaning to remove the proteins produced by the skin. These will otherwise block the pores, causing blackheads and acne," says Dr Dhawan. The purpose of an astringent and toner is the same - cleaning the skin, destroying bacteria that cause acne and adjusting the pH level in the skin.

But astringent is for oily skin while toner is for dry skin. Essentially astringent has an anti- bacterial quality that reduces oil, blackheads and cares for acne prone skin types. Toners, on the other hand, are milder and are meant for those who produce less oil on their face and older skins.


Astringents are alcohol based and intended for oily skin. Toners hydrate and tone the skin and are ideal for dry or normal skin.


NO ONE wants under eye pouches, dark circles or wrinkles and the solution seems to lie in over- the- counter eye gels and creams.

People assume these fulfil the same purpose.

But the reality is that eye gels and creams work differently. " Wrinkles are removed with a compound called matrixyl, which works best when delivered in the form of cream. Eye bags and dark circles, on the other hand, respond well to a chemical called haloxyl, effective when delivered in the form of a gel rather than cream," says Dr Urvashi Kaw, consultant, dermatology and cosmetology, B L Kapur Memorial Hospital.

Creams and gels are oil particles in water used in different proportions. Gels are less oily and tend to be absorbed faster by the skin. " Unlike creams, gels neither block the skin pores nor do they leave behind a greasy residual effect," says Dr Malik. " The skin under our eyes is 4- 5 times thinner than facial skin and is more porous. Therefore, the chances of pores getting blocked are higher under the eye," he adds. Hence, in general it's advisable to use eye gels as against eye creams in general.


Eye gels are intended to reduce puffiness, dark circles and eye sags, while creams may reduce wrinkling.

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