Jakarta. Halfway through the fasting month, many people experience dry, flaky skin that gets itchy and sometimes painful too.
"It's the common symptoms of dehydrated skin," dermatologist, Dr. Fadila Zitria, said during a discussion hosted by Vienna Beauty Care in Jakarta on Tuesday (13/06).
"It normally happens during the fasting month, because, when we fast, we withhold from eating and drinking for more than 12 hours and it impacts our skin," she added.
But do not worry. There are lots you can do to prevent your skin from wasting away during the fasting month.
Manage Your Fluid Intake
"Even though you're fasting, you should make sure that you drink enough water each day," Fadila said.
The dermatologist recommended that people should drink at least two liters, or the equivalent of eight glasses of water, every day.
"During Ramadan, we can drink two glasses of water at sahur, two glasses of water at iftar and four glasses of water in the evening," she said.
Although it is tempting to quench your thirst with a glass of iced soda, you should refrain from it, as it may cause you more harm than good.
"Carbonated and caffeinated drinks are diuretic and tend to dehydrate you more," she said.
A healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables also helps keep your body fit and your skin well-nourished and hydrated.
Cleanse Your Face, but Do Not Overdo It
Some people believe that washing their face repeatedly during the day will help cool and hydrate their skin.
"Quite on the contrary, repeated facial cleansing will only dehydrate the skin more," Fadila said.
She said it is only necessary to cleanse your face twice a day, first thing in the morning and at night before going to bed.
Long, hot showers, which feel good after a hard day, also tend to dehydrate the skin.
"I'd say, take hot showers only when necessary," she said. "And when you do, don't spend more than 10 minutes in them."
"As soon as you leave the shower, moisturize," said the dermatologist, who works at NMW Clinic in Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta.
But you should only use products that match your skin type.
"Don't go along with what everybody is using, as it may not suit your skin type and might create more health problems," Fadila said.
Milk-based products are good for those with normal and dry skin types.
"Milk is gentle on the skin, as well as a very effective moisturizer," Fadila said. "It is also high in lactic acid, which helps remove dead skin cells and grow new ones."
And yet, some people might be allergic to milk-based moisturizers.
"If you think you might be allergic to milk-based products, you should test them first before using them," Fadila said.
To test a product, dab some onto the skin behind your ears, which is the most sensitive area, according to the dermatologist. Allow it to be absorbed by your skin and repeat the procedure for three consecutive days.
"If no itch or rash occurs [within three days], the product is safe for use," Fadila said.
Honey Up Your Lips
Lips also tend to dry and crack during the fasting month. You can heal them by using natural honey.
"Apply natural honey on your lips, leave it for 15-20 minutes and then rinse it off with water," the dermatologist said.
"Do it every night before you go to bed and you will soon find your lips soft and moist again.
"In addition to that, honey can also lighten the skin on your lips skin and make it look more appealing."
Always Use Sun Protection
Last but not least, as you prepare for mudik, or the traditional Idul Fitri homecoming, you should never forget to pack a tube of sunblock.
"Many don't think sun protection is really important during mudik as they usually spend the day inside cars, trains or buses," Fadila said. "But the sun's rays filtering through the windows can penetrate your dermis and rob it off its moisture and oils."
Exposure to long-wave ultraviolet (UVA) and short-wave ultraviolet (UVB) rays may also cause brown spots and freckles on your skin.
You should reapply the sunblock every couple of hours to keep your skin hydrated and protected during the long journey home.