We all want healthy, glowing skin but as the conversation around skincare continues to grow, so does consumers’ confusion. How many products are too many? How to find the best products and treatments for my skin type? Am I applying the products in the correct order? Which active ingredients to pair and which to avoid? And a bazillion such questions come to one’s mind today because it’s no longer a case of simply cleansing and moisturising. If you too are finding yourself constantly wondering about such concerns, then it’s time to pick up a copy of celebrity cosmetic dermatologist and author Dr Jaishree Sharad’s new book – The Skincare Answer Book - published by Penguin India.
The book was launched in Mumbai by mother-son duo Neetu and Ranbir Kapoor, and it features testimonials and messages by the who’s who of Bollywood actors including Amitabh Bachchan and Alia Bhatt. The Skincare Answer Book is the beauty expert’s third book, the previous two being: Skin Talks (2014) and Skin Rules (2018).
In conversation with Zee Zest, Dr Jaishree sheds more light on what The Skincare Answer Book is all about, and the motivation behind it, and points out some of the most common skincare mistakes we are making today.
Read the edited excerpts below:
1. Tell us a bit about your new book The Skincare Answer Book?
During lockdown, I used to do an Instagram live on skin care almost every day. I also did ‘Ask Me Anything’ on Instagram stories with a topic about skin every week. Each topic eventually became a chapter in this book.
I compiled legit questions which were asked by my followers and answered them. That’s how the Skincare Answer Book happened. From questions on cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreens, serums, active skin ingredients, acne, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, skincare tools, fungal infections, hair fall, dandruff, common skin problems, dark circles, dark lips, etc. to questions on anti-ageing and skin treatments, this book has all the answers. The format is simple. It is an easy read for all age groups and all genders.
2. What are the key takeaways from The Skincare Answer Book?
Skincare is holistic. Skin is the largest organ of your body and not just a piece of beauty. It has many functions and is also the window to our internal health. Hence, it is important to take care of our skin. Skincare should comprise an AM to PM routine depending on your skin type.
Apart from this, a healthy lifestyle, which includes a sugar-free diet, adequate sleep, exercise, no smoking, and no alcohol is extremely important.
It is also important to learn to cope with stress and not let stress affect your skin. Every skin is unique, so what suits your favourite star may not suit you. A 10-step skincare routine is not necessary.
3. What are the top concerns addressed in your book?
Acne, hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, hair fall, and common skin infections are a few of the top concerns addressed in The Skincare Answer Book.
4. What are some of the most common skincare mistakes people are making today?
1. Not using sunscreen when indoors: Many people assume that they don't need sunscreen if they are spending most of their day indoors. But studies have shown that UVA rays can penetrate through glass and contribute to premature ageing, wrinkles, and skin cancer. So, it's crucial to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 every day, even if you're staying indoors.
2. Not moisturising during summers or in case of oily skin: Moisturising is an essential step in any skincare routine, regardless of the season or skin type. Many people with oily skin tend to skip this step, thinking it will make their skin greasy. However, when your skin is dehydrated, it can produce even more oil to compensate, leading to a vicious cycle. Also, the summer heat and humidity may cause dehydration, making it essential to moisturise oily skin.
3. Layering the face with too many products: It's easy to get carried away with skincare and start layering your skin with multiple products. However, using too many products can lead to irritation, clogged pores, and breakouts. Instead, it's best to keep your skincare routine simple and effective.
4. Using the wrong combinations: When it comes to skincare, it's important to understand which products work well together and which don't. Using the wrong combinations can lead to irritation, dryness, or even damage to the skin barrier.
For example, mixing retinol with an exfoliating acid such as AHA or BHA or even vitamin C can be too harsh for the skin, leading to redness, irritation and peeling. Therefore, it's crucial to read the labels and consult a skincare expert, if you're unsure about combining products.
5. Using products that their favourite actors use regardless of their skin type: It's common to get influenced by social media or celebrities and try out the products that they use. However, what works for someone else may not necessarily work for you, especially when it comes to skincare.
Your skin type, concerns, and sensitivities may be different, and using the wrong products can worsen your skin's condition. Therefore, it's essential to do your research, consult a dermatologist, and conduct a patch test of new products before incorporating them into your skincare routine.
5. Hyperpigmentation seems to be inescapable for most people today, and is one of the most challenging issues to deal with. How is it caused?
Skin hyperpigmentation is the darker discolouration of a certain area of your body, as compared to your normal skin colour. It is important to identify the causes to treat hyperpigmentation.
Some of the most common causes of hyperpigmentation include sun exposure, allergy to cosmetics, hair dyes or perfumes; drugs, oral contraceptive pills, hormone pills, damage to the skin due to an injury, hormonal imbalance, obesity, menopause, stress, smoking, pregnancy, Vitamin B3 or niacin deficiency, Vitamin B12 deficiency, thyroid disorder, insulin resistance, and an overly aggressive skincare treatment.
6. How can hyperpigmented be tackled?
No matter what the cause, it is important to avoid sun exposure, steam, sauna, fragrance, over-exfoliation, PPD-based hair colour, sugar, and smoking.
Use a vitamin C-based serum in the morning and don't forget to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, even when indoors. You must also use a pigment lightening cream with ingredients such as liquorice, arbutin, kojic acid, etc. at bedtime. Take antioxidant supplements and have brightly coloured fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants.
7. What is your favourite skincare ingredient currently and why?
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative. It caters to all genders and all age groups from teens with acne to those even above 60 for anti-ageing.
It regulates sebaceous gland activity, thereby helping to control oil secretion and acne. This ingredient causes mild exfoliation and helps to improve skin texture. It reduces pigmentation and helps to maintain an even skin tone. Retinol also stimulates collagen and elastin formation, thus, helping in the reduction of fine lines and size of pores. It also prevents wrinkle formation and improves the firmness of the skin.