Here comes the sun

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Get your face, body and hair ready for the onslaught of warm weather as summer approaches, writes MINNAL KHONA

 aastha chaudhry2

Summer is on its way, with heat seeping into the cooler days of spring. While the sun feels great after winter, it brings on its own set of problems, from sunburn to oily hair. Here are a few tips for preventing summertime blues from affecting your looks.

Australians love the sun and hitting the beaches and pools are high on the to-do list for most of us. But being in the sun, or being exposed to hot weather for a long time can cause a lot of problems. If you know what can happen, it is easy to prevent it. However, if you still end up with sunburn or a rash despite your best efforts, there are ways to minimise the damage.

Firstly, because the rays of the sun are harsher during summer and since Australia is close to the hole in the ozone layer, it can make skin and hair more sensitive. Increased bacteria in the atmosphere, sweat and heat are all factors that contribute towards these problems.

Knowing what to do is half the solution. Diligently maintaining a routine is the other half. But, if you still end up with one of the following problems, they can still be dealt with effectively.

 

Tan
If you are fair skinned, there are chances that your skin will go pink in the sun in minutes. Others, usually Indians and Asians tend to tan gradually, with their skin starting to go darker over days. Typical Indian brown skin comes from prolonged exposure to the sun.
While wearing sunscreen is a given and an essential part of one’s daily routine, regardless of the weather, there are ways to avoid and diminish a tan.

Wearing a hat and carrying an umbrella to shade you from the sun will minimise the chances of getting a tan. But if you are unable to do that, try face packs according to your skin type. Use milk or dairy whitener mixed with honey or yoghurt for dry skin, mash the pulp of a papaya for sensitive skin, make a mask with lemon and Fuller’s earth, or apply gram flour mixed with turmeric and water for oily skin. Even rubbing the flesh of a tomato on the skin will reduce the tan.

 

Sunburn

This is something to which we are all vulnerable, especially if you plan to spend the day at the beach. One doesn’t realise it, but harsh rays of the sun can scorch the epidermis of the skin over a few hours and, once completely dried and shrunken, the skin will start peeling off. It’s a very painful condition and even if it is just the skin of the nose, it can hurt like crazy!

The best way to prevent sunburn is to slather all exposed parts of your skin with sunscreen and some light moisturiser. If you are wearing long lasting sunscreen whose effect doesn’t wear off even if you are in the water, every time you step out, dab on a little moisturiser and keep drinking water through the day. Citrus fruit and vitamin C also help to prevent sunburn.

If you still end up getting sunburnt, the best remedy is cold milk. Just soak a handkerchief or a napkin in a bowl of cold milk and apply to the sunburnt skin. It will soothe the skin instantly. Once it dries, repeat the process and after doing this a few times, shower in lukewarm water. Apply a rich moisturiser after the shower for relief and continue the milk application till the sunburnt skin stops hurting.

 

Prickly heat rash and other rashes

While it is usually kids who end up with prickly heat rashes, sometimes adults can get them too, especially on our backs. Other rashes also occur due to heat and sweat.

The more severe ones will need medical treatment, but if it is an outbreak of a rash that feels prickly, a sprinkling of talcum powder works well. A calamine solution, or a liquid moisturiser can also help. Changing clothes often can help prevent the build-up of sweat, which can lead to bacterial infections. If the infection or rash you get is diagnosed as a fungal infection, seek medical help.

 

Sweating and bacterial infections

Half the skin infections during summer are caused due to excessive sweating. This applies to the scalp as well, and it can cause dandruff. Sweating also leads to oily and greasy skin and hair.

The best way to prevent skin infections is to shower at least twice a day and wash your hair every alternate day. That keeps the skin and hair reasonably clean and prevents bacteria from thriving.
To control or prevent dandruff that can occur from a sweaty scalp, use a mild anti-dandruff shampoo. If you oil your hair, make sure you leave it on for only about an hour before washing it off.

 

Dry hair and discolouration

Since the water in pools is chlorinated, it can cause havoc on coloured hair. These days, with just about everyone colouring their hair and not just to prevent greys, it is imperative to protect the hair while in the pool. Also, salt water and chlorine can make hair dry and brittle, as can harsh sunlight.

A handy tip to keep in mind before you go for a swim is to wet your hair. Make sure it is wet to the scalp before entering the pool. Alternatively, use a deep, nourishing, colour protecting conditioner every time you step out of the pool.

While summer can make hair dry and brittle, a good protection for the hair is to tie a scarf around your head. A leave-in conditioning serum can also help prevent loss of moisture from hair.

 

Overall, maintain a healthy diet with a lot of fibre content, juices, salads and drink lots of water to replenish moisture loss in summer. If you respect the weather and alter your lifestyle to suit it, heat or cold can do little to mar your good looks.