Skin irritation and redness is not the summer look we're going for
Expert-approved DIY remedies so you don’t need to hide under a giant straw hat
We can’t live in denial any more. With tear-filled eyes, we say that the time has come to pack away our winter clothes for good. Summer’s here and everything is going to change. Especially our electricity bills and skincare routines.
“There is a loss of water in the skin. Due to this, the skin goes through a dehydration shock,” explains cosmetologist Dr. Prerna Taneja, CEO of Clinic Eximus. “When the water level in the skin reduces, it treats the loss as a threat because the cells of the skin cannot function optimally.”
An allergic response is aggravated, she says, as a protective measure by the skin to save as much water as it can. Add to this kerfuffle UVA and UVB rays.
All the Multani mitti in the world can’t undo the damage caused by wanton ultraviolet light penetrating our epidermis and unleashing inflammation. UV rays destroy the underlying collagen matrix, contributing to photo-ageing, discolouration, wrinkles.
Dr. Rinky Kapoor, a cosmetic dermatologist and surgeon at The Esthetic Clinics, says that sweating (which is unavoidable to an extent), improper hygiene, the bodies overheating and incorrect skincare can turn this your skin into a full-on rager.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to hide under a giant Jacquemus hat to save your skin. We got Kapoor and Taneja to educate us about the ways in which you can protect yourself from angry red skin.
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Just remember that if any kind of skin redness or irritation lasts longer than four days, it’s time to seek professional help.
What you can do to prevent skin redness and irritation
It’s a cliche, but stay hydrated
Make sure you’re getting your daily dose of H20. Depending on your body type and weight, your requirements can range from three to five litres every day.
The easiest way to beat the heat is turning on the AC. It decreases the amount of humidity and moisture in the air. Which up to a point is perfect, but extended use can be overly drying and dehydrate your body and skin.
Kapoor says the best way to counter that is to regularly sip on water. Coffee, tea and a chilled soda drink don’t count.
Compromise on your attire
Joggers and leggings maybe the comfortable outfit of choice, but it’s important to wear loose clothes that allow your skin to breath.
You don’t need to wear shorts, skirts and tank tops if you’re not comfortable with them. Instead, pick clothes made of breathable fabrics like linen and cotton to keep your body ventilated and cool through the day.
Load up on sunscreen
The best tool in your arsenal, short of a burkini, is sunscreen. With the variety available in the market, there’s a sunscreen for every skin type. Kapoor and Taneja both advise to apply it every day without fail, even a little bit if you’re planning to stay indoors.
Dr. Kiran Sethi of Isya Aesthetics recommends we apply about 1-2 tablespoons to effectively protect our face and neck. “The stronger the barrier, the better the sun protection.” If you’re spending the day outdoors, reapply it every couple of hours.
Keep your skin moisturised, a facial mist can help
Invest in a light-weight cream with the right ingredients that’ll keep your skin moisturised and hydrated through the day. If need be, at work reapply it too, Taneja adds. Especially if you’re prone to dryness and staying in an air-conditioned room all day.
Kapoor advises the use of wet wipes or a facial mist spray. A mist may just seem like fancy water at first, but getting one with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid and glycerin can give you a great mid-day boost.
Gentle wet wipes (while not very environmentally-friendly, so use only if you must) can keep your skin clear of sweat and prevent the production of excess sebum that can clog your pores.
Dermatologist-approved DIY remedies to calm skin redness and irritation
Kapoor recommends trying the following home remedies to provide immediate relief to skin irritation.
Aloe vera gel: It has rich anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Apply aloe very gel on the red and itchy parts to cool the area and soothe the skin.
Try Innisfree Aloe Revital Soothing Gel (₹550), Forest Essentials Light Hydrating Facial Gel Pure Aloe Vera (₹1,675), Fabindia Aloe Vera Soothing Gel (₹295), or fresh from your mother’s aloe plant.
Remember to let the stalk rest vertically for a few minutes until a light yellow goo flows out from the bottom.
Oatmeal powder: Add finely ground oatmeal powder to your bathwater. It will help reduce scaling, dryness, roughness, and itching on the skin.
Calamine lotion: If your skin is feeling dry and itchy, then instead of slapping it with moisturiser, use calamine lotion instead. It has calming properties, which will cool the skin and control the redness.
Try Himalaya’s Soothing Calamine Baby Lotion (₹175) or the OG Lacto Calamine Face Lotion (₹191).
Baking soda: Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply on the inflamed parts of the body to immediate relief. Wash it off after 10 minutes.
Coconut oil: Virgin coconut oil is a boon from the summer skin. Use it on burning areas for a calming effect.
Our favourites are Forest Essentials Organic Cold Pressed Virgin Oil Coconut (₹995 – ₹1,975), Organic India Coconut Virgin Oil (₹385) and Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Kama Ayurveda (₹725).