Care for sun-damaged skin, hair
Exposure to the sun leads to suntan, sunburn and many other effects. Apart from tanning, the skin is exposed to harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun which has several long-term effects like lines and wrinkles on the skin. Sun exposure can lead to dark spots or patches.
The skin must be protected with a broad spectrum sunscreen which provides protection from both UV-A and UV-B rays of the sun. Exposure to the sun can cause a loss of moisture from the skin. However, most sunscreens have built-in moisturisers. So, it is not necessary to apply both the moisturiser and sunscreen, unless the skin is very dry. It is essential to apply sunscreen, not only on the face, but also on all exposed areas. The back of the neck and arms are extremely vulnerable to sun damage too.
The sunscreen should be applied about 20 minutes before sun exposure. If you happen to be in the sun for more than an hour, you should reapply the sunscreen. A sunscreen with SPF 20 is adequate for most skins but if the skin is more sensitive and tends to burn easily, one should use a sunscreen with a higher SPF. Remember to apply sunscreen while swimming, holidaying by the sea or in the hills. Reflective surfaces like water and snow increase the effects of UV rays.
Scrub: Take 2 teaspoons ground almonds and add a little curd or cold milk. Rub the mixture gently on the skin with circular movements. Wash it off with water.
To remove tan: Add a pinch of turmeric (haldi) to curd and apply daily. Wash it off after 20-30 minutes. Applying fresh aloe vera gel to the burnt area soothes and heals the skin and helps it recover faster. Aloe vera contains zinc which is anti-inflammatory.
For a soothing effect, place chilled cucumber slices on the burn or dab on some cucumber juice with the help of a cotton ball. You can even grate the chilled cucumber and apply it on the sunburns to reduce the inflammation.
Watermelon juice is also a good skin toner and relieves summer dryness too. It cools, refreshes and softens the skin.
Try coconut water to tone and soothe the skin this summer. It helps to remove tan and brighten the skin over a period of time. Apply on the skin and leave on for 20-30 minutes. Cold milk applied daily, using cotton wool, helps soothe and soften the skin, lightening skin colour over a period of time.
Moisture depletion is the immediate result of sun exposure. This dries out the hair, making it dry and brittle, leading to split ends and hair breakage. The sun’s radiation causes damage to the cuticle, the outermost protective layer of the hair. It can even disturb colour pigments of the hair whether natural or artificial. You can protect the hair with hair sunscreens (hair creams or serums).
Hot oil treatments help sun damaged hair. Twice a week mix one teaspoon castor oil with one tablespoon pure coconut oil. Heat and apply on the hair. Apply on the ends too. Then do the hot towel wrap by dipping a towel in hot water. Squeeze out the water and wrap the hot towel around the head, like a turban. Keep it on for four to five minutes and repeat the hot towel wrap a few times. Wash hair the next day. After shampoo, use a creamy conditioner, massaging it lightly into the hair. Apply on ends too. Leave it on for two minutes and then rinse with plain water. One can use a hair serum or leave-on type of conditioner. Take little and apply it the same way but do not rinse off. Apply on the ends too. This not only protects the hair but makes it soft and smooth. You can go for hair smoothening or hair spa treatments to help hair texture.
If possible, avoid the sun between noon and 3 pm. Remember to cover the hair in the sun. Wear a hat, carry a parasol or cover the hair with a scarf.