Delhi air pollution: How it can damage your skin and hair and what to do about it
The air pollution in Delhi is not just bad for your lungs, it can also damage your hair and skin. Here’s what you can do about it.fitness Updated: Nov 10, 2017 10:25 IST
Pollution has become buzzword in the region in Delhi /NCR and is affecting normal functioning of life due to toxic air and a heavy blanket of smog leading to zero visibility throughout the day. While pollution takes a toll on the environment and your health, it also affects your skin adversely. We get beauty expert Shahnaz Husain to give tips.
Toxic air containing smoke, soot, acid and other pollutants severely affect the skin by draining away moisture, which leads to allergies and pigmentation spots on the forehead and cheeks on dry and rough skin. The toxic haze hanging over Delhi /NCR also causes uneven skin tone, accelerated ageing, wrinkles and black spots on the face.
Among the other organs in the body, the skin is also one of the first to bear the brunt of air pollutants, which not only attack the skin surface, but also cause an accumulation of toxins. In fact, they are potent skin irritants. There are both long and short term effects of pollutants.
Firecrackers during weddings and festivals also add to chemicals in the air, which are potent skin irritants. Chemical pollutants cause oxidation damage and this can lead to the manifestation of premature ageing signs like wrinkles, loss of elasticity, dark patches and spots. Chemical pollutants also disrupt the normal balance of the skin and scalp, leading to problems like dryness, sensitivity, rashes, acne, irritation or allergic reactions, dandruff and related conditions. They also make the skin and hair dull.
Your job may involve travelling long distances to work. The skin is thus more exposed to the pollutants in the air. Cleansing of the skin assumes more importance in order to get rid of the impurities and pollutants that are deposited on the skin. If you have dry skin, use a cleansing cream or gel. For oily skins, cleansing milk or face wash may be used. You can also use a facial scrub after cleansing.
Opt for products with ingredients like sandalwood, eucalyptus, mint, neem, tulsi and aloe vera when you buy cleansers. Their anti-toxic and tonic properties help to clear skin congestion and eruptions that result from exposure to chemical pollutants.
Aloe vera, for example, is also a powerful moisturiser and an anti-oxidant. So, are ingredients like apricot kernel oil, carrot seed and wheatgerm oil. If your skin is prone to eruptive conditions like acne, pimples and rashes, it should be protected with specialised creams that reduce oiliness and deal with the problem.
After cleansing, wipe the skin with a rose-based skin tonic or rose water to complete the cleansing process and refresh the skin. Soak cotton wool in chilled rose water and tone the skin with it, patting briskly. It also improves blood circulation to the skin surface and adds a glow. Green tea also makes for a good skin toner. If there is a rash or eruptions, add a little rose water to sandalwood paste and apply on the face. Wash it off with plain water after 15 minutes.
Anti-pollution cosmetics help to provide protection and reduce the damage caused by the environment. These are basically “cover creams” that form a barrier between the skin and pollutants. Sandalwood protective cream is a good option as it soothes the skin and protects it from irritative reactions and eruptive conditions. It suits all skin types and increases the skin’s moisture retention ability as well.
Pollutants also collect on the scalp. Shampoo, hair rinses, serums and conditioners help to restore the normal balance if they contain ingredients like amla, brahmi, trifala, bhringaraj and henna. They also coat the hair and form a protective cover. Mix one teaspoon each of vinegar and honey with one egg. Massage the mixture lightly onto the scalp. Leave on for half and hour and then wash the hair. Rinse well with water.
You can also try hot oil therapy. Heat pure coconut oil and apply on the hair. Then dip a towel in hot water, squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for 5 minutes. Repeat the hot towel wrap 3 or 4 times. This helps the hair and scalp absorb the oil better. Leave the oil overnight and wash your hair the next day.
The impurities and pollutants can also affect the eyes, causing burning or redness. The eyes should be washed with plain water several times. Soak cotton wool pads in chilled rose water and use them over the eyes as eye pads. Lie down and relax for fifteen minutes. This helps to remove fatigue and brightens the eyes.
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