With Ramadan fast approaching, now is the time to start adding some beautifying boosts to your skincare routine to help you look and feel better than ever during the holy month. Not only do you need to factor in the rising heat and humidity, which – yes – will affect you even if you’re cooped up indoors, but it’s also a time to really focus on what you’re putting onto your skin and into your body to make sure you’re loading up on all the good stuff.
“The skin is the largest organ in the human body and one of the most powerful indicators of health. Everything from dry skin, oily skin, acne, inflammation, and even wrinkles are all signs of poor internal health, often exacerbated by the consumption of unhealthful foods and avoiding skin-healthy nutrients,” says Sinead Scott, resident nutritionist at Talise Wellness. So, on that note, Savoir Flair tapped leading health and skin experts across Dubai to get their top tips on getting your skin ready for Ramadan. Here’s what they had to say.
Kick the Caffeine
Sorry coffee lovers, but it’s time to cut back on the caffeine if you want healthy, beautiful skin – and the sooner, the better. “The trick to taking care of your skin in Ramadan is to avoid certain foods and drinks. Caffeine and sodas are known to suck out the minerals in the body, which has a negative effect on your skin,” explains Rebecca Treston, skincare expert.
The perfect thing to snack on for your skin before Ramadan? Nuts. As Treston tells us, “Eating nuts like cashews and almonds plays a big role in rejuvenating your skin because they contain large percentages of fibers and fatty acids.”
Shun the Sugar
The negative effects of sugar on our bodies are endless, but the same goes for skin, too. It is seriously aging, causes breakouts, weakens the immune system, causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin that leads to saggy skin and wrinkles – you get the gist. So take this week to swear off the sweet stuff! Yes, that means no more stress-baking banana bread…
“During Ramadan, we often eat too much sugar thanks to all the nice sweets and food on the table during iftar and suhoor,” says Edwige Gandin, Beautician and skincare expert at Pastels. “Sugar can weaken our immune system, and our bodies aren’t as effective at fighting off bacteria when our immune systems are suppressed – a leading cause of acne and other inflammatory skin conditions.”
Skip the Sun
Not only do the sun and heat cause dehydration (not what you want for beautiful skin), but they can also really stress out your skin. So during the hot summer months, you should shun the sun. “If you are running errands in the morning, try to avoid the sun and walk in the shade whenever you can and, of course, always apply sunblock to your skin before you head out,” advises Treston.
This, of course, also applies to sitting out on your balcony or in your garden while social distancing. Plus, a good protecting product will prevent damage caused by blue light and all the extra screen time we’re currently subjected to.
Now’s the time to not only focus on eating clean and wholesome foods, but also use natural, organic skincare products that are free from harmful and aggressive nasties to make sure your skin is healthy – both inside and out. “The key to treating skin problems is to treat from the ‘inside out’, not applying expensive, chemical-laden beauty products that do little to address the root cause of the problem, which is usually poor nutrition and exposure to toxins in dietary and personal care products,” says Scott.
Go for H2O
We all know about the health and beauty benefits of water, but now’s the time to really maximize its skin-saving powers. “Load up on water and plenty of superfoods, so that you can get the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals into your body before Ramadan begins. This will give your skin the best possible chance to survive the fasting period without compromising too much on how it looks,” Treston tells us.
“Your skin – and you – will become dehydrated, and water helps to plump up your skin, so you can imagine what dehydration does to it! When you don’t drink enough water, the collagen begins to crack and bind together, causing fine lines and wrinkles to become more noticeable. We rely on water to keep our insides sufficiently hydrated, too. So when you ditch it, expect your mouth, skin, and everything else to feel drier than normal.”
Snack on Superfoods
“Prior to Ramadan – aside from drinking plenty of water – ensure you get organic hydration from fresh fruits and vegetables, too, as this will ensure toxins are flushed out,” recommends Koehein. “Superfoods like açai berries have vitamins A, C, and E, which can help with the regeneration of the skin. Also eat lots of fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, and fish as they will help repair your skin.”
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
During fasting, your skin can easily lose moisture and lack hydration, so now is when you need to start loading it with super moisturizing products – one of Treston’s top tips. “To take care of your skin in the run-up to Ramadan and during the month itself, you shouldn’t neglect it. After washing your face with lukewarm water, make sure to hydrate your skin as it has probably lost a lot of its moisture due to fasting.”
Ditch the Dairy
“Dairy products are often linked to acne and breakouts, so stay away from kunafa and other Ramadan desserts to prevent your skin from breaking out,” recommends Treston. There are lots of alternatives available, so try to swap your regular milk for almond or rice milk in the run-up to Ramadan.
According to Scott, “You need to address any mineral deficiencies and focus on gut health to treat from the inside out. Everyone is familiar with vitamin A, C, and E for skin health, but there are key minerals that you also need.” Silica is a trace mineral that strengthens the body’s connective tissues and is vital for healthy skin. A silica deficiency can result in reduced skin elasticity and hamper the body’s ability to heal wounds. Food sources of silica include celery, leeks, green beans, cucumber, celery, asparagus, strawberries, and mango.
Zinc is also important for skin health, especially for acne sufferers. In fact, acne itself may be a symptom of a zinc deficiency. It acts by controlling the production of oil in the skin and may also help control some of the hormones that create acne. Foods rich in zinc include pumpkin seeds, ginger, pecans, Brazil nuts, and oats.
Add an Oil
For an extra hydrating boost in your skincare – and even in your makeup routine – it’s time to add an oil for an extra hit of hydration. “If you sleep with the A/C on, chances are your skin will become very dehydrated, so you can add a drop of almond or avocado oil to your night cream to avoid this happening,” recommends Gandin.
Try a Treatment
Facials are one of the best ways to load skin with beneficial ingredients, so when things are back to normal, why not book in for a bit of pampering to give your beauty regimen a kickstart? Just make sure you’re getting the right treatment for your skin’s needs during the run-up to Ramadan. “As this Ramadan is occurring during the hot and humid summer weather, treatments should be on the gentler side,” advises Treston.
“Exfoliating treatments such as milk peels are perfect – or try a spectra laser peel to give you a gorgeous glow. To hydrate the skin, try mesotherapy or a hydrafacial. Finally, for an extra boost, a SEYO treatment will infuse the skin with vitamins and nutrients.” And until your go-to spa or salon is open again, here’s how to give yourself the ultimate at-home facial instead.