All about sunscreen

May 17, 2013, 01:29 IST | Kartiki Nitin Lawate

Be it a ravishing weekend by the beach, a tiring week at work or staying indoors; you always run the risk of tanning. The Guide spoke to some skin experts to find out exactly what can one do to save their skin from darkening in the sun

When you don’t follow basic steps to guard your skin from harmful ultra violet rays, it mostly results in tanning causing darkening of the skin. While there are many treatments available to bring the skin back to its original tone, more than often prevention is the best option. The remedies are easy, but it requires daily practice.

One of the easiest ways to prevent tanning, says Dr Narmada Matang, head, Medical Operations at Kaya Skin Clinic is to apply sunscreen effectively on your skin before stepping out in the sun. “UV rays can be extremely damaging in this weather. Therefore, a sunscreen with specific sun protection factor (SPF) — generally of 15/30 — is required to protect the skin. More than SPF 30 creams are greasy and hence not recommended during summers,” she says. If you have an outdoor job that compels you to stay out most of the day, Matang advises to apply the sunscreen every 2 to 3 hours.

But tanning can happen indoors as well, says well-known dermatologist Dr Dhanashree Bhide. “There is always a risk of tanning as computer screens and light bulbs too emit UV rays,” she adds. Bhide says the effect of sunscreen lasts for four hours. and sun screen should be applied in such a manner that it forms a protective film or screen on your skin. “For Indian skin tone SPF 15 is good enough, but one should avoid the tendency to rub it through the skin,” says Bhide, adding that use of a thick cotton cloth to cover skin also acts as an effective sunscreen. 

For swimmers, Bhide suggests that they should apply water resistant sunscreen, which lasts for 45 minutes. She adds, "If the skin is tanned then one should opt for Alpha Hydroxy or Vitamin C but only under medical supervision. There are cosmetic treatments like chemical peel which helps fight back tanning of skin.” 

How to apply sunscreen
>> First, select the right kind of sunscreen for your skin.
>> Take 1 tsp of sunscreen and apply it liberally on the skin. Apply the sunscreen using the index finger to make small dots all over the face. Always ensure that sunscreen is the last thing you apply on your face.
>> Apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes before stepping out in the sun.

Home-made tips to protect your skin
>> Make a paste of one almond, 5 drops of lemon and a teaspoon of milk. Apply it evenly on your face and leave it on overnight. Wash with warm water the next morning.
>> One can also simply apply coconut milk and leave this on all night.
>> For pimple prone skin, rub on tomato juice all over your face and wash after ten minutes. Follow this a few times during the week to get rid of your tan. 

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