2020 brought us a range of skincare products, ingredients and routines. And we are guilty of indulging in them. But a desi woman’s skin is different compared to the globally marketed skin type. While products are made to help skin problems, some products have an adverse effect on brown skin. Minimalist skincare offers a safer and easier routine for our skin problems. The routine believes in the ‘lesser is more’ approach towards clear healthy skin.
To better help you navigate minimalist skincare, TC46 caught up with Dr Smriti Naswa Singh, Consultant Dermatology & Cosmetology at Fortis Hospital, Mumbai. She lists 10 things Indian women need to know about minimal skincare to make the most of it.
1. Minimalist skincare = Less is more
A minimalist skincare routine eliminates excess skin products, and uses only basic products which your skin needs. It also means choosing products that are very low on added preservatives, and don’t have parabens. When we use many products on our skin, we don’t know which product would cause allergies or damage to the skin. Hence, it is best to choose products which have the least number of ingredients.
2. Stick to the basics: Cleanse, moisturise, use sun protection
Moisturizer is the mainstay of skincare. A good moisturizer for the face and one for the body is a must for everyone. A good cleanser, according to skin type, comes on number 2 of the routine. If a person has a routine sun exposure, sunscreen must come 3rd in the list. These suffice for the majority of people.
3. A minimalist skincare routine is not the same as a complete skincare routine
Minimalist skincare routine includes moisturizer, face wash, and sunscreen when going outdoors. Complete skincare routine will need you to add on one night cream according to your skin’s needs (as per age, skin problems like acne, pigmentation and ageing skin, weather, skin type) over and above the previously mentioned three products. This will also include weekly exfoliation, under-eye creams, lip balms, creams for hands and feet as these areas have different skin that face & body, needing special attention at times (especially with advancing age and those with dry skin). When the professional demands or personal preferences makes one use makeup daily, getting exposed to pollutants daily, a complete skincare routine also adds cleansing milk to clear up the makeup and pollutants.
4. Use products with fewer ingredients to help your skin detox
Absolutely. I am a believer in letting the skin breathe. Fewer ingredients are akin to a clean diet with less processing and packaging. The preservatives, fragrance, colouring agents can be independent causes of allergies to certain skins. So minimal ingredients are key to a healthy skin regime.
5. Choose products based on your skin type
One should always know their skin type and choose their products carefully.
1. Dry skin
- A cleanser which has Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol as non-lathering detergents is a good idea.
- Stay away from Sulphates and harsh alcohols like SD alcohol 40, denatured alcohol, Ethanol, and Isopropyl alcohol.
- Moisturise using hydrating ingredients like ceramides, or natural mimickers like carrot oil, jojoba oil or evening primrose oil
- Sunscreens can be cream-based.
2. Oily, acne-prone skin
- A cleanser which has alpha-hydroxy acids.
- The sunscreen shouldn’t contain Octinoxate as it can cause acne, and moisturizers should be non-comedogenic.
- Prefer lotion and gel-based products over cream-based products.
3. Sensitive skin
- Sulphate-free cleansers. They should not use soaps
- Products which are fragrance & colour free.
6. Minimalist skincare is suitable for all skin types, including sensitive, irritated skin
Yes. Minimalist skincare is advisable to all. Certain skins with advanced ageing changes like deep wrinkles, freckles, sun spots, seborrheic keratoses need more than a minimalist routine. Those with active acne need night creams and anti-acne therapy. People with pigmentation also need regimes and products advised by Dermatologists to counter their pigmentation. And those with photosensitive skin like rosacea, or SLE need extra care. People with constant exposure to pollutants and sun due to the nature of their job, erratic work, irregular sleep schedules need more than minimalist skincare. The professions like airlines and those in the beauty industry models and actors need to upkeep their skin and need a complete skincare routine.
7. You can use desi nuskhe in your minimalist skincare routine
For dry skin, having an aloe vera plant and applying the gel on the skin helps. Walnut or Almond-based scrubs are good exfoliators, used once weekly if you have excessively dry skin. For acne-prone skin, Multani mitti, sandalwood and turmeric packs help in clearing acne. Ubtan or face packs made of dahi, honey and turmeric help those with acne-prone skin while milk with honey helps with dry skin.
7 Minimalist Skincare Tips You Should Follow
- Don’t get overzealous with products
- You can always try a new product on the back of your ear or inner side of your arm and see if there is a reaction for 48 hours, if not, go ahead with it
- Do not overzealously scrub your skin especially if you have acne or pigmentation problems, because that will aggravate both your acne and dark spots
- Trying to remove blackheads and whiteheads without sufficient knowledge, actually spreads the fatty acids to other parts of the skin and inflame it
- Too many products can make your skin irritated, allergic, dry and red.
- Insufficient moisturizing after cleansing routines can also strip your skin of natural moisturizing factors
- Physical sun protection is equally important as chemical sunscreens when out in the sun