It would be an understatement to say that the summers are getting hotter each year. Even a small walk outside during the day in the heat can be draining. Our skin is the first to bear the brunt of the harmful effects of the sun. Tanning and sunburns aside, too much sun exposure without adequate protection can even cause skin cancers.
We got in touch with Dr Sonal Ahuja, a sprightly dermatologist from Navi Mumbai and she has shared with us some great skincare tips for summer for the entire family.
Q: What are the most common skin problems during summer?
A: Skin allergy to sun is the most commonly noticed skin issue during summer. This can be followed by:
• Redness of the face
• Increase in existing pigmentation
• Appearance of new pigmentation
An increase in fine lines and wrinkles over face is also a common chronic problem people face if they don’t take care of their skin in summers. There are chances of other uncommon diseases such as the worsening of various light- induced skin diseases or even few types of skin cancer.
Q: Some people sweat more, what are the potential issues for such a skin type during summer?
A: Excessive sweating is termed as hyperhydrosis. It can occur due to no reason at all. It may be emotional or anxiety related, or it could even be a secondary reaction to some diseases like diabetes, fever etc. It is a no-brainer that people with such a condition will have excessive sweating during summer.
If it causes social embarrassment, then there are ways to treat it but a visit to a dermatologist for evaluation and treatment is a must. Generally, I would suggest that those who sweat a lot should use a good antibacterial soap for bathing so that the sweat does not have bad odour, as sweat tends develop a bad odour only if there is colonisation of the sweat with skin bacteria.
Q: What are the primary skincare tips for summer that one must follow?
A: Sunscreen is a must 24/7 for all 365 days if you want to look good when you age. The highest levels of chronic damage to skin due to sun is seen when you start ageing. Your face starts to photo age, that is, have fines lines, wrinkles, pigmentation etc.
An ideal sunscreen is one with the required SPF and it should be applied in proper amounts over the face every 2-3 hours in the day till 4-5pm. Importantly, there’s more care to be taken during cloudy weather as 80-90% of sunlight can pass through the clouds itself and still be harmful to your skin.
Drinking plenty of water and fluids is also important as it helps flush out toxins and prevents dehydration.
Q: What is SPF and how does one choose the ideal sunscreen?
A: SPF or sun protection factor is the standard measure to gauge the effectiveness of a sunscreen. It can be in the range of 6-50, 6 providing the minimum protection and 50, the maximum. For Indian skin, a dermatologically tested sunscreen of SPF 15-30 is good enough.
Q: Do children require sunscreen?
A: Most definitely. Children above the age of 2 can safely use a good quality sunscreen meant for adults. For toddlers, the sunscreen should be basic. That is one containing inorganic UV filters.
Q: What other skincare tips for summer do you suggest apart from the ones above?
A: Along with sunscreen, it is advisable to always use hats, umbrellas, loose, full-sleeved clothes, especially for those who work outdoors.
Eating a good amount of foods rich in carotenoids like mangoes, spinach, turnip, cabbage, peas, kiwi, avocado etc.is also healthy for the skin.
Q: When does it become imperative to visit a dermatologist in summer?
A: If you experience any itching that increases with sun exposure, or any lesions in the exposed part of your skin like face, neck or hands which experience irritation as and when you step out in sun then you must visit a dermatologist.
Also read more about: Sunglasses for your little one?
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