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Skincare: Sport a glow this summer, not a burn!

Last updated on: April 28, 2010 16:38 IST

Skincare: Sport a glow this summer, not a burn!

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Dermatologist Dr Parul Kolhe provides tips on how to keep your skin healthy all through this sweltering summer.

Shooting mercury and the merciless sun make the Indian summer a formidable season. The heat is mind-numbing, dehydrating and vitality sapping. Potent ultraviolet exposure from the sun's bright rays gives us sunburns, tans and a dull, dry complexion.It makes us sweaty and itchy in embarrasing places. Maintaining a stylish hairdo becomes next to impossible because of scalp sweat, hair brittleness and frizz.

To make things worse, this is the holiday season when all of us go to beaches, waterparks and spend time outdoors in resorts. Your skin needs to be protected from this onslaught. And here's how you can do it:

Let your diet dictate your skin's wellbeing

First of all, the best protection comes from within. Nature has given our skin cells the ability to renew themselves. Eating plenty of fresh fruit and salads ensures your body gets enough antioxidants naturally to battle sun damage and replace damaged skin cells with new ones. Summer fruit like watermelon, muskmelon, sweet lime and mangoes are loaded with lycopene, ascorbic acid and beta carotene -- all potent antioxidants.

Dr Parul S Kolhe is an MBBS and holds a DDV and DNB in dermatology.


Image: Eating the right foods will not only have your skin glowing like Celina's, but will keep your figure trim too
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
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Hydrate yourself

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Drink lots of fluids like coconut water, lime water with added salt and fresh vegetable and fruit juices to rehydrate the skin. They replace the vital salts and minerals that are lost in sweat and prevent dehydration. Don't go on low-salt diets in this season without consulting your doctor.


Image: Drink fluids constantly to keep your skin as fresh as model Pia Trivedi
Photographs: Elite Models
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Choose your sunscreen with care!

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Sunscreens have come under the scanner of late. Don't pick just anything off the shelf because it smells good or looks nice. The sun's rays have both UVA and UVB radiation. UVA causes immediate tanning; UVB causes sunburns (redness, swelling, peeling), delayed dark pigmentation that occurs a few weeks after exposure and even skin cancer. So your sunscreen MUST protect against both UVA and UVB.

Most commercial brands carry only an 'SPF' tag. Sun protecting factor or SPF is only a measure of UVB protection offered by a sunscreen. In other words, if your sunscreen has an SPF of 80 or more but no UVA protection, it will NOT save you from a tan! So choose wisely. Brands like Cetaphil, Neutrogena, Sungrace etc give you adequate wide spectrum protection.


Image: If you're planning on frolicking in a bikini like Neha, ensure you use a proper sunscreen

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Take cover

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When you're outdoors, try to carry an umbrella or wear a wide-brimmed hat or tie a scarf around your head. No sunscreen can give you 100 percent protection, so a physical barrier of dark cloth between your skin and the sun is very helpful.


Image: Follow supermodel Elle Macpherson's lead and wear a hat in the heat
Photographs: Cover of Hamptons
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A quick-fix for burns

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Keep a bottle of calamine in your chiller at all times -- it's a great quick fix for a sunburn. Slather on generously along with ice application on red, irritated sunburnt skin for immediate cooling. It works well for prickly heat rashes on children too.

If the skin feels painful, is extremely red, swollen or peeling, you should consult a skin specialist immediately for acute sunburn treatment.


Image: Make sure you don't burn your skin in a bid for Rihanna's sun-kissed tan

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Dress right

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Keep your skin well ventilated. Wear loose cotton clothing -- avoid the tight lycras and nylons for these few months.

Dust yourself with talc frequently to absorb sweat. Do not over-use antiperspirants, as blocking the natural process of sweating can cause the body to overheat; sweat is nature's way of cooling the body.

Also try to stay indoors between 10 am and 5 pm. Keep rooms well-aired at least, if not air-conditioned.


Image: Cool casuals in cotton and shorts as seen here on Lisa Haydon are ideal summerwear
Photographs: Uttam Ghosh
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Alter your fitness regime

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Shower frequently and if possible change your fitness regime to include swimming and yoga. That's two great coolers: one for the body, the other for the mind!


Image: Take up the practice of yoga like Shilpa Shetty
Photographs: Courtesy Shemaroo Entertainment
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