Dusty commutes, late nights, smokey clubs and one too many vodka martinis—city living ensures your skin needs all the help it can get. Nivea and Lakme both have skincare ranges specifically created to safeguard against pollution. India is amongst the most polluted countries in the world with a ranking of 101 out of 146 countries, says a 2005 study by Environmental Sustainability Index. Delhi has the highest pollution levels with the level of respirable particular matter (RSPM) in the air at 115, while Mumbai is lower, at 79, as per the Central Pollution Control Board. (figures courtesy Lakme).
Dr. Horst Wenck, Hamburg-based skincare expert and Nivea’s corporate vice-president of research, charts out a skin regime every woman should follow. Then an extra martini every once in a while won’t matter.
* Your morning face care regimen, after using a gentle cleansing product, should start with a mild toner to remove any residual cleanser, followed by a face cream that fulfils your skin’s specific needs (such as an oil-regulating cream). Make sure this has a broad-spectrum UV-A/B filter system for sun protection and an antioxidant like Vitamin E to protect against the pollution.
* Use gentle cleansing products thrice a day on the face (this includes your morning routine), especially on days with high humidity and on days when you’ve exposed your skin to a high degree of pollution. On such days, the day cream should also be reapplied at lunchtime.
* At night, use a rich night cream for extra moisturization and repair.
* In the winter, or if you spend your day exclusively in a dry, air conditioning climate, use a body moisturizer everyday.
* There is no way to protect the skin 100% against pollution, but do everything possible to protect the skin against sunlight, the main cause of skin ageing. Use a broad-spectrum UV-A/B filter system (look out for UV-A filters listed on the product, as many products contain only UV-B filters recognized by the SPF labeling. SPF mostly accounts for UVB protection.) In addition, antioxidants in the day cream, especially Vitamin E, will neutralize some of the damaging effects of ozone, the main product in polluted air.
* Regular use of moisturizers further lowers the effects of external factors as a better moisturized skin shows better repair and protection capability.
* Sufficient drinking and sleeping will do the rest. Smoking should be avoided, as this causes severe skin damage, almost as bad as sunlight.