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Unraveling The Dilemmas Of Skincare In The Time Of Coronavirus

Dr. Kiran Sethi has all your answers!

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In these completely chaotic times, one might find talking about skincare and beauty frivolous, especially since we are spending almost all of our time indoors away from the usual skin disruptors, i.e. pollutants and sun and possibly questioning or struggling with the routine. But the truth is, even at home, we happen to face the onslaught of many pollutants and environmental triggers, with blue light and lack of fresh air being the worst culprits. Therefore, we need to use this time at home to understand the basics, revisit or overhaul our skincare routine and well, create a more functional path for self-care. And to sort out our skincare dilemmas, Runway Square writer – Karishma Gulyani had an in-depth conversation with Dr. Kiran Sethi (dermatologist and founder – ISYA Aesthetics) to demystify the idea of skincare in times of Coronavirus, common skincare concerns and even, help cultivate an effective routine that lasts beyond the pandemic.

Dr. Kiran Sethi ISYA
Dr. Kiran Sethi, dermatologist and founder – ISYA Aesthetics

Runway Square: How would you define beauty?
Dr. Kiran Sethi: Beauty is how you feel about yourself. It’s a reflection of your health, peace, confidence, and joy. So, beauty is truly a feeling!

RSQ: What makes skincare essential even when we are almost always indoor?
Dr. Kiran Sethi: Skincare is about healing your skin. Making it better. And you do it for yourself as you want your skin to be fresher and healthier. Being indoors doesn’t stop you from aging, from stress, from unhealthy food, from herbicides/pesticides in your food, and poor living habits. And your skin is the expression of your inner status and health, so caring is necessary no matter what. 

RSQ: And has your everyday skincare routine been impacted by quarantine?
Dr. Kiran Sethi: Since I now have more time for myself, I am more focused on my skincare routine, skipping less, and doing more masking. Also, I’m very interested in experimenting with DIYs. In short, It’s all been about investing in self-care.

RSQ: With social media flooded with too many DIY masking options, aren’t the chances of over-masking high? What are the things one should keep in mind when trying out a DIY treatment?
Dr. Kiran Sethi: Yes, there are huge chances of over-masking. One thing that I always suggest is to do only 1-2 DIYs a week as your skin is a barrier and too many DIYs may cause skin irritation and damage the barrier. Well, your skin is not designed to test the entire kitchen on it, so make sure there aren’t more than 3-4 ingredients in a mask after all getting the right quantity can also be tricky. Also, check the ingredients involved as some of them may cause irritation. Such as cinnamon can very often trigger rosacea, lemon can cause sun-related allergies, and toothpaste can result in caustic burn when applied to the skin. Therefore, do the research and check the right sources for options because your skin is worth your time and effort. And a 15-year-old blogger is probably not the right source, while a dermatologist will be.

Gua Sha For Face
Gua Sha For Face, Image Courtesy: Eventbrite

RSQ: Talking about at-home experiences, is there an easy yet effective treatment that you would recommend to include in our beauty rituals?
Dr. Kiran Sethi: Yes, a Gua Sha massage. It can really boost lymphatic drainage, facially tone the skin, and reduce inflammation. I think it’s one of the best treatments that one can introduce in their routine.

RSQ: And wearing a mask has become necessary when stepping out, but it can lead to inflammation, acne, or rashes when worn for a long period. So, what changes can be made to the skincare routine in such a case?
Dr. Kiran Sethi: If you are wearing a mask, be sure to opt for fewer layers in your skincare and apply Vaseline or petroleum jelly on the edges of the mask to prevent friction. And if you start to sweat, remove your mask and dab the sweat with a bio-degradable wipe and reapply the mask or if the mask has gotten wet, change it. In case of a reusable cloth mask, make sure to wash it and check for detergent residue before wearing it again. And in terms of product changes, use a salicylic acid face wash to reduce oil secretion and clarify the skin as you’ll be sweating a lot with the mask. You can try out the options from iS Clinical, Neutrogena, or Clean & Clear. You can also use Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner to help soak up the oil. Retinol lotions and Alpha-Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) face washes can help out as well. And well, make sure to avoid makeup.

skincare in times of coronavirus bioderma iS clinical neutrogena
(L-R) iS Clinical Cleansing Complex Rs. 3326, Bioderma Sebium Pore Refiner Rs. 1760, Neutrogena Deep Clean Facial Cleanser Rs. 440

RSQ: Lastly, what are the essential habits that one must always follow for a healthy glow and supple skin?
Dr. Kiran Sethi: Well, always eat healthily and don’t stress yourself. Stress results in an increased cortisol reaction which causes a lot of skin and hair issues. So, stress reduction techniques are essential. Therefore, it’s important to meditate even if for 5 minutes a day. Next thing is to exercise four days a week for an hour each time for increased blood circulation. Then we all know that drinking water is an absolute essential for good skin and health. And in the skincare routine, you want to make sure to include Vitamin C for the day and AHAs and retinol for the night. While AHAs help with skin clearing and brightening, retinol or bakuchiol work on smoothening and diminishing fine lines. And since you got to moisturize in the morning as well as at night, you have to have a good moisturizer. And never forget a proper sunblock.

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