The UVA rays in sunlight cause darkening and wrinkling while UVB rays cause sunburn and skin cancer (a rare condition, as far as Indians are concerned). To effectively protect yourself against both types of sunlight, it's advisable to opt for a 'broad-spectrum sunscreen'. If you're more concerned about tanning, check if the product you use features a BOOT STAR rating above 3; else check with the chemist that you are buying the product from. Given that sunblocks with SPFs ranging from 15-50, offer 93-96% of protection—a relatively marginal difference— it's more crucial to ensure that you purchase broad-spectrum sunscreen than to worry about SPF.
Ideally, you should be applying two finger-tip units (1 gm) of sunscreen directly to your face. Spreading the sunscreen on your palms before applying it to your face, leaves your hands more protected from the sun than your face.
If you're spending time outdoors, reapply sunscreen every two or three hours until sunset.
If you're spending time indoors. reapply sunscreen at least twice or thrice a day, as incident sunlight also has the potential to cause sun damage.
If you're swimming, you need to reapply sunscreen every 40 minutes, even if the sunscreen you're using claims to be water resistant.
Get the Right Kind of Hat
A baseball cap does not protect your ears and scalp and the gap-ridden cane hats easily let the sunlight get through to your scalp. A wide-rimmed hat with a close-knit weave is your best bet.
Opt for darker colours, which will absorb the UVB rays rather than let them penetrate. Scarfs, dupattas and umbrellas work well too.
Change Sweaty Clothes
Change into afresh pair of clothes as soon as you get home. Excessive sweating combined with friction, courtesy tight-fitting clothes, can cause inflammation of the sweat ducts leading to prickly heat and even fungal infections (often found in body folds). It might be ideal to shower before you change.
Sweat also changes the composition of metals, which could cause allergic reactions. So do keep a watchful eye on your wrist and ears, to ensure that you aren't developing allergies to the metals in your watch or earrings.
The best way to tackle excessively dry skin is to moisturise. Powders, however soothing they may temporarily be, could dry your skin out further and are not advisable.
Avoid washing your face too often, as this also washes off the naturally protective layer of oil on your skin.
While airy light-coloured loose-knit clothes let you feel cooler (as they reflect the infra-red heat and warmth of the sun), they also do not offer much protection against the sun's UV radiation, which can cause dryness, age spots, premature aging and tanning. Dark tight-knit clothes are your best UV protection, as they tend to be more impervious to penetration.
As told to Averil Nunes