Dr Shah Hussain
Q: What does a mattifying gel do? My skin type is oily and acne-prone. Fatima, Karachi
A: A mattifying gel helps control and absorb excess oil, providing a matte finish to the skin. It also minimises the appearance of enlarged pores. It can be used in your daily routine instead of powder. It can also be used as a primer, especially since you have oily skin.
Q: I am in my early teens and want my skin to glow. How should I take care of my skin? Daniya, Lahore
A: Skin-care is extremely important at this age. Junk food, irregular sleep patterns, stress, exposure to the sun and pollution could take a toll on the skin, making it dull and lifeless. Acne, dandruff, hair loss, grey hair and even early wrinkles could occur due to improper care. You must have plenty of brightly coloured fruits and vegetables like carrots, tomatoes, oranges, cherries, plums, berries, red grapes, spinach and broccoli. These are high in antioxidants, especially vitamin C, E, beta carotene and selenium. Antioxidants reduce free radicals and protect the skin from oxidative damage, thus helping your skin remain youthful and glowing. You should drink six to eight glasses of water daily to stay hydrated. As far as skin-care is concerned, avoid experimenting with different soaps and shampoos. Use a mild face wash and do not go out without applying sunscreen with an SPF of 30. It is even better if you carry an umbrella. Do not use too much makeup as this could block your pores and increase whiteheads and blackheads. If you have dry skin, don't forget to apply a moisturiser on slightly moist skin. You could use a scrub once a week. A microdermabrasion treatment once in two months will also help cleanse the skin.
Q: I bathe every morning, but I find that by mid-afternoon I tend to have body odour, despite using deodorants. What can I do about this? Seema, Multan
A: Sweat itself does not smell, but it is a good breeding ground for the bacteria that naturally live on our skin. The bacteria break down sweat into fatty acids that produce the unpleasant odour. To avoid body odour, avoid wearing synthetic and tight-fitting clothes. Underarm hair provides a greater surface area for sweat to adhere to and gives the bacteria a fertile breeding ground. So, it is advisable to keep the underarms shaved. It is also essential to wash clothes thoroughly. Particularly clothing that comes into contact with sweaty areas. Use deodorants with aluminium or zinc, as these metals kill odour-causing bacteria. There are some people whose body odour is too strong and deodorants and perfumes don't work on them, while others have very sensitive skin that reacts to deodorants. In such cases, antibacterial soaps are a good option. Anti-fungal powder also helps absorb sweat. Non-fragrant anti-perspirants can also be used.