Tanning: Prevention and Cure

Just a couple of hours in the scorching heat are enough to bring your skin down several shades. And another season goes by without wearing those pretty sleeveless summer dresses!

But do you know that tanning is actually a form of protection only. The pigment called melanin increases in our skin to protect us from the harmful UV rays. Now that pigment is responsible for the coloration of skin. When the skin is exposed to the sun for a longer duration of time, then melanin develops to prevent damage of skin.

Prolonged sun exposure can cause skin cancer, skin burns, premature aging, and melanoma of the eyes. Tanning is only one of the visible damages.

PREVENTION

  • Stay indoor

Now to prevent tanning you cannot completely avoid going outdoors and shut yourself inside the confines of your house. The easy solution is to avoid going at the wrong time when the sun is at its peak. That is between 10AM and 4PM. Sun rays are strong at altitudes, at equator, when they reflect off a surface like snow or water. Some people are even more susceptible to the sun based on their genetic make-up. Consider trying out 23andMe to see the history and genealogy of your DNA.

  • Stay covered

Wear clothes that cover the body completely. To wear fully covered clothes may be a little uncomfortable in the humid weather but it is better than getting yourself tanned. Wear cotton clothes. They are airy, comfortable and perfect for this weather. Also wear dark colored clothes because they have a high ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). Clothes that do not let light pass through them are better.

  • Use sunscreen

Those who have field jobs and cannot avoid going out are advised to use sunscreens. Use a sunscreen of SPF (Sun protection factor) rating higher than 15 and take care to check that it is a broad spectrum cream, i.e., it protects from both UVA and UVB radiations. Carefully apply on the entire body. The most commonly missed areas are the ears, back of the neck, lips, hairlines and top of the feet. Apply thirty minutes before going out and remember to keep reapplying after every two hours, especially if you wash your face, even if the sunscreen states that it is water-resistant because that does not mean it is waterproof.

  • Wear hat and sunglasses

Your eyes and your facial skin are the most vulnerable part of your body. So do protect them always by wearing sunglasses and hats. Do not go by the tint of the sunglasses that dark colored will provide more protection than the light one. Go by the rating.

Wraparound sunglasses are even better because they fully cover the area around the eyes providing protection to the sensitive eye corner and eyelids.

Buy hats which have wide brims so that they cover the whole face, ears and the neck. It too should not let light pass through it and should be made of light tightly woven fabric.

  • Protection in other weathers

Do not be fooled that sun damages in only summers. It does so in cloudy and cold weather too. In fact in winters, it reflects off the snow which is even more dangerous than the regular exposure because it is more intense. So do not forget to wear sunscreen. It is not only the beaches where you get tanned!

  • Seek shade!

There is nothing equivalent to the shade that nature provides. Nature has inbuilt measures to beat the heat. Whenever outdoors and the sun is directly roasting you, take shade under a tree, wait till the sun goes down, enjoy the sunny weather and the coolness of the shade!

CURES

Prevention is always better than cure. But even after taking all the precautions there are chances of getting tanned. When that happens then try the following methods to remove your tan. Instead of wasting your money on artificial cosmetics you easily use these natural ingredients to cure your tan.

  • Lemon juice

Lemon juice is very effective in removing tan as it has natural bleaching properties. It can be applied directly on the affected area. Wash it after it dries. Or you can add sugar to it before applying it on your skin.

  • Potato

Potatoes are an excellent remedy for curing sun tans. Potatoes like lemon juice act as bleaching agents because it contains vitamin C. It also cools the skin down. Make a paste out the potatoes by grinding them in a blender and apply it all over the affected area and leave for 30 minutes before washing with cold water. Add lemon juice to the paste for better results.

  • Sandalwood

Sandalwood has anti-aging properties apart from being a cure for sun tan. Make a thick paste of sandalwood and turmeric powder by adding rosewater to it. Apply it on the face and leave till it dries. Then wash it off with cold water. Do this twice a week to see the results.

  • Yogurt

Yogurt, the magical cure for any symptom: It heals the body both internally and externally. As it cools down the stomach and helps in indigestion so does it in curing a sunburn. It cools the affected area and also reduces the redness. It tightens the pores of the skin too. Apply it daily before taking a bath or make a facial pack by adding gram flour to it. To a cup of plain yogurt add cucumber and tomato juice. Apply it on the face and neck and leave for 30-45 minutes before washing with lukewarm water. Or you can use it daily for a fresh and glowing complexion!

  • Cucumber

Cucumber is also a cooling agent. It is wonderful for reducing a sun tan. Simply cut it in rounds and rub over the affected area. Or place a piece on both the eyes for reducing dark circles too.

  • Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera gel not only lightens the skin but also cleanses and nourishes it. Apply it regularly for a week and see the change for yourself. Apply the gel on the affected area before going to bed and leave it overnight. Wash it in the morning. The skin will lighten with regular use.

About the author

Kara Perez

Kara lives in Austin, TX, working as a writer and a nonprofit development associate. She graduated from Wesleyan University in 2011 with $25,302 in student loans and paid them off in three and a half years on a salary of less the $28,000. Kara blogs about debt payoff, frugal living and women in media on her website, www.fromfrugaltofree.wordpress.com

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