Skin sense Magazine

Look the best for your age

Dr. Jamuna Pai's book 'No one has to know'.

Dr. Jamuna Pai's book 'No one has to know'.  

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Celebrity beauty expert Dr. Jamuna Pai discusses skin, aging, and her latest book No One Has To know.

Dr. Jamuna Pai’s philosophies of beautification are as refreshing as her facials. She will tell you to ‘Embrace yourself!’ and that ‘Brown is beautiful’ but, in the same breath, will also emphasise that a patchy brown skin is not. Perhaps that is what makes her arguably the most sought-after skin expert in the business. She expertly combines science with common sense to cater to what she calls as our ‘primal need to be and look attractive’.

“From the moment you are a little twinkle in someone’s eye to the moment you are a twinkle in the sky, you are ageing. Skin, just like all other organs, degenerates over the years from birth to death. It is a biological creativity and needs to be embraced.” She reads from her latest book No One Has To Know. After all, there is an ‘oh-so-delicate balance between enhancement and transformation, and transformation and mutation’. She should know — she has spent decades in the skincare industry, pioneering several clinical treatments with a galaxy of stars and influencers testimony to her expertise.

Dr. Pai confesses to having prioritised beautification since she was 10. Many years later, as a doctor with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and a mother to two boys, she did not have much time for her passion. So when an opportunity came to combine her medical knowledge with her love for beautification, she jumped at it. And the first Blush Clinic was set up in 1994. But, in a beauty-obsessed country, Dr. Pai surprisingly found herself starting from scratch. The 1990s were a time when there were no standards or protocols to treat Indian skin, so she customised and tested every procedure by and on herself.

“When we talk of Indian skin, we are talking about more melanin in the skin, exposure to an overall tropical climate, more pollution and genetics, of course. But, otherwise, our skin is the same as the rest of the world,” says the medical cosmetologist who was the first to introduce Botox in India. Unfortunately, the one major differentiator in our skin type is also the one society shuns. Melanin is the skin’s sun coat; it shields the body from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays and reduces the damage to the skin. Thus, the more melanin we have, the slower we age. The catch: the more melanin we have, the darker our skin tone is.

To emphasis the extent of our obsession with fair skin, Dr. Pai recounts her interaction with an “extraordinary” client in her book:

“She refused to make eye contact. She cried while I was talking. She was least interested in what I was saying and, at one unforgettable point, started to drool all over her pretty little dress."

“She was nine months old."

“…They (her parents) asked me, very seriously, if there was something I could do to make their nine-month-old baby fairer. They were very concerned about her skin colour and thought that if they started early, they would be able to maintain her complexion over time. Or at least prevent it from darkening further.”

Of course, their unusual request was turned down, but it also made Dr. Pai unhappy that our society wanted to change that very quality of our skin that protects us form cancer, sunburn and ageing. “I have been training Miss India contestants for 20 years now, and I can tell you that they are not looking at how fair the girls are. They love the brown in our skin; they love that we speak English fluently; they love that we are beauties with brains,” she says triumphantly.

The key is in realising that skin is another organ that needs to be taken care of. In fact, the skin is the largest organ in the human body. It defines the way we look on the outside and reflects our body’s health within. “When you are talking about aging, you are not talking about the aging of your heart, lungs or pancreas, but about what you can see: the skin’s cutaneous aging — the lines, dark circles, receding hairline, bald patch, wrinkles and so on,” says Dr. Pai.

The treatments and procedures offered at Dr. Pai’s Blush clinics are a part of the ‘beautification’ process to help improve the skin’s health thereby slowing down the signs of aging. Also intrinsic to the process of aging is acceptance: “Aging is a beautiful part of your life, why do you want to erase that? The point is to look the best for your age. If at 60, someone says you look 50; that is very nice. But, at 60 or 70 years, you don’t want to look like you are 30.”

This philosophy is fundamental to her most recent book No One Has To Know. “People who see me think ‘god has made her like that’. What they don’t know is how I have evolved, learned from my clients, learned what looks better, made changes… I wanted to show them the journey and those little things that will make a difference, and hence the endeavour to write a book.”

What makes this book different is that it doesn’t assume you know the basics. It starts right from the science of skin and goes on to explain the big and the small ‘e’s’ of skin care from exfoliation, eating and exercise to emergence of new techniques and choosing the right expert for your skin.

When you go about it right, the changes in your skin will be sure but subtle. “Whether they are exercising, drinking more water, are less constipated, eating right or Botox… what it is no one has to know.”

No one has to know: Dr. Jamuna Pai, HarperCollins, Rs. 182.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2019 12:18:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/magazine/skin-sense-look-the-best-for-your-age/article7040071.ece

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