Are the thoughts of a bad tan shadowing your fun summer itinerary? We are here to help you prevent and get rid of that awful sun tan.
Summer time is the time to go out for vacations and picnics. But, as we all know, too much sun exposure can be a bad thing and especially due to skin tan. A day at the beach, hours spent swimming, not using a sunscreen regularly or not using it properly – any of these may cause a skin tan you don’t want. Contrary to popular belief, a tan is not “healthy.” A tan is a sign of skin damage. When exposed to the sun’s UV rays, our skin’s melanocytes produce melanin, the dark pigment that creates the tan.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SUN BURN AND SUN TAN
Though there is no standard explanation for this, generally speaking a sun burn is the skin’s reaction to short term exposure to the harsh UV rays of the sun. It occurs as painful or sore red patch/ patches on sun-exposed areas and can even develop blisters. A sun tan on the other hand, is a painless darkening of skin post sun exposure. Sun burn is usually seen in fairer individuals while a sun tan is usually seen in darker individuals; however this may not always be true.
A tan is our skin’s attempt to prevent UV rays from doing any further damage to the sensitive cells in our epidermis. However, it does not help protect our skin from getting sunburn in the future. While all suntans fade over time, here are few tips that you can follow under supervision of a dermatologist to speed up the fading of your sun tan.
Prevention is the key
To get rid of a tan, preventing further exposure is the key. There are primarily three ways to do this.
• Wear a good broad spectrum sunscreen every day, re-apply it every two hours
• Try to avoid the sun between 10am to 4pm
• Wear tight knit, sun- protective clothing, as well as a hat and sunglasses when you are out.
Sunscreen is a must
Choose a good broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Apply a generous amount 20 to 30 minutes before going out and reapply sunscreen every two hours.
Exfoliation is a great way to get rid of a tan, or at least speed up the process. Shower or bathe using an exfoliating sponge to reduce the tan and speed fading. Add a body scrub or exfoliating body wash to the sponge for extra exfoliation to help reduce the suntan or try a body wash that contains alpha hydroxy acids, as this can help remove a sun ptan. Use a cleanser and moisturizer that contain natural fruit acids.
Try fruit acids
These ensure that new skin cells are more quickly created to replace your superficial dead skin cells that have been damaged by the sun. Skin care products containing AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids) or BHA (beta-hydroxy acids) speed up the rate at which dead skin cells are shed. However exfoliation can leave the skin dry and sensitive so observe your skin’s reaction to fruit acids and always be gentle.
Patience is important
One of the best ways to get rid of a tan is to just be patient and let it fade away. If you cover up, use sunscreen, and try and avoid the sun from 10am to 4pm, your tan may fade and your skin tone will be back to “normal” in a matter of months. Avoid harsh chemicals and easy solutions. If time doesn’t fade your tan, visit the doctor ASAP, as this could be a sign of an underlying disease or a dermatological disorder.
In case skin treatment is required you can try treatments like microdermabrasion, med-facials and chemical peels after consultation with a dermatologist. These may help you to get rid of skin tanning and other signs of sun damage and help to reveal healthy, glowing skin.
Feed on Antioxidants
Make sure you are getting enough antioxidants like beta-carotene, lycopene, vitamins C, E, and A etc. from your diet. Foods rich in antioxidants are berries, pomegranate, citrus fruits, kale, soybeans and nuts etc. Eat well and drink adequate amount of water so your skin regenerates itself.
Here are some home remedies which may be helpful in getting rid of sun tan:
• Mix a tablespoon of gram flour with a little milk and few drops of lemon juice. Apply on your face for about 15 minutes and then wash off.
• Lime juice and honey are very effective for tan removal. Mix equal quantities of honey and lemon juice and apply directly onto the skin. Leave for 20 minutes and wash using a mild cleanser. Use this as your daily remedy to fight sun tan and particularly on the days when you are exposed to excessive sun.
• Make a face pack of one teaspoon of plain yogurt mixed with the juice of half a small orange. The vitamin C and natural alpha hydroxy in oranges helps sun tan fade, and the yogurt nourishes and moisturises dry, tanned skin. Smooth onto face and let sit as a mask for ten minutes. Rinse with warm water.
• Apply a mixture of sugar, glycerine and lemon juice to scrub your face to treat severely tanned skin.
• Mix a little fresh lemon juice, gram flour (besan) and curd and apply it on the skin for 15 minutes regularly to get rid of sun tan.
DIY FACE PACKS
Milk lemon pack: Mix three tablespoons of milk and one tablespoon of lemon
in a bowl. Apply on face and rinse off once dry.
Sandal Wood Turmeric Pack: Sandalwood and turmeric are essential part of many beauty enhancement treatments which includes the treatment for removing sun tan. Mix sandal wood and pure turmeric powder in a ration of 1:1. Add rose water to form a paste. Leave for half an hour or till it is dry and the wash using cold water.
If you get a sun burn, here are few tips you can follow under your doctor’s supervision:
• Avoid the sun until the skin has healed completely.
• To reduce inflammation and pain, you may pop an OTC (over-the-counter) anti-inflammatory pill but only after taking advise from your doctor.
• Soaking in a bath of cool or lukewarm water laced with a handful of baking soda will also ease the burn. Afterward, gently pat on a topical over-the-counter 1 % hydrocortisone cream to help reduce inflammation.
• Try not to pick or peel skin that’s beginning to flake; those dry patches protect forming skin from the environment.
• Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and reapply every 2 hours when going out or on the beach.
(Image via prshots.com/accessorize)