Exposure to the ultra-violet rays can also lead to dark patches or pigmentation of the skin. The first aspect of the treatment is protection from sun.
First to avoid skin pigmentation, one should try to avoid sun-exposure as far as possible. 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 an SPF of 20 and above. SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is usually mentioned on the label. The number is related to the duration of sun exposure. Sunscreens of higher SPF are also available.
The sunscreen should be applied about 20 minutes before sun-exposure, to allow it 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 sunscreen after 20 to 30 minutes.
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.
Here are some home remedies
• Mix three tablespoons almond meal (ground almonds) with half cup yogurt (curd). Apply on the face and neck. Rub gently, especially on the dark patches and wash off. It also helps to remove tan.
• For dry skin, add half teaspoon til oil to a little milk and apply on the face. Wipe off with moist cotton wool after 15 minutes. Til oil is actually a treatment for sun-damage. It helps dark patches to gradually become lighter.
• 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.
• For dark spots: Add a pinch of turmeric (haldi) to curd and apply daily on the entire face. Wash it off after 20 to 30 minutes. This helps to lighten dark spots. For dry skin, mix one teaspoon honey with milk and apply daily on the face, washing it off with plain water after 20 minutes.
• Mask: Mix three teaspoons oatmeal with ripe papaya pulp and one teaspoon curd into a thick paste. Apply and wash off after 20 minutes. This mask suits both dry and oily skins.