The dawn of summers brings a host of beauty woes and considering the harsh Indian summers, a tan tops the list of concerns. Even the deepest admirer of summers will fail to defend this season when the point of ‘sun tan’ will be put forward by the critics. Tanning has been in and out of the trend from time to time. While some may be obsessed with fair skin, there are many who believe ‘black is beauty’. A tan, whether you get it on the beach, in tanning bed or through incidental exposure to sun, is a bad news. It makes your skin go through a lot, acquired anyway. Tanning is caused due to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, particularly UVA and UVB radiations. A good tan reduces UV penetration to the lower layers of the skin by about 90%. Some molecules in our bodies such as DNA and protein absorb UV radiations and can be damaged by it. Since DNA contains genetic information, damage to DNA can be very dangerous. So protection from UV spectrum is a natural way of staying healthy. Moreover, extreme tanning can be very dangerous since the cumulative skin damage caused by UV radiations can lead to premature aging (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots and more) as well as skin cancer. Even “indoor tanning” using tanning beds, lamps etc. is harmful than sun and tanning products such as sunless tanning sprays and pills can expose you to additional risks. So how can this be prevented? Here are a few tried and tested tips to prevent and cure tanning.
10. Have a smart wardrobe
Planning your wardrobe will be a smart idea to prevent tan. If you can see light through a fabric, then UV rays can get through it too. Since dark colors protects better than light colors, you can pick a dark dress before going out in the sun. In addition to this a tightly woven fabric provides greater protection against loosely woven clothing and dry fabric is generally more protective against those harmful radiations than wet fabric. So make sure you accordingly slip on the right dress and purchase wisely.
9. Cover yourself up
When you are out in the sun, try to cover your skin as much as possible. Although clothes won’t block UV rays completely but can prevent such radiation till a certain level. You can wear long pants, full sleeved shirt, gloves or long skirts to cover yourself up. It will save you from the major damage.
8. Put on a hat
To have that additional protection against sun you can add a hat to your dress. A hat with 2 to 3 inch brim is ideal to protect against areas such as ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp. Straw hats are not a good idea instead you can look for a hat which is made up of tightly woven stuff. A hat with non-reflective dark underside is best. A shade cap is also good since it will protect your neck as well. Or umbrella is a good option.
7. Add sunglasses
Sunglasses are an easy solution that provides protection from sun. UV blocking sunglasses not only protect your eyes but the delicate skin around your eyes as well. Dark glasses are not necessarily better because UV protection comes from not the color of lenses but the chemicals applied on them. Large-framed and wraparound glasses will provide maximum protection to eyes from UV rays by blocking the radiations from different angles.
6. Stay indoor
An obvious and very effective way to limit exposure to UV radiations is to avoid being outdoors in direct sunlight for too long. You don’t have to shun sunlight completely; it would be unwise to reduce your level of physical activities and vitamin D, both of which are beneficial for your health. Plan your outdoor activities such that you are able to avoid hours between 10am and 4pm because this is the time when UVA and UVB rays penetrate to its maximum into the earth surface resulting in tanned skin. Although UV rays reach ground all year, but they differ during different time of the year, being the most intense in spring. So plan your vacations in view of that.
Diet can make a huge difference in sun tolerance. Instead of hiding, fight the enemy (UV rays). First and foremost vitamin C rich foods are eternal masterpiece in skin care. Have guava, kiwi fruit, strawberry etc. The yellow red fruits and vegetables like tomato, carrot, mango, papaya, water spinach and other green leafy vegetables are effective sun-proof food. Soya food, curd and nuts and a cup of cocoa are an angel to the skin. But make sure you don’t have too much of these stuffs since they can be bad for health if consumed in excess.
4. Restore moisture
Rehydrating your body after over exposure to sun will be very good. Drink plenty of water, cucumber juice, water melon juice or other healthy fluids since they will prevent dehydration. You can also keep cool tea bags, cucumber slices or soft cotton dipped in cold milk over your face or you can just take a bath since it will provide relief against the damage the sun has caused to your skin.
Exfoliation (as well as shaving) will fade your tan a lot sooner because each time you exfoliate it takes off the top layer of your skin, which is nothing but dead cells. So it will take away the tanned layer of your skin as well. But it might take several attempts to remove entire tan. Make sure that you don’t overdo exfoliation as it might scratch your skin. A mixture of oats and butter milk could be rubbed onto the tanned area as the oats will help in exfoliating the skin naturally while on the other hand buttermilk is known to be extremely soothing for the skin.
2. Herbal face packs
Here are some of the most popular and effective home remedies to remove that horrid sun tan from your face, arms, hands, neck, back and feet the natural way. These age old home treatments need to be applied at least once a week regularly to obtain noticeable results against tan to get your natural color back.
i) A mixture of rosewater, cucumber juice and lemon juice could be applied as face pack. Since lemon juice contains citric acid, it will remove tan whereas cucumber juice and rosewater act as cooling agents.
ii) Besan (gram flour) and dahi (yoghurt) mixed with a pinch of turmeric in the form of paste is regarded as the best anti-tan natural pack to remove tan.
iii) A mixture of raw milk, turmeric and a few drops of lemon juice can be applied on the skin and allowed to dry. Thereafter it away with some cool water.
iv) Mixing together some honey and lemon juice and applying it on the affected area on a regular basis gives great results against tanning.
v) Aloe Vera gel could be applied over your entire body regardless of the degree of sunburn. It can be easily applied using cotton, without mixing anything, directly onto the skin. Wash it after half an hour or so.
1. Use sunscreen lotions
While a dusky complexion sounds sexy but face tanned, neck not tanned, half legs and arms tanned sounds horrifying. So even if you are not willing to compromise with your fashion statement? Then here is a solution for you. Apply sunscreen lotion to all those areas of your body which remain exposed to the sun. People tend to use fairness creams which contain bleach that is harmful to the skin in the long run. Always choose a sunscreen lotion (not a combination of sunscreen and fairness cream) that suits best to your skin type and is waterproof so that it doesn’t wash away with sweat. Make sure your sunscreen is at least 15 SPF (Sun Protection Factor) as it shields against 92% of harmful radiations while sunscreens of 30 and 40 SPF blocks 95% and 97% of radiations respectively. In addition to this apply your sunscreen generously at least every 4 hours. Even if you apply lip balm or any other lotion on your skin, make sure it is preceded by the application of a sunscreen on your lips.