Beat the Heat

As the summer season sets in, it is essential to take good care of your skin and hair to retainthe glow and shine


Hot, humid days, warm, tropical nights, evening barbeques, pina coladas by the pool. Ah, yes, the joys of summer. But in the midst of vacationing and making memories this year, don’t forget the toll summer can take on your skin and hair. Heat, humidity, and the sun extract a heavy price. Not only are you more prone to heat stroke and sunburn during the summer months, you can also be doing long term damage by basking it in the sun’s warm rays—damage that can lead to skin cancer and make you look older than you are.

Here are some tips for summer sun worship:

  • Always use a sunscreen SPF at least 25+. Apply 20 minutes before you go into the sun to allow your skin time to absorb it. Re-apply as needed throughout the day, particularly after a swim. If not able to tolerate due to oiliness, mix it in a little calamine lotion or dab it with talc.
  • Wear broad-rimmed hats, umbrellas, light coloured clothes and UV protective sunglasses when out in sun.
  • Whenever possible, stay out of the sun between 10 am and 2 pm to avoid exposure to the most intensive rays.
  • Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration and heat stroke. Remember that water is your best saviour in summers. It is also the cheapest beauty aid.
  • Nowadays fruits like peach, strawberry, apricot, and kiwi not grown in India are available on big shops along with Indian fruits. Kiwi fruit is exceptionally good if used for moisturising properties. To get a soft skin in humid season, mix juice of half a lime and a spoon of glycerine in a cup of boiled milk. Rub the mixture all over body and keep for half an hour. Rinse with water.
  • Apply cool compresses to sunburned skin to help reduce the area temperature. Never exfoliate or use a mask on sunburned skin until the area has healed. Remember: If you are severely sunburned, consult a dermatologist as soon as possible for treatment.
  • To get rid of the tanning occurred in winter use juice of tomato twice everyday. Don’t forget to have raw tomatoes to include vitamin C in your everyday diet. Tomato and orange is helpful in reducing fine lines of skin.
  • For controlling excessive oiliness of the skin as well as the pimples [acne] for a fast, relatively cheap fix, smooth on a clay mask [Multani mitti] or swipe skin with an astringent made for oily skin; both will draw out excess oil and give you about four hours of shine-free skin. Salicylic acid containing face wash is excellent to reduce oiliness in the hot summer season.
  • Oral intake of 25,000 IU of vitamin A also helps.
  • You could try a pack of grated potato, fuller’s earth and drops of lime. As the pack dries rinse it off thoroughly with water. Dead cells will get removed to give a fresh look.
  • Bathe as many times as possible. Use rose petals and basil leaves in lukewarm water for bathing. This is the wonder formula for a glowing skin.
  • Remove dead cells and dirt with a homemade scrubber of rose water and refined flour. If you have no time to spare at morning add a few drops of menthol, chamomile or lavender essential to the last mug of water and bathe.

Hair care in summers

The hot summer weather has a damaging effect on your hair too. It is important to take active steps to take good care of your hair. Here are a few handy tips.

  • To get rid of tangles in your hair, brush your hair from the bottom. If you brush from the top, you pull tangles together, and eventually create knots, making it harder to take care of hair.
  • To get rid of dandruff, use a medicated shampoo containing ketoconazole and zinc pyrithrone once a week. For those wanting a home remedy, soak one tsp fenugreek [methi] seeds overnight. Mix the seeds with sour curd in the morning. Coat the scalp with the mixture. Only soaked fenugreek seeds paste is also helpful for treating dandruff.
  • Cucumber being rich in silicon sulphur, is useful in treating dandruff as well as in hair fall problem. Or rub half lemon on the scalp at two hrs before washing the hair.
  • Always wet your hair or apply conditioner before you go swimming [hair absorbs very well, so if you do not, it will absorb the salt or chlorine in the sea or pool]. If hair is already wet, absorption will be minimal
  • Egg shampoo adds protein to your hair, so if you can use it if you have damaged, fragile, or even tinted. It is also very gentle and cleans hair without striping it of natural oils.
  • For healthy hair fill you diet with lots of vegetables, vitamin A, C, B complex, iron, iodine, and copper.
  • In summers, to avoid greasy hair, scrub scalp very lightly when washing hair. When scalp is scrubbed harshly, sebaceous glands are activated, and this produces more oils.
  • For frizzy hair, try using a little body lotion to tone down the frizz. If you have coloured hair, always remember to cover your hair while sun bathing.
  • Although scalp hair is tough and can withstand a lot of abuse, it can be damaged by too much or inexpertly applied perming, dyeing, bleaching, and massage. Occasionally the scalp is allergic to the dye and becomes inflamed and swollen. To prevent this, the dye should be tested by applying it to a small area on the arm. If a patch of inflammation has developed, the dye must not be used.
  • Hair growth depends on an adequate diet. A widespread diet problem which causes loss of hair is iron deficiency anaemia. The cause is too little iron in blood, brought on by a diet containing too little meat, eggs, cereals or peas and beans. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also needed to provide vitamin C, which enables the body to absorb iron. If these cannot be substituted by food, it is wise to take the right multivitamin to fill the need for the particular vitamin.
  • Summer is the time to switch to a gentler shampoo, if you’re not using an ultragentle one already. In winter, you deal with dry air, but in summer, sweat, salt water, chlorine and the sun can have the same damaging effects as chemical treatments, so you have to be more gentle to keep hair shiny and soft. Wash your hair daily. It keeps the scalp clean and prevents excess oiliness. But do not scrub the hair too hard as this may increase the oil production. Oiling of the hair should be avoided; at least the oil should not be left on the skin.

So, regardless of your skin colour [yes, even black skin can get sunburned!], you need to protect your skin and hair in summer.

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Apratim Goel
Dr Apratim Goel in the CEO and Medical Director of a chain of laser and cosmetic clinics called Cutis Skin Studio, Mumbai. An extremely passionate aesthetician and board certified dermatologist, she is an author and a voracious reader.


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