Exposure to the sun leads to sun tan, sun burn and many other effects. Apart from tanning, the skin is exposed to harmful UV rays of the sun, which has several long-term effects, like early formation of lines and wrinkles on the skin. Therefore, the skin needs protection.
What are UV rays? The sun gives off ultraviolet rays. We divide them into categories based on the wavelength. There are UV-A, UV- B and UV-C rays. UVB affects the outer layer of skin and is mainly responsible for sunburns. Recent studies show that UVA rays are a major contributor to skin damage. UVC rays are almost completely absorbed by the ozone layer and do not affect the skin. However, with the depletion of the ozone layer, sensitive skins may be prone to UV ray allergies and other disorders.
The skin must be protected with a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which provides protection from both UV-A and UV-B rays of the sun. A sunscreen is a product which forms a protective cover between the skin and the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
Sun exposure can also cause loss of moisture from the skin. However, most sunscreens have built-in moisturizers. If the skin is dry and dehydrated, first apply a sunscreen and then apply a moisturizer after a few minutes. The sunscreen should be applied about 20 minutes before sun-exposure. If you happen to be in the sun for more than an hour, re-apply the sunscreen.
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 SPF should be mentioned on the label of the sunscreen.
What is SPF? SPF is denoted by a number and is mentioned on the label of the sunscreen. SPF is Sun Protective Factor. It is related to the duration of sun-exposure and also to individual skin-sensitivity. A sunscreen with SPF 15 to 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 of 30 or 40.
Some skins develop a rash or redness on exposure to the sun. This is also due to sun-sensitivity. Such skins require high SPF sunscreens.
Remember to apply sunscreen while swimming, holidaying by the sea or in the hills. Reflective surfaces, like water and snow actually increase the effects of UV rays.
Here are some home remedies to remove tan:
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.
Add a pinch of turmeric (haldi) to curd and apply daily. Wash it off after 20 to 30 minutes.
Mix half cup dried lemon peel with cold milk or yogurt and apply on face daily for 20 minutes.
Cold milk applied daily, using cotton wool, not only helps to soothe sun burn, but also keeps the skin soft. It also makes the skin colour lighter over a period of time, if used daily.
Mix cucumber and papaya pulp with one teaspoon each curd, honey and lemon juice and 4 teaspoons oats. Apply on face twice a week and wash it off after half an hour.
Body: Massage daily with sesame seed oil. Mix besan with curd, lemon juice and a little turmeric. Apply on neck and arms thrice a week. Wash it off and then apply the oil, as recommended.