Once again Baishakh has taken over the country in all its sunny glory. It's time for us again to indulge in what we do best- devour the delicious summer fruits, stash up the water bottles in the freezer, get drenched even after a brisk ten minutes' walk... but most of all praying for a few drops of rain. Amidst all the chaos, we forget the most important part of our body that suffers the most in the heat- the skin. While easy solutions of bleach or parlour sessions can be quick fix-ups, they are not long lasting and quite pricey for an average Bangladeshi woman. But fret not, here are some tips which can be nourishing, long lasting and already available in your home!
COVER UP (AS MUCH AS YOU CAN)
This might sound challenging but when you're out, the scorching rays will not be forgiving at all. Since the skin has such a large surface area, dust can settle down and accumulate easily. Wear full sleeves if you are expecting to be out for a long time. Covering the neck is crucial as well since most tans occur around it and leaves a very distinguishable mark. Covered shoes are essential during long hours outside as the feet are prone to get visibly dry and hence get seriously tanned. Applying a sunscreen can be useful, depending on the sensitivity of the skin. However, long hours of sunscreen can block the pores and lead to pimples.
In summer, the body loses a lot of water which leads to dry and unhealthy skin. The smartest way to regain the lost fluids is by consuming juicy fruits such as watermelons, lemons, pears and mangoes; like a gift from mother nature, summer fruits are loaded with natural fluids which contains much less calories than fizzy drinks do and are also good for the digestive system, which is directly linked to the skin. However, to be on the safe side, keep the fruits five minutes under running water or half an hour submerged in clean water to get rid of any associated chemicals. Switch to the juice of coconuts, which is both healthy and extremely hydrating, instead of dyed fizzy drinks which are not advantageous to your skin at all. Avoid oily foods, greasy skin products, or anything that has to do with oil on the skin's surface, especially on the face. Oil blocks pores and does not get off your skin easily which often leads to breakouts. Lastly, drink water every hour like clockwork. If possible, set alarms to remind yourself.
This is one of the major consequences of many working Bangladeshis during summertime. Even an hour outside in Grishhokal for a couple of days, can leave distinguishable tan marks especially around the face, neck and feet. Ice cold water is a great at cooling sunburns and severely tanned skin, if immediately applied on the affected area. Cucumbers and lemons are powerful and natural bleaching agents and can be even better if combined; so is turmeric and tomato paste. Honey can naturally and effectively get rid of scars, while yogurt and milk can hydrate and moisturise the skin far better than any beauty soap, if applied regularly.
Instead of soaps, which are harsh on the skin, use a good exfoliant to remove dead cells from the skin. After shower, pat your skin dry with a clean towel. While the skin is still wet, apply moisturiser all over; this is because the skin produces more oil when it becomes too dry which can lead to excessive oil formation on the surface of the skin. Drying the dampness between your toes is also a must as your feet are prone to grow fungal infections very fast.
WHAT'S IN YOUR BAG?
Yes, I said bag and not a purse, because it is crucial to be well equipped during the summer for the sake of your skin. A water bottle, a cotton handkerchief and lip balms are essential for any kind of travelling, be it long or short. Besides these keep a face powder, a face-wash, and an umbrella at all times. A trick for your face powder to last longer is to mix it with talcum powder. The excess of talcum powder can be brushed off, and although you may look like a Japanese Geisha for some time, it's going to save a lot of hassle of several reapplication of the face powder during the day and also prevents breakouts in your face.
Us Bangladeshis are born to thrive in the warmth of the sun, my Nanijaan says. Recently the plethora of dust, the absence of the soothing shade under a tree combined with the searing heat can be quite a challenge, even to us. The skin is just a small part of our body and yet it presents us to the whole world, creating a distinct impression. With the proper care, it can thrive as well and make you more confident.
By Dania Manal