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Caring for your skin on a holiday
Dr Parul Kolhe
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April 11, 2007

Travelling is indeed great fun. The joy of going to a new place, away from the daily humdrum of your routine life is incomparable.

But the journeying, sudden shift to new climatic conditions, change of food, etc, can cause skin troubles and can ruin your holiday.

Here are a few things to keep in mind before setting off on your holiday --

~ Plan your destination

Some places may be unsuitable for you if you suffer from certain skin conditions.

For instance, if you have a sun allergy, then a holiday to Goa or Mauritius would be a bad idea, or if you suffer from Psoriasis, dry skin or a condition called Atopic Dermatitis, then a trip to the mountains is definitely out.

~ Pack right 

Carry suitable toiletries with you. For example -- a waterproof, high SPF sunscreen for the seaside; or a heavy moisturiser for cold weather.

Don't forget to put in your night cream, some antiallergic medication, calamine lotion, an antibiotic ointment for cuts and abrasions and an alcohol based hand sanitiser.

~ Travel tips

In aeroplanes, the cabin air is very dry and can cause itching, dryness, flaking and stretched out uncomfortable skin. Use a moisturiser liberally during a long flight and drink plenty of water.

Toilet seats on both planes and trains can cause an embarrassing rash on the thighs and buttocks, called 'Toilet Seat Dermatitis'. Wipe the seat with a tissue and a few drops of hand sanitiser before using it.

~ At the hotel

If you have a sensitive skin, avoid the toileteries provided by the hotel as new products could cause allergies for you. 

Carry your own regular brand of soap, shampoo, conditioner and moisturiser that your skin is used to.

~ Food

If you have any food allergies, for example, to shellfish, strawberries, nuts, milk products, etc, be particular about asking whether these are present in the dish you've ordered.

Local cuisine being unfamiliar, it's difficult to judge the ingredients. For instance, a simple looking soup may have been made with seafood stock and can make you break out into hives if you're allergic to prawns.

~ At the beach/poolside

The best way to avoid a sunburn is to sunbathe with lots of sunscreen on -- also lie under a beach umbrella and expose only one-fifth of your body to the sun for an hour on one day, the next one fifth the next day and so on. For example, your legs below knee one day, your thighs the next day�) -- this divided exposure prevents too much harm from UV rays while getting an even tan. If swimming, reapply sunscreen every 80 minutes.

~ Trekking

Avoid shorts and wear long trousers and long sleeved shirts that protect you better from insect bites, exposure to weeds and wild plants like poison ivy.

Sunscreen is again important and so is a wide-brimmed hat, to keep the sun off your face.

~ Skin emergencies on a holiday

Being careful and well prepared will prevent skin problems from ruining your wonderful holiday.

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