- Health A-Z
- Diet & Fitness
- Diabetes Mein Immunity
- MY MONEY
- Home Remedies
- Web Stories
The skin has wonderful protective responses. In the deeper layers of the epidermis are cells that produce melanin, the pigment that gives the skin its colour. Melanin actually protects the skin from the sun's radiation. It increases on exposure to the sun and moves up, or is transferred to the upper layers of the skin to the skin-surface. That is why the skin gets tanned on sun-exposure.
During winter, we love to bask in the sun. This not only causes the skin to become tanned, but exposure to the ultra-violet rays can also lead to dark patches or pigmentation of the skin, because the melanin is transferred in an uneven manner. The cause may be an internal one, but sun-exposure makes it visible on the face in the form of dark patches. Repeated exposure to the sun causes the patches to become more apparent and persistent. In winter, the skin also loses moisture and becomes dry. This makes the patches even more visible on the skin surface.
The first aspect of the treatment is protection from the sun. Physical protection is the only answer, with an umbrella or hat, and also by applying a sunscreen before going out in the sun. Select a sunscreen with a SPF of at least 20 or 25. The sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before sun-exposure, to allow it time to be absorbed by the skin. It should be reapplied if you are in the sun for longer than an hour. The effects of the sun increase near water bodies and snow, as they reflect the sun's radiation. Therefore, it becomes all the more important to protect the skin and re-apply the sun screen after 20 to 30 minutes.
During winter, the skin should be kept moisturized at all times, especially if it is a normal to dry skin. At night, after cleansing, apply a nourishing cream and massage it on the skin with a few drops of water. This helps to improve the skin's ability to retain moisture.
The use of scrubs and masks also help to remove dead skin cells and their contained pigment. This helps the dark patches to gradually become lighter. External care, itself, can remove pigmentation permanently, provided protective care is followed afterwards. Even when the pigmented patches disappear, one should continue to use a sunscreen or sun block. In fact, sun-protection is an important part of modern cosmetic-care, to protect the skin from sun-damage and premature ageing.
(This article is authored by Shahnaz Husain, a Padma Shri Award recipient and pioneer of the Ayurvedic beauty movement and the head of a global network of franchise ventures and 375 formulations.)
Follow us on