The summer months in hot tropical India generally see an increase in patients visiting dermatologists. In summer, sweat and oil secretions increase. These are deposited on the skin, making it look greasy and also attract dirt and pollutants. The skin loses its glow and looks dull. A drop in personal hygiene often leads to cutaneous infections that affect skin health as well. Personal cleansing is of utmost importance during summer.
One should bathe twice daily and wash one's face several times a day. Hot and humid conditions also call for deep pore cleansing, especially for oily skin, in order to keep the pores free of clogged oil and dirt. Normal to dry skin needs a cleansing cream or gel, while an oily or combination skin should be cleansed with a cleansing milk or lotion. For skin prone to pimples, medicated cleansers should be used. Cleansing grains or a scrub may be mixed with a skin toner and gently rubbed in circular motion on the face. The grains or scrub should be washed off with plenty of water. A simple home - made recipe comprises of 4 to 5 tbsps of gram flour, a pinch of turmeric, 5 - 6 drops of rose water and milk or yoghurt. Mix it into a paste and use it to exfoliate your face.
Follow it up with a facemask and moisturiser. Protect yourself from the strong summer sun. Stay indoors between 10 am- 4 pm. That's when the sun's rays are the strongest and can have an adverse effect on your skin. Ultra violet rays damage can lead to premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, marks, dry skin, and even skin cancer over time. Eyes are prone to cataracts and melanomas, and the sensitive skin around your eyes is prone to early aging. Cover up when outdoors using a wide brim hat or dupatta and goggles. Often we see girls using long gloves on 2 wheelers to avoid tanning of their arms from the strong sun. Also, regularly apply a sunscreen of SPF >30 at least 30 minutes before you step out. Reapply every few hours so that you're well protected. It is also important to wear loose cotton light colored clothes that let your skin breathe. Avoid tight synthetics or dark colors which absorb light and heat. On a holiday by the sea, the glare of the sun tends to double. The reflection from the sea accentuates the glare. Therefore, one would need a much thicker layer of sunscreen/higher SPF for protection. On a holiday on a hill station too, sunscreen application is still important as UV radiation increases by 10-12% for every 1000 m increase in altitude. The body tends to lose a lot of moisture in the summer, so it's important to regularly replenish by drinking a lot of water and liquids. This is especially important for swimmers in chlorinated pools as the chlorine can dry out your skin and for some people it can even result in an allergic reaction. The skin will stay soft and moisturized as well. Juice extracted from cucumber or watermelon may be similarly used for moisturizing facial skin. Also make it a ritual to apply a good lip balm or use plain cold cream to avoid chapped lips.
Use of water based moisturizer is necessary during summer. Rose water which happens to be an effective toner cum moisturizer may be used as part of toning and moisturizing. The holy trinity of good health and glowing skin holds true for the whole year. Always eat a balanced diet, work out every day and get adequate sleep. Avoid aerated drinks as they are full of sugar Instead drink fresh lime, fresh fruit juices, aam panna (green mango drink) or coconut water to stay hydrated. It's also best to minimise alcohol and caffeine intake as they can lead to dehydration. These few basic and simple steps would provide adequate protection to your skin and enable a glow and disease free skin.