So far India has been facing one of the harshest summers in a long time, with temperature soaring to record highs. March 2016, in fact, was the hottest March in more than a century, going back 136 years to be precise!
But the heat, alas, is not a valid excuse we can use to stay out of the sun and in front of the cool blast of the air-conditioner. Unfortunately, braving the sun also means suffering through the side effects on your skin — tanning and sunburn being the most common.
Also see: 9 simple home remedies to avoid tanning
Of this, sunburns are more painful and worrisome. Burnt skin is almost like an overfried potato. And, though, the idea of baking or grilling may sound appetising for a potato, it’s quite the opposite when it’s ‘skin cooking’ that we talk about. All sunburns start in the same way — slight redness or prolonged redness post sun exposure; itchiness on the areas exposed in the sun; and increase/formation of acne on sun-exposed areas of the skin, such as the forehead and malar areas of the cheek (around the cheekbone).
Sometimes if you experience these symptoms on only one side of your cheek, that’s usually because that particular side is exposed to the sun more often. This can be because you sit next to the window, or drive around a lot, with the sun streaming on to only your right or left cheek. Analyse the pattern, and take care of your face accordingly.
Should you develop a sudden red to brown colour patch on your skin that is angry looking, very resistant and itchy, make sure you soothe out the patch with a cool ingredient. The patch should be covered at home on an hourly basis, or as per convenience, with plain and cool curd. You can wash the curd patch away after 5-10 minutes with plain water.
One way to prevent sunburns, is by applying plain pure lacto calamine lotion or aloe vera juice on all parts of your body that may be exposed to the sun. Be sure to apply a sunscreen (SPF 26-plus is enough) but apply the lotion at least 15 minutes before going out in the sun.
Another good practice is to increase antioxidants in your diet (which are abundantly available in green vegetables like broccoli, purple foods like berries and beetroot, carrots, seafood, etc.), as well as vitamin c-rich foods (citrus fruits, bell peppers, chilli, etc.), which will help in creating internal sunscreens.
Sartorially, try and opt for full sleeves and full-length trousers so that you have minimum exposure to the sun. Also try to be dressed in white cotton clothes that reflect the sun rays, a broad-brimmed hat, use big goggles to save your eyes, and keep your hair tied (because keeping it open can lead to more sweat and eventually dermatitis, and we wouldn’t want that!).
In the end, the most important tip — drink lots of water and stay well-hydrated.