It’s that time of the year when chai becomes a little less favoured and nimbu-soda is available almost everywhere. Very soon, anything synthetic will be a no-no and cotton will be your go-to fabric. Umbrellas come out to give your sunscreen company, suede shoes get packed away. Yes, summer time is here. And with it, a whole host of skin care issues too. Oily skin gets oilier, and dry skin gets patchy. There are breakouts and pimples, rashes and roughness, and that acne just wouldn’t go away! Just a few simple changes in your everyday skincare regimen can ensure that you are all set to glow through this season too. We spoke to Dr. Deepali Bhardwaj, leading dermatologist and founder of Skin and Hair Clinics for expert advice on tackling the heat.
What does summer do to our skin?
According to Dr. Deepali, warmer temperatures mean it is time to change your skin care routine. The sunny Indian summer can be pretty harsh on your skin if you don’t take care of your. So, just like your wardrobe, your skin care too definitely needs a seasonal change.
Too much sun is bad for your skin. Not only can you get tanned (which is not always a bad thing) but over exposure to sun rays can cause premature ageing of skin too. Our skin contains a pigment called melanin and too much exposure to sun causes more melanin to be produced. This is why a prolonged stay under the direct sun can cause a change in your skin colour or even tanning. This is also why sunscreens are recommended irrespective of your skin-type.
Here’s a holistic list of summer skincare tips that would help all skin types.
1. Face care
Your face is your identity to the world, so you should look after it 365 days of the year. Summer months though, warrant a special skin care regimen – one that hydrates and keeps it clean and grime-free. Make sure you keep your face clean of dust and sweatthrough these hot months. A lot of people encounter break-outs and pimples in these months. If you are one of them, make sure you splash your face with water at least 3-4 times every day. No need to use a face wash every time, clean water would do just fine.
Dermatologist Dr Deepali also suggests exfoliation as a method to keep your face clean, “Using a scrub once or twice a week in summers for all skin types is important but, which scrub depends on your skin type. Acne prone skin needs multani mitti (fullers earth), chandan, rose water and basil whereas if you have dry and matured skin you should use egg white, lemon, chandan and curd with a pinch of turmeric and besan too”.
2. Use weather appropriate products
The thick creams you were using through the winter months won’t do you any good now. Pack them away or use them for very dry areas of your body like the feet. Summer months need products that let your skin breathe naturally. Go for lighter lotions and serums. Products that block pores can cause more problems.
“Water-based moisturizers work best for normal skin types. For oily skin, gel-based moisturizers are preferred. For extra oily and acne prone skin, stick to facial sprays with minerals good for your skin’, says Dr. Deepali. “Natural moisturizers like glycerin and rose water added to the bathing water helps a lot and applying plain curd for 10-15 minutes on all dry areas of the body before bathing works wonders too,” she adds.
3. Stick to the basics
You may think your skin cannot get dry during summers but that’s a myth. Moving in and out of air-conditioned areas alone can cause your skin to dry out. This is applicable not just to facial skin but the entire body. Make sure you follow the age old principle of cleaning, toning and moisturizing at night before sleeping. Sweating can cause our skin pores to open up. You need to use a toner (after making sure the skin is clean) to help close these pores. Sticking to the basics during summers is even more important given the UV rays of the sun that could result in premature ageing and wrinkles.
4. Importance of sunscreen
Don’t forget to wear sunscreen! UV rays can be harmful for your skin any time of the year, but more so in the summer months when our exposure levels are higher. Pick a sunscreen that gels into your skin and gets absorbed. A minimum SPF of 30 is recommended and must be applied 20-30 minutes before you head out into the sun. If you are going to be swimming, then keep re-applying as and when it gets washed out. Sunscreen application can go a long way in minimizing sun related spots and could even help delay the onset of fine lines and wrinkles.
Dr. Deepali suggests changing the brand you use every 6 months. And yes, people with oily skin must apply sunscreens too. “For oily skin, gel-based sunscreen is preferred, while combination and dry skin should use a sunscreen moisturizer with a matte finish if putting make up on it. Alternatively, use a cream based one which gets absorbed well without leaving a residual layer,” she says.
5. Natural remedies
Never underestimate what your grandma said! There are ingredients in your kitchen which can help soothe the skin during summer. Lemon and tomato are very good for keeping your skin fresh. A quick way to use tomato is to juice tomatoes (don’t add water) and freeze the juice using your regular ice-trays. Use this as a gentle scrub every alternate day and let the juice dry on the skin before washing it off. The lycopene in tomato does wonders for the facial skin.
6. Don’t forget the eyes and lips
The sun’s rays are the harshest between 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. during summer months. Avoid stepping out around these times. If you do step out, make sure your eyes are covered with sunglasses and lips protected with a balm. We often forget that the skin around the eyes is very delicate and needs extra attention. If too much heat is making your eyes burn, then wash them with clean and cold water. A couple of cold cotton pads dipped in potato juice can be soothing too. If the problem persists, do consult a doctor.
7. Maintain hygiene
Overall hygiene can go a long way in tackling the heat. Having a bath twice a day will not only keep your skin fresh, it will also help combat summer lethargy. If you are prone to prickly heat – a bucket-bath with neem leaves can help. People who suffer from body odour can also benefit from regular bathing. Chlorine water can speed up the process of tanning, that is the reason why we tan more in the pool than ordinarily. Make sure you bathe after a swim to get the chlorine off your body.
“Soaking hands and feet in water enriched with a pinch of salt will help boost blood circulation and after that applying a cream rich in urea and Vitamin C should help too,” adds Dr Deepali.
8. Eat cooling foods
What we eat has a lot to do with how we look and feel. Eating heavy food is bound to make you sluggish in a weather like this. Additionally, it can make your skin oily and susceptible to breakouts. Go for seasonal fruits and vegetables
. Stay away from sugary drinks
that are full of calories. Make sure your intake of water is an optimum 8-10 glasses at least. Try vegetable juices and natural alternatives like nariyal pani to hydrate yourself and feel fresh.
9. Wear breathable fabrics
Cotton and lighter fabrics are a must to tackle the heat. Tight clothes can cause irritation and make sweaty parts of the body itch more. Prolonged conditions lead to rashes and sometimes even serious skin infections.
10. Don’t fear the sun
Lastly, don’t be afraid of the sun as it is a mood enhancer. Sunlight helps us produce more seratonin – a mood boosting hormone. That’s exactly why days of no sun during winters can make you feel low. Just make sure you balance the outdoor travel with a good skin care regimen and protect yourself from the harmful impact of sun rays.
Have a happy summer!