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Smart tips to beat the sweltering heat
Sonali Arora
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June 12, 2007

Twenty four, 36, 40 and still rising! The mercury is soaring as India continues to be gripped in what seems like an endless heat wave. With the rising temperatures come a host of health complaints -- sunburn, headaches and rashes among others.

But summer doesn't have to mean red, itchy spots and volatile tempers. Here are some easy-to-follow tips that'll make sure you beat the heat while looking good and feeling better.

Skin care

There is a direct correlation between the rising temperatures and skin problems. Anyone who steps out into the sun even for a short while comes back with a litany of complaints -- from dry skin to tanning and sunburn to rashes.

Rashes, redness and constant itching are common complaints during summer, but there are ways to keep that prickly heat at bay.

1. Dress right

An easy way to beat the heat is to dress cool. Drape your body in cool cottons, preferably in light colours. Avoid wearing synthetic or any kind of heavy fabric.

Also, remember to keep it loose. Avoid tight-fitting clothes; they will be uncomfortable on hot, sweaty days and will aggravate any skin problems you might have. Bulky or heavy accessories should be also avoided.

2. Ditch the make-up

A number of women visit the dermatologist regularly, complaining that their skin feels parched and dry. A common reason is the excessive use of make-up. Cosmetic products combined with extended exposure to the sun tend to cause irritation or drying of the skin.

It is recommended that minimal make-up be used during hot summer months. Your skin needs to breathe and heavy make-up only hampers the process. So, avoid it during the summer.

Instead, make sure you use sunscreen before you step out into the sun. 

4. Eat right

Eat light. Avoid heavy, oily food. A diet rich in fruit and liquids will go a long way in keeping your body cool.

Water is the most easy and effective solution to most skin problems; it helps cleanse the body while keeping it cool. Drink loads of it. Splash your face with water at regular intervals to beat the heat.

5. Protect yourself

Sunscreen and lacto-calamine lotion are great friends to have during the summer. Using sunscreen regularly helps prevent suntans and sunburn. It also helps protect your skin from harmful UV rays, so make sure you apply a good sunscreen to all the exposed areas of your body before you step into the sun.

Most of us fall prey to prickly heat during the summer and lacto calamine is great to combat it. If you've got a bad case of red, itchy rash, apply some lacto calamine to the area. The lotion cools the skin while drying up the rash.

Hair care

Your skin is not the only thing that gets damaged by the intense summer heat. Exposure to the sun, combined with humidity, tends to damage hair follicles and results in dry, frizzy, unmanageable hair.

Simplicity is the key when it comes to hair care during the summer.

A short summer crop will not only keep you cool, but will make caring for your hair a lot easier. A regular trim will add style while keeping split ends in check. If you plan to be out in the sun, cover your hair with a hat or a scarf, so that it is protected.

While washing your hair regularly is a good practice during the summer, make sure you don't overdo it. Try to avoid shampooing your hair everyday, as excessive washing will further dry your hair. Make sure you condition regularly too. This will help keep your hair manageable and prevent the strands from becoming dry and brittle.

If you go swimming to stay cool, rinse your hair as soon as you get out of the pool. The chlorine and salts in the pool tend to dry out the hair and the sooner you rinse them out, the better. Conditioning your hair after a swim is also recommended.

Keeping your cool

When the rest of you is suffering the summer heat, can your attitude be far behind? Summer time usually means increased irritation and heightened tempers be it at home, on the bus or at work. Even the most saintly among us can't help but fall prey to the occasional burst of frustration.

So, as you take care of your body's needs during the summer, you need to make an equal effort to take care of your attitude. Smile. Loosen up. And don't let the little things get to you. Try to relax and indulge in your hobbies as often as you can. This will help you de-stress.

Remember, while this extended, hot summer has brought with it various troubles, the rains are not too far away. Adding a few simple practices to your daily routine can go a long way in helping you keep your cool until then.

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