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Ace your sun-protection regime with skincare expert avni amlani

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Remember when you were a kid and would step out every evening after your homework to play around in the sun? Did your mum ever urge you to put on sunscreen? If she did, you belong to a very small percentage of people who were protected from the sun at that age, in India.

Sunscreens, and other products that repair any sun-damage, are a relatively new concept in India. Women have only just begun to add it to their beauty regime. Hence, there’s a lot of confusion regarding which products to use, which ingredients to look out for, or even how often should you apply one?

We have the perfect expert to answer all your sunscreen related queries. Meet Avni Amlani, skin care genius and Education Director at Dermalogica India. She has over 30 years of experience educating about and specializing in skincare treatments. She has managed and owned many skincare clinics in London before her foray in India. Buckle up, as she shares all the valuable info on protecting your skin from the harsh sun.

Beauty Book: What is SPF and exactly what strength of SPF suits the Indian skin?

Avni Amlani: “Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is the length of time one can be out in the sun without burning, thus a sunscreen’s ability to delay sun induced redness or burning on the skin.

Multiply the amount of time you can stay out in the sun before burning (usually about 10 minutes) with the SPF number on the sunscreen and you’ll get the time you can safely stay out in the sun or when reapplication is needed. For instance, SPF15 x 10 minutes = 150 mins, therefore you will need to reapply the sunscreen after approximately 2.5 hours. 

An SPF15 provides about 94% protection from UVA & B rays, SPF30 blocks 97% and anything higher above provides a maximum of 98.5% protection. Thus, no matter which factor is used, reapplication is required.  

The golden rule – reapply every two to three hours whilst outdoors.” 

Try our personal favorites at Nykaa: Clinique SPF 50 With/Avec UVA UVB Protection Face Cream, Bioderma Photoderm Max Aquafluide SPF 50+ Teinte Claire, Kaya Daily Moisturizing Sunscreen SPF 30 - Sun Defense 

BB: What are the summer concerns that urban Indian women tend to ignore?

AA: “Urban Indian women don’t feel it necessary to apply a sunscreen whilst they are in the house, travelling in a car or at work in an office. However, ultra violet radiation penetrates through glass (tinted and un-tinted) and windows, thus a sunscreen needs to be applied 365 days a year throughout daylight hours. Wear SPF as part of a “daylight defence” regimen to help prevent skin cancer, premature aging and photodamage.

Women also tend to skip on moisturizer in the summer; however it is needed depending on the skin condition. A prescribed moisturizer will hydrate, nourish and smooth the skin.

Quite often eyes, ears, lips, hands & feet are neglected from the harmful damage of UV rays. One needs to use a solar shield for eyes, ears & lips. We should also use a sunblock meant for our body (especially for the exposed body parts).

The humidity in the summer months can lead to congestion and blocked pores, thus exfoliation is a necessity to give a smoother and even skin texture/tone, whilst preventing breakouts.”

The easiest way is to go for SPF based moisturizers, makeup & exfoliators: Lakme Peach Milk Moisturiser SPF 24 PA++, Lakme Sun Expert Ultra Matte SPF 40 Pa+++ Compact, Jovees De-Tan Face Scrub (Blackplum &Curcuma)With Spf

BB: Compared to facial skin, we tend to neglect the rest of our body. What would you suggest as a basic skincare routine for the hands and feet?

AA:“Spa manicures and pedicures are a must for healthy hands and feet, especially ones which include exfoliation, masque and moisturizing. Your at-home regimen should include using a conditioning body wash (no soap) followed by a body scrub, thrice a week, to polish and rejuvenate the skin. It is advisable to use an antibacterial buffing cloth daily with your body wash, this accentuate the removal of dead skin cells. Always apply a hydrating body cream, preferably with an SPF, daily after a shower to nourish & condition the skin. Protect your hands with a hand and nail cream, especially after washing hands during the day.”

Your must-have list: The Body Shop Spa Of The World Mediterranean Sea Salt Scrub, Vaseline Derma Care Advanced Repair Body Lotion, Nykaa Hand & Nail Creme

BB: Skin repairing serums are also a new entrant in the Indian market. How can women determine which product works best for them?

AA: “Serums are super concentrated formulas based on either water or oil. They are often referred to as concentrates and contain a higher dosage of biologically active substances than their moisturizer (cream) counterparts. This allows for quicker more effective penetration of active ingredients to address specific skin care issues. There are a host of serums available in the market– brightening serums to age management repair serums to special clearing boosters for acne-prone skin. Therefore one needs to choose a serum accordingly to address their skin concerns. Ideally get professional advice on homecare regimen.”

Nykaa favors with the ones high on SPF: NIVEA Sun - Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Spray SPF 50, Avene Thermal Spring Water, L'Oreal Paris UV Perfect Super Aqua Essence SPF 50+ PA++++ Long UVA

BB: What type of skin – dry/sensitive/oily/normal is most susceptible to damage in summer? What is the one most important skincare regimen for each type of skin?

AA: “All skin types are equally susceptible to sun damage and need to be protected. Sensitive skin however can get highly inflamed and irritated with sun exposure and would require calming and soothing products which help to repair and protect the barrier function. Applying a physical sunscreen for sensitive skin is a must! Oily skin has a tendency to breakouts in the hot, humid conditions, thus exfoliation is important to keep breakouts and congestion at bay. Normal skin needs to be protected from sun damage thus application of a sunscreen is vital. Dry skin requires application of a nourishing moisturizer with sun protection. However all skin types need to follow a basic homecare routine of, cleansing, exfoliating, toning and moisturizing (with SPF).

Sunscreens no longer need to be greasy and chalky, with newer ingredients and advanced technology brands have developed sunscreens for specific skin conditions, for example oil-free sun block for oily skin absorbs excess oil and provides a matt look. Apply around one teaspoon to the face, and a full ounce (think shot glass) to exposed part of the body for optimum coverage.”

Try Ponds Sun Protect Non-Oily Sunscreen SPF 50, Neutrogena Sheer Zinc Dry Touch Sunscreen SPF50+ (For Sensitive Skin), Lotus Professional Phyto-Rx Skin Firming Anti-Ageing Creme SPF 25 Pa+++

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