Skin care for pollution, lots of sun, and dry weather

Hello ma'am, I am a 37 year old Indian woman, living in India. I live in Delhi which has very high pollution levels, harsh summers and cold, dry winters. I have Fair to medium skin tone. I have combination skin that feels dehydrated in the drier months. I suffer from hormonal acne during my monthly cycles. I also have a number of brown spots on my face. I have recently been suffering from uneven skin tone. I sweat a lot on my face. I stay in most of the time and hardly ever go out in the sun. Please help me create a skincare routine that addresses my concerns. Regards, Sonal

This is a great question.  Thank you!   I think this is a common problem worldwide.  Here are some suggestions:

  1. Think seasonally and adjust your skincare regimen accordingly.  Some ideas for you below.
  2. Always wear a hat outside.  This may seem hot, but see if you can find ones with brims that are beautiful, and made of natural fibers that circulate air.  Or….use a PARASOL.  Love these. The hat will shade your face, neck and chest.  This will help prevent brown spots over time.
  3. Use a zinc (15-12%) containing sunscreen face, neck, chest and hands every single morning.  If it’s hot and humid, mineral powders may be a good option like the Jane Iredale compacts over a light, non greasy layer of sunscreen.

Skin Care for Pollution

  • Consider increasing your antioxidants which scavenge free radicals which damage cells.   You can use one in the morning at a different one at night.  The retinoid can go over the night antioxidant, if it’s not irritating you.  For example, see the link to the shop, the Phloretin CF in the morning and the Resveratrol at night or the Power of Three.  Antioxidants of all types help prevent brown spots also.
  • Boost your antioxidants internally.  Eat more fresh vegetables, squeeze your own orange or grapefruit juice in the morning, take a little extra Vitamin C (like 500 mg) or alpha lipoic acid, avoid inflammatory foods like sugar!

Skin Care for Dryer Climates (like your winters in Dehli).

  • Consider layering your moisturizers like putting a hyaluronic gel moisturizer on first, then your moisturizer and then a moisturizing sunscreen.  Don’t forget your neck and chest please!
  • Reapply moisturizer midday, and again at night of course.
  • If it’s really dry, consider a humidfier for your bedroom at night.

Skin Care for Hormonal Acne

  • If you can see a dermatologist it really helps.  Remember that this type of acne will cause brown spots which can last for months so its good to clear it up, if possible.  Ask your dermatologist if spironolactone (usually 50-200 mg a day) would be helpful to you.  This is prescription only in the U.S. and Europe.
  • For this type of acne which only flares about the week before a period, usually the products above won’t aggravate it.
  • Sometimes just taking an antibiotic (consult your doctor for the right one) for 1 week around your period may help.  Take probiotics if you choose that option.

Hope this helps,  Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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