Few of us give thought to the fact that our skin is a living organ, a natural barrier to shield the body and provide sensory perception. Apart from ageing, environment and climatic conditions lead to changes in skin texture. Air-conditioning is among the most stressful environments for the skin, but simple adaptations made to skincare routine can stop problems before they start.
Office air-conditioning leads to humidity levels lower than the Sahara desert, as a result the skin is robbed of moisture leading to dryness, flaking and chapped even cracked lips.
Other problems triggered by chronic dryness are hair fall, fine wrinkles -- which can later develop into deep wrinkles, especially around the mouth and eyes. Dryness also makes normal, dry and sensitive skins dry and itchy, while making oily and combination skin to ooze more oil by stimulating sebaceous glands.
To stop this vicious circle of dryness, itching and wrinkles, you must:
Use mild glycerine soaps and, if possible, face-wash for face and hands.
Apply moisturising lotion every four hours or so, even if you do not feel the need.
Do not lick lips to make them moist as saliva aggravates dryness. Use Vaseline lip guard or a wax-based balm to protect lips.
Drink at least 10-12 glasses of water a day. Avoid tea, coffee and colas that have caffeine, which causes dehydration.
Dr Agarwal is a dermatologist and director of Mehak Skin Clinic in Sarvodaya Enclave, Delhi