Sun Protection Mantras for Desi Skin

[In this post, Dr. Aparna Santhanam, skin care expert from Kaya Clinic gives some valuable advice about sun protection and skin care for Desi (Indian) skin.]

sunIt is the truth. The quantum of sun that we as Indians are exposed to in summer far outstrips that which our western counterparts experience. Yet, most of our fundas on sun care emanate from the west. Let us look specifically at some unique issues that Indian skin faces due to the sun.

  1. The risk of sun exposure in the west is mainly linked to worries about skin cancer. There is some good news for us. Being pigmented, we have some inherent protection and with a sensible outlook to sun, we do not have to worry about the risk of contracting cancer.
  2. The biggest risk that Indian skin faces is pigmentation. Due to extra melanin in the skin and a prototype that is prone to tanning, patchy darkening of the skin is the biggest worry. This can be effectively prevented as well as treated.
  3. The third worrying side effect of sun exposure is premature ageing of the skin. Again, Indian skin ages more slowly than our western counterparts. This gives us an opportunity to protect our skin to hold aging at bay for even longer.

Ten Mantras for protection

  1. Use a sunscreen at all times between the timings of 8 am to 6
  2. Ensure that your sunscreen has a UV A and UV B block. Look for words like broad spectrum and dual protection which indicate this.
  3. The SPF factor is an indication of UVB protection which is a sun burn protection indicator. So, do not get too caught up on the SPF number. The way you apply the sunscreen is far more important.
  4. Apply the sunscreen at least 20 minutes before you step outdoors. Ensure that you cover all exposed parts including ear lobes, neck and arms liberally with the sunscreen. Reapply the sunscreen every four hours.
  5. If you are spending a day at the beach or the pool, ensure you apply the sunscreen every one hour.
  6. Bolster your diet with food high in anti oxidants like carrots, papaya, pomegranate, beetroots and water melon, for internal sun protection.
  7. Being Indians, our lips are prone to darkening and pigmentation. Do use a lip balm with sunscreen to prevent darkening.
  8. Check areas like forehead and around your mouth to ensure you detect and seek help early for pigmentation.
  9. Do not forget to protect your back and wear gear like goggles for additional protection.
  10. Services like skin polishing and detanning peels can help you reverse tanning quickly. Do check with your dermatologist regarding the same.

Be sun safe and skin smart this summer. Follow these mantras and bask in the glory of a lovely summer’s day!

About Dr. Aparna Santhanam

Dr. Aparna Santhanam (MD,DNB), is a 39 year old cosmetic dermatologist and hair specialist from Mumbai, India with a long standing interest in writing of all kinds as well as holistic health and fitness. A firm believer in combining modern medicine with traditional beliefs and remedies, she has worked with various companies like Marico, Kaya, Cipla and Novartis. She currently has her own practice in Chembur and is a beauty and wellness consultant with Kaya Skin Clinic, Kaya life and Marico. She is also, a professionally qualified and trained broadcaster and columnist with experience in various forms of electronic, print and digital media.

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  1. Anonymous9:34 AM

    Avoid sun exposure during between 10 am and 4 pm. * Always wear sunscreen with UVB and UVA exposure protective chemicals and with SPF 15 or higher, even on cloudy days. * Apply at least one ounce — about a shot glass full — of sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapply frequently — at least every two hours if in continuous sunlight. * Wear sunglasses treated to absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation, use a lip balm with an SPF of at least 15.

  2. Dress in light, loose, cotton clothing. Natural fabrics like cotton are much cooler than most synthetics (though there are new high-tech synthetics made specifically to keep you cool). Protective hats (Wide-brimmed) keep the sun out of your eyes and provide some cooling shade. Loose fitting clothes allow air to circulate, keeping you cooler. The fewer clothes, the better, but make sure to be appropriate to the circumstances

  3. Anonymous1:38 PM

    can you suggest the names of the products for sunscreen??


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