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Recently, a middle aged patient suffering from a case of acne that had been exacerbated due to the summer heat visited me. She produced a ‘photoshopped’ photograph of herself with a glowing, flawless complexion and demanded that I make her look like that immediately.

My best attempts to convince her that this was impossible did nothing but agitate her… she eventually left in a huff, calling me names and questioning my qualifications.
Summer is a challenging time for all skin types, but if you have troublesome skin then you have to be extra careful.

If you have excessively oily and/or acne-prone skin, use oil-controlling lipophilic peels, clay masks with anti-sebum properties and water-based toners with glycolic acid and sebum controlling agents. Apply them as directed and avoid moisturising.

People with dry skin are likely to develop an uneven skin tone during the summer months; cream cleansers are beneficial in this case; use a combination cream daily and add a hydrating serum at bedtime for an extra glow.

People with combination skin will enjoy summer the most as their skin stays hydrated by natural oils. To enhance the summer glow, exfoliate twice a week to remove dead skin. Another option to consider is a mechanical peel (micro-dermabrasion) once every six weeks.

However, it is best to consult a specialist before using any of the products. do keep in mind that these products only offer temporary and superficial makeovers; your complexion depends on a myriad of factors, such as genes, health, diet, exercise, and stress levels.
Although I try to explain this to all my patients, most of them simply don’t get it. Like the lady who came the other day, demanding that I find a way to lighten her daughter’s dusky skin – within a month – as she wanted her to marry a man who wanted a fair bride. Now that is really asking for the stars!

– Dr Seema Zia
The writer is a cosmetic and clinical dermatologist at Ziauddin Medical University Hospital.

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on June 24, 2012.

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