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Scout the kitchen, combat summer skin woes

The sweaty summer is back again and so are the umpteen skin problems that come along with it. From tanning to acne, skin problems are common in this harsh weather. Tackle them with easily available kitchen ingredients.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 15, 2013 01:05 IST
Debasmita Ghosh

The sweaty summer is back again and so are the umpteen skin problems that come along with it. While on one hand, tanning and sunburn will continue to torture you through the season, acne, prickly heat (miliaria), fungal and bacterial infections arising from incessant sweating can literally make you feel uncomfortable. If you have been spending a fortune on cosmetics that ended up giving you only temporary results, leave alone the dent in your pocket, then we have some easy solutions for your problems. And well, you
wouldn’t even have to spend much, either. In fact, just raid your kitchen and you will find all the ingredients that are needed to prevent and combat summer skin problems.

Tanning is an occurrence on the skin caused by unprotected exposure of the skin to the sun rays. So if you are planning to hit the beach to beat the heat, be prepared to get tanned. And when you are back you can try this de-tanning face pack.

Papaya pineapple punch: Mash 1/2 cup each of ripe papaya, pineapple and pumpkin. Add lemon juice and apply it to the entire face. Leave it on for 20 minutes, and peel off. You can also add some oatmeal that’ll act as a face pack and natural scrub. “Papaya contains papain, an enzyme that boosts skin lightening, and also removes dead skin and helps reduce freckles and brown spots. Pineapple contains bromelain that’s a natural Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) — an antioxidant that stimulates cell turnover, and helps to fade surface discolourations,” says beauty expert Ritu Kolentine of Cleopatra Spa N Salon.

Sunburn is a form of radiation burn that occurs due to over-exposure of the skin to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. “Travelling out in the sun during peak hours when the sun is at its hottest, 12pm to 4pm, results in severe sunburn. It’s like red patches on the skin. If it’s difficult to avoid these hours then cover yourself up with a hat, an umbrella or a cotton scarf. Wear shades to protect the delicate area around the eye. And after coming back from outdoors, always splash cold water on your face,” says cosmetologist Priyanka Tyagi of Skeyndor skin care. You may use fresh aloe gel to treat the burn or try the following cool cucumber pack.
Cucumber and orange bliss: Soak 4-5 crushed almonds and mix it into half cup cucumber juice, add 1tsp curd, some coco powder, and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Apply on the face and leave it for 20 minutes. Wash it off with cold water. “While cucumber, orange, almonds and curd are all known for their natural skin bleach properties, the cooling properties of cucumber will cool your skin instantly and reduce the redness,” says beauty expert Neeti Arora, Chase aroma and skin care.

The increased sweating during summers makes a person more prone to fungal and bacterial infections. “Areas like the spaces between the toes and fingers, the underarms, the area below the breast, upper inner thigh, groin and other parts are most affect, and reddish scaly patches may develop,” says dermatologist Dr Chiranjiv Chhabra.

Neem theme: Soak neem leaves in water overnight and bathe at least twice a day by mixing this in a bucket of water. Pat dry every corner of the body well. Wear loose cotton garments, avoid wearing socks for long periods, and switch to airy sandals instead of tight shoes to keep your feet aerated. See a doctor if the problem is severe.

ACNE, Miliaria
Problem of acne aggravates during summer because the oil producing sebaceous glands become hyperactive in hot and humid climate. Often in summer, acne even affects your back and shoulders. “This is because the back has more oil-producing sebaceous glands, which are larger than similar glands found on the face,” says skin specialist Dr Seema Malik of Eleganza. On the other hand, Miliaria or prickly heat is marked by itchy rashes that happens due to clogged pores and obstruction of the sweat glands. Here are a few ways to tackle both issues.

Rose power: Freeze rose water to make ice cubes and rub them repeatedly over the acne areas. The healing properties of rose will soothe your skin. You can also add these rose ice cubes into a bucket of lukewarm water and take a nice refreshing bath so that the healing properties of rose spread evenly on all difficult-to-reach acne-affected areas. It will also lessen prickly heat.
Oatmeal and papaya care: Boil 1/2 cup plain oatmeal in water and let it cool. Add 1/4 cup of honey and apply all over your face, avoiding your eye area. Leave it on for 15 minutes. Don’t leave it longer, else it’ll become difficult to remove. Now mash some ripe papaya and apply directly apply to your skin. “While oatmeal dries and exfoliates the skin, and honey works as an excellent skin toner, the papain in papaya quickens healing time for wounds and is a powerful treatment for both acne and miliaria. This pack can fight outbreaks by removing lipids from the skin that clog pores,” says Dr Malik.

Due to extreme heat and reduced moisture levels, the skin often becomes dry and drab. “The high temperature leads to trans-epidermal water loss and thus dryness. Keep yourself well hydrated inside out by drinking 8-10 glasses of water every day and consume fruits rich in water content such as watermelon, kiwi etc,” says cosmetologist Dr Priyanka Tyagi.

Banana, curd and coconut: Firstly wash your face with tender coconut water daily to keep it hydrated. For instant luminosity, take half cup curd, add 2tbsp of sandalwood powder and a few drops of sunflower or olive oil. Mix well to make a paste. Add a mashed banana and apply it on your face and neck. Leave till it dries and wash it with water. “Banana is packed with vitamin C, riboflavin as well as skin friendly enzymes that can instantly soften your skin and give it a glow,” says beauty expert Nirmal Randhawa of Indica Makeover.