Shield your skin this summer

Express News Service

Come summer and along with it great summer swims comes the dreaded sunburn. Of course, at times—despite all precautions—you may underestimate the intensity of the sun and your ability to withstand it. The result can be a bad case of sunburn. Sunburn dehydrates your skin in such a way that the top layers of skin cells slough, making you peel and blister. This is irritating, painful, and ugly. 

Sunburn occurs when the epidermal cells are exposed to UV-rays, causing the enzyme capsules within to burst. This, in turn, destroys the cells, and releases an irritating substance into the surrounding tissue.
Other effects include diluting tiny blood vessels that lie just beneath the skin’s surface. As more blood is pumped through them, their walls break, leaking serum and blood toxins. This leads to external redness, swelling, blisters along with localised pain.

Many women do not realise that they are in danger of getting sunburnt. What are the warning signs that you should look out for? Examine your skin. Does it look slightly red or feels sore and tender to a light touch? If it displays either of these signs, get out of the sun before you damage your skin further. If you are wearing sunscreen and these symptoms still appear, it may be due to two reasons: Either you are wearing too low an SPF number to protect your skin adequately or you are exposing your skin for too long. In such cases, limit your walk/swim to early mornings or evenings, when the sun is less intense.

On getting sunburnt, your skin will become dehydrated, so try and replace some of the lost moisture immediately. Splash cold water onto the affected area. An excellent sunburn soother would be to fill an ice tray with water to which you have added 5tbsp of honey. Once frozen, rub the honey ice cubes all over the face and allow the skin to soak up its goodness. Honey is nature’s most powerful moisturiser. If the burn is extensive, have a cool bath with water to which you’ve added a few drops of soothing oil. Relax in it for not more than 10 minutes. Avoid rubbing yourself vigorously with a towel as this may aggravate your burns. Gently pat yourself dry and massage in a moisturising after-sun lotion or specialised medicated sunburn treatment.

Another effective remedy for sunburn is to mix equal parts of baking soda and cold water. Use a soft cloth or cotton wool to apply this mixture to the sunburnt area. You can also soothe sunburns by applying cold wet compresses at regular intervals to your skin or use sandalwood paste to which you have added a few drops of almond oil.

Don’t have any specially-formulated sunburn products handy? Just use petroleum jelly, baby lotion, or a good moisturising cream as these are extremely hydrating.

suparna trikha
The columnist is a beauty and nature care expert

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