Face the Sun

When summer sets in, the sun gets brighter and the weather becomes warmer. While the mercury continues to stay high, and the heat remains unabated, our skin needs extra care and pampering to cope with the season.

While the skin care regime is followed by many, it is wise to get an expert’s opinion.

Dr Jamuna Pai

Dr Pai has introduced various skin treatments and techniques such as Fraxel and Botox in India. She has also been the official skin and hair consultant for Miss India beauty pageant.She has garnered several awards for her contribution to skin care.

She says, "In a tropical country like ours the sun is ruthless and it can cause damage to our skin. Summer comes with its own share of problems.

The sun's UV rays and pollution accelerate the ageing process and also make the skin appear dull and more prone to damage due to lack of proper care. Excessive sun exposure may cause a photo allergic reaction also known as polymorphic light eruption (PMLE) on the exposed areas of the body causing tanning, pigmentation & patchy skin. "

Dr Pai answers readers' queries on skin care.

Punit Kaur asks, "I have an oily skin and acne gets aggravated during summer. How can this be treated?."

Expert's Opinion: The treatment of acne can be in the form of:

• Apply a ‘mud-pack’ once a week to absorb the excess sebum.
• Drink plenty of water.
• Take supplements of Vitamin A, zinc and antioxidants.
• Apply an erythromycin gel at bedtime.
• Do not squeeze or ‘pluck’ a pimple.
• Do not wax or ‘thread’ hair from the face.

You must always visit a dermatologist before taking any medication. Feel free to use make-up, as it will not aggravate the existing acne as long as you cleanse your skin well before retiring for the day.

It's a good idea to use a concealer so that it covers (camouflages) your acne and boosts your confidence.

You can also use a salicyclic acid based face wash as it will help to dry your existing oily skin and follow your doctor’s advice.

Siddhi Sawant, a BMS student
"My skin pores tend to open up in summers and blackheads erupt on my nose tip. How do I tighten my pores and get rid of black heads?"

Expert's Opinion: Avoid using harsh abrasives and soap on your face because they can aggravate skin pore enlargement. Try to keep your face free of excess oils as it keeps your pores clean and healthy.

Use cleansers and toners that are mild and enriched with AHA (alpha hydroxyl acids) or salicylic acid. They help keep the acid mantle undisturbed and at the same time don’t make your skin look shiny.

Komal Chheda, fashion designer
"I have a very sensitive skin. My skin looks dull and flaky due to constant exposure to air-conditioning. Please advice?"

Expert's Opinions: Look for lighter products like gel based formulated moisturisers or go for for moisturising milk and lotions. These are absorbed easily and do not leave a greasy residue.

Skip hot showers as it tends to strip the body off the natural moisture balance.

Amrita Mukerji, sales and marketing professional
"My skin gets tanned due to constant exposure to sun. I need tips to protect my skin from tanning."

Expert's Opinion: Tanning is a natural way of skin’s defense against solar radiation.

Whether it is SPF 15 or 45 or even more, sufficient quantity and reapplication of the sunscreen is necessary for protection against the sun. Intake of oral antioxidants and 1000mgs of Vitamin C daily will also help.

To help lessen the tan, there are a few packs that you can make at home depending on your skin type.

For oily skin you can make a pack with grated cucumber + multani mitti (fuller’s earth) and apply on the face. Leave this pack on the face for 15 minutes and wash off gently.

If your skin is dry, a pack of cucumber mixed with oats and almonds kept in the fridge can be applied to give a cooling and detanning effect.

For severe tanning and dry skin the best remedy is to mix sugar, lemon juice and glycerin and scrub the area gently in circular motion.

"My skin looks lifeless and dull in summers. How to make it look refreshed?"

Expert's Opinion: Dead surface skin cells give your skin a dull look. Exfoliation helps the skin look refreshed.

It's best to exfoliate the skin 2 to 3 times a week.

Mechanical exfoliation with crushed apricot kernels, orange peel powder helps to remove the dead skin cells gently.

Natural face packs containing curd, besan, turmeric, egg white, citrus fruits like orange, papaya and tomatoes help in mild exfoliation, lightening and smoothening of the skin texture.

"I find my skin messy and sticky despite cleaning it several times with soap in summers."

Expert’s Opinion: No matter what type of skin you have choosing the right cleanser is the key to maintaining the protective layer and nutrition of your skin.

Make sure you avoid soap totally. Use a soap-free cleanser to wash your face. Don't wash your face too frequently (up to one to two times) as it will rob your skin off protective lipids that are so vital for skin's balance during this season. Use a cleansing milk to clean your face at bedtime.

"Please suggest some good facials that can help me keep my skin look fresh and supple in summers."

Expert's Opinion: A facial makes the skin look radiant by eliminating dead skin cells thereby improving uneven skin tone, rehydrating and restoring the skin’s suppleness.

De-tanning and exfoliating the skin should be the primary goal of a facial treatment besides rejuvenation.

Your facial should consist of a deep cleansing procedure, exfoliation to remove pore-clogging skin cells and mild extraction to clear breakouts without spreading bacteria.

To finish the treatment, a soothing masque to provide an oil-free hydration, to protect the skin and control the oil production should be used.

Galvanic treatment can be added to aid penetration of the concentrated ingredients. 

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