HYDERABAD: With temperatures hovering over 40 degrees, this summer is touted to be very cruel. And with the heat and harsh sun, infections, bacteria, dehydration, tanning, and sun burns too take a heavy toll on the skin. Human skin is very sensitive to the sun and if not protected, brown spots, wrinkles, and dehydration can cause damage to the skin. Sustained exposure to UV radiation is a leading cause of skin damage and premature ageing. Long term exposure is also associated with skin cancer. During the season, complaints such as of sun burns, excessive tanning, red rashes and itching on face, arms or neck are very common. Extreme sensitivity to sun exposure is also known as ‘photo sensitivity’ and can cause photodermatosis. Sun exposure is also one of the leading causes of skin ageing. However, with some care and caution and a few skincare practices, one can easily tide over the summer woes.
As you gear up to face the scorching summer, here are tips you need to remember and follow:
Apply and re-apply sunscreen
Although it is advised to remain indoors between 11am to 3pm (the sun is harshest during these hours), it might not be viable for everyone. Therefore, it is very essential to apply sunscreen each time while exposing yourself to sun. Apply sunscreen on all exposed areas at least 20-30 minutes before stepping out. Use sunscreen of SPF 30 or more and star rating of at least 3+. It is pertinent to note here that while SPF provides protection from UVb rays that cause sunburns, star rating depicts protection from UVa rays which prevents tanning.Additionally, while most of us apply sunscreen daily, very few realise that one application is not sufficient. You need to re-apply every four to five hours to keep your skin protected. Notably, even if you are indoors, you should keep a layer on because UV radiation can travel indoors through glass windows. Those sensitive towards sunscreen can use a cream with physical blocker with zinc oxide.
Hydration is the mantra
Applying moisturiser, though necessary, is not sufficient in summers when moisture escapes your body and skin every hour. Therefore, it is important to keep skin hydrated. Drink at least drink eight to 10 glasses of water to maintain water content in the body.. Eat fruits rich in water-content like watermelon, pineapple; drink coconut water regularly. Skin procedures like hydrating medi-facials and hyaluronic acid based fillers such as Juvederm can also provide resilience and suppleness to the skin during this season.
Feed your skin
The skin needs greater resilience and nutrition to keep itself healthy in the hot summers. Increase your intake of fruits, raw vegetables, green juices, cucumber and sea food. A good dose of vitamins and minerals will not only keep your skin healthy and glowing, it will also give it greater protection against sun and free radical damage. Add lots of melons, curd and coconut water in your diet. Replacing tea with green tea would protect your skin from UV rays as it is rich in antioxidants. Besides, you can also boost your skin protection by using skin care products rich in antioxidants and containing vitamin C and E.
Don’t shun moisturiser
Most people tend to believe that they don’t need moisturiser in summers. It is a myth. The skin needs hydration all year round; the intensity of the moisturiser used may vary with the season. As summers approach, turn to lighter water-based moisturisers but apply them daily morning and night after washing and cleansing. Lack of moisture accelerates ageing and makes the skin vulnerable to environmental damage. Use lip balm regularly with SPF protection. Use a good soothing eye cream every night to hydrate the eye skin and tissues.
Keep your skin cool
Wear cottons with lighter shades which don’t absorb heat. This would let the skin breathe. Wear hats and goggles if you are out on holiday to protect the skin from direct exposure to sun. Applying cooling agents like aloe vera gel to the skin or sandalwood or multani mitti packs in the evening can further sooth down the skin. Dab your skin with a napkin soaked in cold water repeatedly throughout the day to keep it cool.
Deal with excessive sweating
Some people suffer from a condition called hyperhidrosis which results in excessive and profuse sweating all the time. This is not only highly inconvenient and aesthetically unappealing but also makes skin susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections since it is damp all the time. When administered under the arms, Botox helps relax the overactive sweat glands and controls excessive sweating. The relief lasts 4-6 months.
Dr Padmavathi Surapaneni is a senior dermatologist and cosmetologist at Pragna Skin Laser Clinics, Hyderabad