Neha Prasada meets skin magician Dr Dinyar Workingboxwalla, who demystifies popular skin myths and offers solutions in this revealing interview.
“Your haemoglobin is fine—it’s 11, so you are borderline,” says Dr Dinyar Workingboxwalla. The skin specialist is not reading from a blood report—he has diagnosed my haemoglobin accurately by simply holding my hands and looking at me or as he likes to say, “by listening to your skin.” This unusual diagnosis continues to surprise me as he correctly tells me my nature, the heaviest day of my menstrual cycle, the amount of water I drink, the hair colour I am using and even the temperature of water I use to wash my face. I am convinced he is nothing short of a mind reader when he even tells me when my skin feels dry and red at a particular time in the day. “When I meet you, I become receptive to your energy and that helps me understand your concerns,” says the soft-spoken healer of the skin by way of explanation.
A single meeting with Mumbai-based skin guru Dr Dinyar Workingboxwalla will make you question almost everything you believed about skincare and the information on social media that we imbibe thoughtlessly. The aesthetician famous for his miraculous facials and skin potions has 50 years of experience and clients that include Bollywood actresses and fashion models. He defies the rules of the beauty industry, which sets unreal standards for women, by dismissing invasive treatments like Botox, fillers, lasers and peels. “You cannot reverse the clock—you can only slow it down,” says Dr Workingboxwalla about the popular obsession with anti-ageing treatments and products.
At a young age, Dr Workingboxwalla struggled with self-esteem issues because of a bad skin condition, and he decided to study dermatology to help people deal with various skin concerns. Today, his knowledge and beliefs make you question beauty trends and practices instead of blindly following them.
Here’s what he has to say about some of the most prevalent skin practices today.
What’s your opinion on sunscreen?
Use sunscreens with a lower SPF like 35 instead of 50, which prove to be carcinogenic in the long run. Apply the milder sunscreen twice by layering it with a gap of five minutes in between each application.
Is retinol all that it promises to be?
By using retinol on Asian skin, you are stripping your skin of its natural defences because this product is not suited to our skin types. As the ozone layer gets depleted, the sun rays hit you more. UVA rays cause your skin to age and UVB rays burn it. This will make you photo-sensitive, and you will end up with more pigmentation.
Does Vitamin C repair and restore your skin?
Vitamin C is good for both your insides and outside. It helps promote collagen and brightens the skin. Instead of using it in the day where it oxidizes with the sun and has a mild abrasive action on your skin, use it at night to repair the damage of the day. The skin rejuvenates best when it is at rest.
Do AHAs (Alpha Hydroxy Acids) clean the skin?
AHAs are good for exfoliation but use it only at night. Avoid using glycolic acid because it has very fine molecules that go inside your skin and damage it in the long run. Instead, use lactic acid, madelic acid or azeliac acid.
Does toning your skin work?
Toning was introduced in skincare routines by people who want to make money. It is not required. Toning with alcohol-based products is not good for your skin. Even a natural product like witch hazel extract is distilled by using alcohol and is not recommended.
Should I be slugging it out?
This is not a practice meant for our climatic conditions. By slugging with petroleum jelly, you are only sealing open pores. At night, your pores should be allowed to breathe, and you should use lighter products. Petroleum jelly can be used on your hands and feet but not on your skin where you have sebaceous glands.
How many supplements are enough?
I am a great believer in vitamins for building health and immunity. The basic vitamins which everyone should take every day are B complex, vitamin C (unless you are thalassaemic, in which case, you should consult your doctor), Vitamin E and Vitamin D3.
Hydrate, exercise and learn to control your mind. Stress plays havoc with women’s hormones, and I am seeing many more cases of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) in women today than ever before.
What’s the secret to holding on to youth?
You must have a skin and health regime like a school principal. Include cell turnover products like hyaluronic acid and collagen.
What are your skin tips to live by?
Your hands and neck give away your age and are most often neglected. Use the same creams and serums on your hands and neck that you use on your face. Oil is good for your hair and applying oil to damp hair seals in the moisture and nourishes it more effectively.
Dr Dinyar Workingboxwalla is an internationally recognised cosmetologist and has over 50 years of experience. He is the author of Beauty Unleashed – A Comprehensive Guide To Getting Perfect Skin, and he’s widely followed for his customised natural treatments and nourishing facials.