“There are certain rays that can cause damage to the epidermal layer. Either cover it up completely, so that the rays don’t strike you directly, or apply a superficial layer, ie, sunscreen,” says beauty expert Aashmeen Munjal.If there is one thing that all dermatologists and skincare experts will tell you as you step out in the sun, it is this: do not leave home without applying sunscreen. We are constantly exposing our skin to the sun and ultra-violet radiations, which can cause severe damage, which can at times be irreversible.
We might not realise the damage the sun’s rays are causing, because some of it might happen gradually. “With prolonged exposure to the sun, skin starts producing melanin at a faster rate. This may lead to a breaking of the capillaries in the skin, causing wrinkles and even cancer,” warns Munjal.
While store-bought sunscreens are the most feasible bet, there are natural ways to make your own sunscreen, using easily available ingredients. However, applying a sunscreen having at least SPF 30 is a must. But, the efficacy of your regular sunscreen can be doubled up by applying a layer of a homemade sunscreen beneath it. “Many natural ingredients have properties that protect you from the sun. Sandalwood is one of them. There are others like sesame seed oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, saffron, jojoba oil, shea butter and vitamin E oil,” informs beauty expert Shahnaz Husain. You can also add zinc oxide to the mix while making one at home. But be careful of the amount you add. “More zinc oxide means a sunblock that has a chalky look and may show up on the skin,” adds Husain.
One thing you must keep in mind is the SPF count. “Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is very important. If you are in a field job or are holidaying at a place with high sun exposure, then you need minimum SPF 45. The effect of sun’s rays is even more in areas where there’s water (coasts, swimming pools, waterfalls) because reflected rays are the most dangerous. Make sure you apply a waterproof sunscreen,” adds Munjal.
Sunscreens work for a maximum of three hours, so you need to re-apply. Apply it at least 20 minutes before stepping out. You can also use it as the base before applying makeup. And remember, if you are healthy inside, you are healthy outside. Keeping yourself hydrated is also very important. Drink coconut water, lassi, buttermilk and eat foods like sprouts, watermelons and mangoes.
Make sure the sunscreen is absolutely compatible with your skin type. Avoid the area around eyes. Sunscreen gives you about 70% protection. So, the best thing to do is to cover your skin. Among gel, cream and water based sunscreens, you must make sure that the suncreen you choose the one that suits your skin type. Oily or acne-prone skin needs gel-based sunscreen; dry skin needs extra hydrating oil-based one; and sensitive and oily skin needs gel-based one; and sensitive and dehydrated needs cream-based sunscreen.
Do It Yourself
Here are some natural sunscreens that you can rustle up at home:
1. Take 50ml mineral water and add 1tsp pure glycerine or aloe vera gel, ½ tsp sunflower oil. Mix well to make a lotion and then add 3 to 4 tsp zinc oxide. If the total quantity is 60ml, 3 teaspoons zinc oxide will provide SPF 15. You can also add 4 drops of vitamin E oil if the skin is normal to dry.
2. Take 2tbsps each coconut oil, sesame seed oil and sunflower oil. Put them in a bowl and heat in a pan filled with water. Heat till coconut oil has melted. Add a few drops of vitamin E oil. Weigh the amount. If you use 15% zinc oxide of the weight, you will get SPF of 15 to 18.
3. Extract the gel from an aloe vera leaf, mix a pinch of turmeric as it contains antiseptic properties. it will protect you from bacteria caused by sweat. Freeze it in ice cubes and rub it on the skin before leaving house and let it dry.
4. Mix aloe vera juice, a few drops of glycerin and rosewater and store in a spray bottle. Chill in the fridge and spray the solution on exposed body parts.
5. To heal skin that has been damaged by sun, apply glycerin. It helps in preventing the damage from getting permanent. You can also use glycerin soaps and body washes.
6. Desi kharbooja or musk-melon helps remove tan. Mash the pulp and apply on body and face before taking bath. It helps remove melanin stroke from the skin.