The beauty spot

I have heard a lot about the benefits of activated charcoal for the skin. But what do I have to keep in mind while using products containing activated charcoal?  — Vandana Patel

Activated charcoal has detoxifying properties and is a good binding agent, which is why it is used in skincare products. When used in a facemask, it helps pull out the excess oil, making the skin smooth. It also removes dirt and grime from the pores, making the skin cleaner. Do not use the mask if your skin is sensitive, allergic to the product or if you have any open cuts, wounds and lesions on your face.

I am inching towards 60 and I am used to wearing make-up. Should my make-up also, change with age? If yes, what should I keep in mind when it comes to my make-up routine? I want to look like I have aged with grace.

— Reema Punjvani

As we age, the skin undergoes a few changes. A skin, which must have been oily and taut earlier, tends to get loose, dry and develops fine lines where your make-up may get lodged. Keeping this in mind, your make-up products may need just a little modification, as the skin at 60 would probably be dry.

Buy a liquid or cream foundation, as it will spread easily and will offer maximum coverage. Since it is easy to apply, it will not leave a patchy or uneven finish. You can even try tinted moisturisers if you want a light make-up.

Exfoliate your lips once a week so that when you use your lipstick, it gives a smooth finish. I would recommend choosing liquid lipsticks and those enriched with SPF and lip balms over matte lipsticks. You can use nude shades with a corresponding lip liner since it will help define the lip margin, which is usually lost as we age.

I am in my 20s and I have recently lost a ton of weight. But I continue to have stretch marks. Is there any way I can get rid of them? I have tried products like Bio-oil but nothing has worked. — Anamika Sood

Stretch marks are indicative of how elastic the elastin fibres in the dermal layer of your skin are. Stretch marks are a result of permanent snapping of the elastin and collagen fibres in the dermis. Sudden weight loss has caused them to become visible. It may not be possible to get rid of your stretch marks completely, as once the elasticity of the skin breaks down, the repair is difficult.

One way to treat stretch marks is by using topical creams that contain retino A, retinol or other derivatives of vitamin A, as it stimulates collagen synthesis to cause the skin to heal itself over time. Laser therapy (fractional laser) can also help, as again the laser light is directed into the stretch marks in order to break down scar tissue and stimulate collagen production and elastin repair. You have to be realistic in your expectations. Do not expect the stretch marks to go away completely.

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Founder of SkinLab, Dr Jamuna Pai is a cosmetic physician and a beauty expert.

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The beauty spot

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