When we think about summer, especially in our country we think about heat, mugginess, humidity and just feeling that little bit icky. So what are the things that we need to worry about in summer:
- Pigmentation / Tanning
So I’m going to talk about these a little bit in detail and I hope you’ll get the information that you’ll require to stay cool this summer.
So the first thing I’m going to talk about is pigmentation/tanning. If you stand in front of the mirror, you undress and look at yourself and you see various colours based on where you’ve worn your particular clothing, you know that you have tanned.
So some of my patients say, Doctor, I don’t go out in the sun, how is it possible that I have tanned? Well, your pigment cells just love the sun. Which means that even if you’re out for that 5 minutes to walk your dog, or that 5 minutes from here to your cab, you get tanned in that amount of time. So that’s your skin and you need to understand what your skin is like and take care of it based on what you have noticed.
There are some people who are out for 2-3 hours and they don’t actually tan that much and that’s their skin! So let’s talk about tanning and pigmentation and how you can prevent it.
There is no substitute for covering yourself. So no amount of sunscreen is going to give you that protection. Perhaps a dupatta, around your face, an umbrella, or just wearing long sleeves and sneakers. Because I have a lot of patients who show me their feet and you can literally see where they’ve worn their shoes or the two straps of their chappals. So if you cover-up, that’s the number 1 tip that I would give you.
I’m going to spend little time talking about sunscreens. So, pardon me those who know everything that I’m going to tell you. But what I’m going to talk about is, how do you choose the sunscreen for your skin type? What do sunscreens do? How much you need to put? And how often do you need to put it? So mainly, there are 2 types: One is physical and one is chemical.
And nowadays, you get some which are a combination of the two. What is mean physical? apply sunscreen and you can go outside. You don’t need to wait indoors or wait for 20 minutes or half an hour. You put it and you’re out.
Chemical is something that you need to wait for 20 minutes for the chemicals in the sunscreen to actually start protecting your skin. And the one in between, as the name suggests is, you can actually go out.
So for the oily skin type, look for a sunscreen that has green tea, tea tree in it and silicones in it because they are not very greasy for the skin. For those with dry skin, look for ingredients like shea butter, rosehip oil, certain niacinamides if you want to brighten your skin. And those with sensitive skin, what I would recommend is going for a sunscreen, which is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free and of course paraben-free.
Remember to look for ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide and take a little bit of your sunscreen, put it here which is under your ear almost like you’re doing a patch test to make sure that it’s not flaring up your sensitivity. So for example, if you have rosacea, or you have eczema, do a little patch test to see that it suits you.
What is SPF?
SPF is Sun Protection Factor. What is Sun Protection Factor? So we all say, ‘Oh, we’re using 70 SPF and 100 SPF.’ So what does that mean? That means that I can be out in the sun, 30 times longer before burning. So burning is a very key term. So, for example, I’m using 100 SPF, I can be out 100 times longer. The difference between a 30 SPF and a 100 SPF is guessed how much? Not 70%. It’s 1 or 2%. So as long as you have a sunscreen which is a minimum of 30 SPF, you’re good. So 30 SPF PA++++, so 3-4 plus stars are what you want to see and you’re good with that sunscreen.
The next is, how often do I need to put a sunscreen?
So most of my patients say, but Doctor I put a sunscreen every day and look I’m still tanned. I ask them do you apply it only once or repeat it? and they sort of stare at me and say, do I need to repeat a sunscreen?
Yes, you do! Any sunscreen just lasts for 2-3 hours. So you need to reapply it.
Now let’s say for example I have makeup because I go to work and I need to put makeup. Then how do I reapply my sunscreen?
Do I need to remove my makeup and reapply the sunscreen?
No! There are 2 things you can do. Get makeup that has an SPF, Sun Protection Factor in it. And all you need to do is re-dab your makeup. Let’s say a compact or you get makeup setting sprays which have sunscreen in them. So just spray it on top of your face. Coola has a really good one. Spray it on top of your face and that’s like reapplying your sunscreen. So that’s how often do I need to apply sunscreen.
And the 4th and the most important question is how much?
You need to take half a teaspoon amount of sunscreen if you want it to give you the protection that you need. And most of my patients would look at me and say what? So much, and my skin will be so sticky and how will I go out? Well then find a sunscreen that’s not so sticky.
The second summer concern I want to talk about is acne. We all have that pesky acne that comes up during summer. So my few take-home tips will be:
1.Remove Makeup and Wash Your Face
when you come home, remove your makeup instantly and wash your face with a face wash. Post-workout or if you have been walking on the road, or you’ve travelled by public transport, reach work, wash your face and reapply your makeup.
So when you keep your skin clean, you’ll find that the pores get clogged less. Certain cleansers and ingredients you should look for in your cleanser would be tea tree oil, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid. This is all for acne-prone, oily skin I’m talking about.
2.Drink a lot of water & Take A Shower
And another tip that I would like to give you is, drink a lot of water and shower at least twice a day. So for people who get acne on their back, or heat boils as a lot of patients would call it, or get a lot of fungal infections just shower and use an anti-fungal powder or any sort of powder because that absorbs the sweat and then you’ll find that you sweat less and hence the infections that you get also come down.
Your diet also plays a very important part of taking care of your skin during summer. So stay away from very heaty foods. What are heaty foods? They’re foods that just increase your body temperature. So for example, spicy food, oily fried food, a lot of protein shakes, stay away from that, it’s quite heaty for the body. And have more foods that have cooling activities.
So cucumbers, melons, watermelon, high water content, so you don’t necessarily have to drink litres and litres of water as long as you’re having fruits and vegetables that have a high water content in them, that’s also good. Nariyal paani is my favourite. And you can have a little bit of nimbu paani in the middle of the day, but make sure that you’re constantly sipping and hydrating yourself.
Now that also depends, if you have an outdoor job you’re going to drink more water if you have an indoor ac job. So base that on your lifestyle and your work. I hope you find these tips very helpful.