Akinkugbe: Routine care, exercise and healthy diet help the skin

Skin care PHOTO:

Skin care PHOTO:

Dr. Ayesha Akinkugbe is a Consultant Dermatologist and Genito-Urinary Physician at the College of Medicine, University of Lagos. She spoke with GERALDINE AKUTU on effective care of the skin and what skin care products to avoid.

What causes dull skin?
A dull skin tone occurs, when the skin is deprived of the much needed oxygen and nutrients. There are many factors that can lead to a dull skin tone. However, one of the most common causes is dryness. Factors that may trigger a dull skin tone include, dehydration: not taking enough water; poor diet, use of makeup that over-mattifies the skin, poor sleep, smoking, living in an environment that is heavily polluted, inadequate photo protection, increase in stress levels, and poor exfoliation. Proper exfoliation gets rid of dead skin cells that can accumulate and cause dull skin.

How can one identify harmful skin care products?
It’s simple. Always read the ingredients of whatever skin care products you are purchasing, look out for ingredients that have been banned and others that are harmful to the skin. If you purchase a cream or lotion that changes your skin colour, be rest assured that it may be harmful in the long run. Do not go purchasing products that have no ingredients listed, just because a friend recommends it. Several products contain allergens, which people react to differently.

What is the ideal skin care product to look out for?
There is no ideal skin care product, as we are all different individuals. What works for Mr. A may not work for Mr. B. The key thing is to identify the product that agrees with your skin – it should moisturise and protect the skin and not destroy it.
What healthy lifestyle is needed to maintain a healthy and good-looking skin?

Good-looking skin starts from the inside. So, I recommend a good, balanced diet, devoid of junk food, as well as a reduction in greasy food intake. Aerobic exercises also help the skin. People should develop a good skin care routine, which should include the avoidance of harsh and drying skin products and moisturising the skin adequately. It is also important to exfoliate at least once a week, and good photo protection, using sunscreen regularly and properly.

When people develop any skin problem, they shouldn’t self-medicate. It is advisable to consult a professional, but if after seeing a doctor there is no improvement, then ask to be referred to a specialist i.e. a dermatologist.

What does exfoliation entails?
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the uppermost layer of the skin- the epidermis. It may be achieved mechanically or chemically. The entire skin (not just the facial skin) can and should be exfoliated, to rejuvenate the skin, improve blood circulation and reveal à healthy glow. The frequency of exfoliation depends on the type of exfoliation being done, individual skin type and any prevalent medical condition.

Can you give few tips on how to exfoliate?
Daily gentle sponging on the body with a loofah or body brush is encouraged.
Generally speaking, oily skin types need more frequent exfoliation compared with dry and sensitive skin.
Daily facial exfoliation with scrubs and more abrasive materials is discouraged.
Gentle exfoliation with facial cleansers embedded with microbeads and applied in mild circular motions by the fingers may be done 2-3 times weekly for oily skin types. Sponging the face is discouraged.

Blended oats soaked in water can be used as a simple exfoliant.
Professional exfoliation with chemical peels, microdermabrasion and other such procedures can be done with your dermatologist.

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