Peel away the tan

Peel away the tan

Tanning is the skin’s natural way of protecting itself from harmful rays of the sun. Forgot to use a sunscreen? Don’t fret. Certain home remedies can come to your rescue, avows Shahnaz Husain

Sun tanning is one of the immediate effects of sun exposure. It increases the production of melanin, which is the skin’s pigment or colouring matter. Melanin actually protects the skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Once melanin is produced, in the lower layers of the skin, it moves up to the skin surface. Since it is dark in colour, the skin also becomes tanned, causing us much despair.

The most common solution is to physically protect yourself from the sun’s rays, by applying sunscreens, wearing a hat or carrying a parasol and the like.

Avoiding sun exposure in the afternoon is another no-brainer, as the sun will be directly overhead during those hours. The next best things, after a sunscreen, are anti-tan creams and lotions that can be applied after sun exposure; they help minimise the tanning. 

It is necessary to gently scrub the face, soon after tanning, to reduce its effects. Buy a facial scrub that suits your skin type, and massage and rub it gently, in circular motions on your face. If your skin is dry, use a scrub only once a week. If your skin is normal, use it twice a week, and if it is oily, scrub thrice a week.

 This helps to remove dead skin cells, along with the contained pigment. At least, it helps remove the top-most layer of tan off the skin.

Here are some home remedies to help get rid of tan and sun burn: To make scrub Soak almonds in hot water till their skin comes off easily. Then allow them to become totally dry. Grind them into a powder, making sure to follow absolute hygiene and cleanliness.

Keep this powder in an airtight jar. Every morning, add a little curd or cold milk to two teaspoons of the powder and rub the mixture gently on the skin. Wash it off with water. Mixing rice powder with curd and using it as a scrub helps oily skin. 

To remove tan

* For normal to dry skin: Add a pinch of turmeric (haldi) to curd and apply daily. Wash it off after 20 to 30 minutes. Or, mix one teaspoon honey with two teaspoons lemon juice and apply daily on the face, washing it off with plain water after 20 minutes. 

*For oily skin: Mix cucumber pulp with yoghurt and apply on the face daily. Wash it off after 20 minutes. This can be your daily astringent face-pack. Mix tomato pulp with one teaspoon honey, apply on face and leave it on for 20 minutes before washing it off.

For sunburn

*Cold milk applied daily, using cotton wool, not only helps to soothe the skin, but also keeps it soft. It also makes the skin colour lighter over a period of time, if used daily. It suits normal to dry skin. 

*Another remedy, to soothe sunburn and protect the skin, is to use sesame seeds. Take a handful of the sesame seeds, crush them, and add half a cup of water. Let it stand for two hours. Strain the liquid and use it to wash your face.

To cleanse and lighten

*For face: Mix cucumber and 

papaya pulp with one teaspoon curd, one teaspoon honey, four teaspoons oatmeal and one teaspoon lemon juice. Apply on face and neck, twice a week, and wash it off after 

30 minutes.

*For body: Massage daily with sesame seed oil. Mix besan with curd, lemon juice and a little turmeric. The paste should be thick and should not drip. Apply on neck, arms and legs three times a week for 30 minutes. Wash it off and then apply the oil before bathing. 

* For hands: Take 2 tablespoons sunflower oil and 3 tablespoons coarse sugar. Mix together till it becomes a paste. Apply on your hands. Rinse off after 15 minutes. 

* For feet: Add lemon juice to hot water and soak feet in it for half an hour. It not only cleanses and reduces tan, but also cools and deep-cleanses the skin on your feet. Alternatively, for the lack of time, you could simply cut and rub a lemon on your feet and leave it on for 5 minutes before taking bath.

(The writer is a beauty expert)