Summer skin care essentials
Sun protection for Indian women
If your skin is bronzed and dusky, you have a natural sun protection factor of four. As a result, your skin show up linesandwrinkles at a much later age than your porcelain-skinned Western sisters. But even though you burn less easily and aren’t prone to sun damage and premature ageing, you tan even with minimal sun exposure. Pigmentation, sun spots and melasmaare common woes, making sun protection the most important skincare intervention of all.
Indian skins tend to produce extra skin pigments or melanin to protect the deeper layers when exposed to intense sunlight. In time, this excess melanin forms dark deposits under the skin surface. Melasma, the butterfly-shaped pigmentation on the cheeks and bridge of the nose is also caused by continual sun exposure and fluctuating hormones during pregnancy and menopause.
Many women say they suffer from hyper-pigmentation even though they use sun protection. The reason for this is that melanocytes (pigment-producing cells) in your skin tend to be easily stimulated with sun exposure and other factors that cause discolouration such as laser treatments and harsh skincare treatments. Therefore, it’s important to choose skin lightening treatments and lightening products and bleach creams with care. Many skin lightening products contain harsh bleaching agents that cause flaky skin, irritation and allergies.
The biggest favour you can do for your skin on a daily basis is to add sunscreen to your skin care routine. A broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 is ideal. Use it while indoors and outdoors, and if you plan on spending time outside, reapply every couple of hours.
Depending on your skin type pick a formulation that works for you. Acne-prone skin needs a non-oily formula while excessively dry skin could do with a sunscreen with a built in moisturiser. We like Neutrogena and Avon.
Skin that already looks patchy can also benefit from a regular dab of sunscreen by protecting the skin from further damage and giving skin problems time to heal and clear up. In fact, if you have the beginning of spots and aren’t using sun protection, the problem could get worse. Besides, many products used to treat pigmentation can make the skin super sensitive to sunlight, and therefore, more prone to further damage.
While shopping for a sunscreen, look for a product that contains ecamsule, avobenzone, titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. Besides regularly dabbing on a sun protection formula, seek shade whenever possible, invest in a wide brimmed hat and wear long sleeved shirts or kurtas when outdoors.