Sarah Ballantyne stopped using soap on her body years ago. This medical biophysicist turned author uses only water to wash. Closer home, Milind Soman also revealed he doesn’t use soap. So, is this the right way to bathe? Dr Apratim Goel, dermatologist, Cutis Skin Solution, Mumbai explains, “Soap is alkaline in nature and this helps control the growth of bacteria and viruses while removing the excess oil and sebum from our skin. It is therefore important to include it in our bath.”
Dr Renita Rajan, chief consultant dermatologist, RENDER Skin and Hair, Chennai says it is ideal to bathe at least once a day. “As the humid climate in our country makes us sweat, anything less is not practical.” And downright unhygienic.
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser before you step into the bath area. Stick to lukewarm water to bathe.
“Hot water can leave your skin dehydrated and sensitive,” she says. Start with your neck and wash the entire body downwards. Remember to clean in the crevices: between your toes, your armpits.
Dr Rajan suggests using soap with a pH between five and six. “This is very close to the natural pH of the skin and will not strip a lot of moisture making it excessively dry,” she says. It is best to use soap not overloaded with perfume and artificial colours in it. “Such products can irritate the skin. We should also avoid excessive physical exfoliation. A lot of scrubbing and rubbing can lead to pigmentation on Indian skin,” she adds.
Shampoo v/s conditioner
Wash your hair thrice a week with shampoo and conditioner. “The purpose of shampoo and conditioner is different so using a two in one product, may not give the desired results. While shampooing, concentrate on the scalp and the roots,” says Dr Goel. Wash it off with lukewarm water before applying the conditioner. While a shampoo helps to open up the cuticles, the conditioner works to close them. “Make sure the conditioner does not touch the roots as it makes the hair limp and lose its volume. Leave it on for two to five minutes before you wash this off in cold water.”
People with short hair can use a hair serum instead of a conditioner. Squeeze out a few drops of it and run it through the scalp on towell-dried hair. “It will take care of the frizz,” explains Dr Goel.
Once done with the bath, towel dry and apply moisturiser to keep the skin hydrated.
What does Ayurveda say?
Ayurveda recommends a daily bath early in the morning. “ Snana or bath is much discussed in Ayurveda. We should oil our head, feet and ears every day before our bath. This helps to improve circulation,” says Dr Valsala Varrier, chief medical officer, Arya Vaidya Sala Kottakkal, Coimbatore.
She suggests using green gram powder or gram flour to wash off this oil from your head and body. “We can also use thaali, a paste made by grinding the leaves and flowers of hibiscus and henna on the head. This cleanses and cools. Always remember to wash the body with lukewarm water and the head in cold water,” she says.
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