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Skin Problems and their solutions

Four -five skin problems (specifically on the face) that we face in summer, treatments for them in clinics and home care.

The common skin ailments seen during the summer are acne getting aggravated, oily skin, a sun tan and a sun burned skin, prickly heat, body odour and fungal infections. The hair and skin are the usual victims of the harsh rays of the sun and harmful polluted gases that inhabit the air. The situation is aggravated by sweat, which acts like a magnet and attracts dust particles and other polluted elements. The harsh sun’s rays cause the skin to tan and can further lead to sun burns. This when not checked in time, leads to the skin showing up pigment spots.

1)      Sun tan: Due to constant sun exposure, which happens more-so in summers, the skin tends to get tanned more easily. A suntan is actually the body’s defense mechanism against strong sunlight. But then sun-burning on the other hand in severe forms can be quite uncomfortable. It results in redness of the skin, skin peeling and sometimes itching.

A sunscreen when applied, no matter how high the SPF is, will protect the skin from the detrimental effects of the UV rays, but not against a tan. Despite that, the use of a sunscreen is essential to prevent the damage of skin. The tanned effect on the skin should not deter you from the use of sunscreen. Intake of oral antioxidants and 1000mgs of Vitamin C daily will also help.

Additional protection by wearing light colour clothes which deflect the sun’s rays. Wear broad rimmed hats, sun glasses and if possible carry an umbrella.

A facial done regularly 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.

Aloe vera soothes the skin, so can be applied to skin that is tanned and also on the rashes to bring relief from itching.

Take 3 peeled cucumbers and grate them. Add  4-5 almonds to it, put it in the blender to make a paste. Refrigerate it and apply the cool mask on tanned or sun burned skin to help soothe the skin as well as lift off the tan.

2)      During summer, your body perspires more to keep your body temperature lower. This in turn triggers the sebaceous glands to produce more oil(sebum) to keep your skin moisturized.  The sebum and the accumulation of the dead skin cells block the pores which results in come done and acne formation. Oily skin and excessive sweating is also the reason for “runny make-up” and the need for a touch-up.

Mix about 2 teaspoons of fresh tomato juice with a few drops of lemon juice. Apply this to your face at least once a day, allow it to dry and then rinse your face once more. This will help to control sebum production, but at the same time, won’t make your skin too dry.

In many cases, topical application is what will be sufficient to heal the acne, but at times you may need to take oral medications. One can use salicylic acid based face wash to help reduce the oiliness of your skin. Another good bet is to use a mud based face mask as that again helps in absorbing the excess sebum that is secreted.

Take 2 tbsp of curds, few drops of lime juice and 2 pinch of turmeric powder. Make a paste of smooth consistency and apply on the face. Rinse off after 20 mins. It helps in drying the acne as well as lightening of marks.

3)      In summer, hair becomes static, dry, brittle and frizzy  as the humidity and summer sun damages the cuticle ( outer layer) of your hair.Your scalp tends to get more sticky because of excessive sweating.

You need to wash your hair 2-3 times a week to keep it clean and less greasy. Use a mild shampoo followed by a good conditioner on the hair ends. Use a medicated anti-dandruff shampoo once a week if you are prone to dandruff. Leave in conditioners help protect the hair further by sealing in the moisture and also help protect the hair from the damaging effects of the sun and pollution to some extent.

Take half a cup of apple cider vinegar and dilute it with a cup full of water. Pour this on your hair after shampooing. It helps to restore the shine to the sun-damaged dry and brittle hair.

4)      Excessive sun exposure could give rise to a photo allergic reaction also known as polymorphic light eruption (PMLE) on the exposed areas of the body, tanning, pigmentation & patchy skin. Avoid direct sunlight as far as possible. Apply sunscreen with SPF 20 or 30 and repeat the application every 2-3 hours. Wear appropriate clothing which covers the exposed areas of the body to protect it from sunlight.

Mix a teaspoon each of milk powder, honey, lemon juice, and almond oil. Apply on the face and wash after 15 minutes. This brings a glow to the skin and removes darkness due to tanning.

Cut a potato in half and finely grate it to extract out most of the juice. Spread this paste across your skin, allow it to dry and then rinse it off with water. Potato having natural bleaching properties will help lighten the pigmented patches. Use this pack twice a day for several weeks, or until you achieve your desired results.

By Dr Jamuna Pai, Celebrity Cosmetic Physician, Mumbai.

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