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SkinI have said this before and cannot stress it enough. Dermatologists are not magicians, they are doctors qualified to treat serious skin problems. However, the truth is that the majority of patients come to dermatologists seeking cosmetic help – fortunately, I am qualified to fix most of those complaints too.

Our society has an unhealthy obsession with skin colour which drives people, especially women, to experiment with all kinds of skin lightening treatments, creams, gels, masks, peels and whatnots. This is followed closely by the desire to look young and wrinkle free.

To all these people I would say: You cannot change nature’s intent nor can you turn the tide of time, but you can make skin-care a part of your lifestyle, so that you have healthy skin, an even tone, clean pores and a youthful glow.

It’s bewildering when patients expect their troubled skin to be transformed into a glowing one overnight. Even the latest technology cannot bring about sudden and overnight improvement because good skin is a lifestyle; it’s a combination of healthy eating habits and persistent use of appropriate treatments and products.

My advice: Avoid quick fixes and develop good skin care habits. First, understand your skin type and choose products accordingly. For improvements to be visible you need to follow a regimen with regularity. Those with troubled skin should seek help from professionals to avoid exacerbating the problem.

I cannot stress enough the importance of sun block even if sun exposure is minimal. This keeps skin tone even and the tan at bay (it will not make you fairer though). Regular sun block usage also slows down the skin’s aging process, keeping it youthful and smooth. Sun block is advised even when indoors.

Don’t forget to moisturise daily; cleanse every night to remove the day’s dirt and makeup. Every so often, exfoliate to slough off dulling dead cells, drink water to hydrate, eat plenty of fruit and vegetables, exercise, and most importantly, get lots of rest to keep your skin glowing, youthful and naturally beautiful. And then any skin care treatment you have done will have even better results.

– Dr Seema Zia
The writer is Consultant Dermatologist at Ziauddin Medical University Hospital.

First published in the Health Advertiser Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on January 13, 2013.