A Dermatologist’s Guide to Achieving Luminous Skin

Cosmo speaks to Dr Aparna Santhanam on the ingredients that one should be looking out for as per their skin type to target specific concerns. Bonus: we also have some great product recommendations inside.

A large part of self-care during the pandemic has been associated with skincare. Since most of us have been home-bound for almost a year-and-half, achieving ‘the best skin ever’ has been one of the major goals for many. However, as we are exposed to a lot of products on a daily basis, picking the right one to treat specific concerns can be a bit tricky. And that’s why it is important to read the label to understand what goes into making your favourite products, and do those ingredients actually help make a difference to your skin. 

Cosmo spoke to leading dermatologist Dr Aparna Santhanam, Skin Expert for ITC Charmis to understand different ingredients to come up with a few product recommendations for a minimal, stress-free skincare routine.

Cosmo: If one likes a no-fuss skincare regimen, what are the products one should incorporate?

Dr Aparna Santhanam: “I am all for a no-fuss regimen when it comes to skincare, but it is important to understand that a no-fuss regimen is still a regimen—which means regularity and discipline every day. I am a big advocate of the three-step approach or the ‘1-2-3 regimen’, which involves cleansing, toning, and moisturising followed by a full-spectrum sunscreen. If you are over the age of 30, I recommend adding an anti-ageing serum at night.”

C: What is the most essential step in skincare, according to you?

DAS: “For the Indian weather, thoroughly cleansing skin and using a strong formula to protect it are two very important steps. I always advise my clients to diligently use a sunscreen before considering any skincare interventions as well.”

C: What is the correct way of applying a serum?

DAS: “A serum is a beautiful, lightweight product with potent ingredients that helps with specific skin concerns. One should take a pea-sized amount and apply it in circular, upward motions before moisturising the face and neck.”

C: What ingredients should one look for in their skincare products if they have acne-prone skin?

DAS: “On the packaging, look for words like ‘oil control’, ‘oil balance’ and ‘non-comedogenic’. In terms of ingredients, salicylic acid, niacinamide and Vitamin C work well for acne-prone skin types.”

C: What are the benefits of these above-mentioned ingredients?

DAS: “Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid. It is well-known for reducing acne by being oil soluble, exfoliating the skin, and keeping pores clear. Topical 2% niacinamide was found in one study to lower sebum excretion rate and casual sebum levels. Excess oil can cause breakouts, so niacinamide’s ability to regulate oil production may help prevent it, especially in oily skin types. And Vitamin C is a potent, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant which helps in reducing inflammatory acne.”

C: Salicylic acid is a well-known zit banisher, but it can often leave skin feeling dry. What should one do to combat dryness and ensure it doesn't aggravate the skin?

DAS: “It is very important to use a good hydrator while using salicylic acid. Newer formats like gels and gel fluids are very compatible with oily skin types and yet, prevent dryness. It is also important to avoid alcohol-based toners, which further aggravate dryness.”

C: Why is it important to inculcate Vitamin C as a part of your daily skin routine—is the ingredient usage season specific or should it be used year round, much like sunscreen?

DAS: “Topical Vitamin C has shown to protect the skin from UV damage caused by prolonged sun exposure by reducing the amount of free radical formation and sunburn cells. Exposure to UV light has also shown to decrease the naturally occurring Vitamin C levels in the skin. Vitamin C also brightens, protects, and adds glow to the skin. It is pretty much a regular ingredient that can be used year-round for maximum benefits.”

C: Is there one holy-grail ingredient when it comes to boosting skin's glow?   

DAS: “A lot of people consider Vitamin C as a wonder glow ingredient. But that alone cannot award you with glowing skin—a regular skincare routine along with a good diet and lifestyle habits are essential too. I would also recommend adding salicylic acid and hyaluronic acid into your skin routine.  It is important to follow a ‘1-2-3 regimen’ (as I mentioned earlier), along with the right face wash and sunscreen to get a luminous complexion.”

C: While most people concentrate on their face and neck, they often forget that their hands need some TLC, too. How can we take better care of the skin on our hands, given that we are washing them very often and using alcohol-based sanitisers, which can leave them dry and flaky?

DAS: “It’s a very important step to consider. Hands age fast and sometimes betray us in our quest to look young. Use a moisturiser every time you wash your hands or sanitise them. When you moisturise your face, as a routine a hand cream can be applied on the hands right after so as to not forget them! I always recommend adding a hand cream to one’s daily skincare routine, so it is not an afterthought. Also, applying a Vitamin C-rich hand cream or serum on the back of the hands will refine the texture as well.”

We did a little research, and basis Dr Aparna’s skincare tips, we have zeroed in on a few products to ensure your skin gets the love it deserves while looking healthy and plump.




Charmis Deep Radiance Face Wash, INR 180

According to Dr Aparna, cleansing is one of the most important steps of our AM and PM routines. And a good cleanser’s job is not limited to just getting rid of grime. It helps prepare skin for the next steps in your regimen. This gentle cleanser by Charmis is formulated with Vitamin C, hyaluronic acid and salicylic acid, which help brighten skin, keep it hydrated and wash away 99.9% acne-causing bacteria. Your skin feels revived every time you wash it and it also leaves a healthy glow on skin.

Charmis Deep Radiance Face Serum, INR 210

Serums pack in a mix of strong ingredients, which together help tackle various skin concerns. To be used before your morning and night-time moisturiser, Charmis Deep Radiance Face Serum is a non-sticky, quick-absorbing formula that penetrates deep in the skin. Just like the Charmis face wash, this formula, too, is created with the winning combination of Vit C, hyaluronic acid, and salicylic acid. The Vitamin C in the mix is a powerful antioxidant which helps reverse skin damage caused by UV rays and leaves you looking radiant, while hyaluronic acid attracts moisture and locks it in to ensure your skin is well-hydrated. Salicylic acid helps exfoliate skin for a clear complexion.


Charmis Deep Radiance Hand Cream, INR 180

Just like our face and neck, our hands require TLC, too, to keep dryness, flaky skin, and pigmentation at bay. Charmis’ Deep Radiance Hand Cream is a non-sticky, fast-absorbing formula that doesn’t just hydrate skin, but also protects your hands from 99.9% bacteria. All you need is a dollop of this hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C-rich cream to revive your tired hand...just massage it on to your hands until the formula is fully absorbed.