Enjoy sunshine but try to protect the skin from extreme heat.

Sun the power-house of our solar system is a benevolent healer and maintainer of health. Its vibrant vigour transforms and changes the bio-electric ability of all living things. At dawn supermacy of sun is invoked through meditation, yogic postures,
deep breathing, devotional chanting and aura purification. 'Surya is our protector says Gayatri Mantra; a fervent salutation to sun's glory to stimulate our body and illuminate our mind.
Enjoy sunshine but try to protect the skin from extreme heat because of the strong waves of radiation that emit from the sun. On a hot summer day it is particularly damaging, for the rays penetrate the skin deeply restricting its elasticity and speed up the ageing process. Even while sitting in the shade rays reach us through reflection of objects like water, sand and concrete surfaces that intensify radiation.
Sun's rays travel at a shorter distance to reach those residing in areas closer to the Equator or at high altitudes within the tropics and are almost 25 per cent stronger than normal. Summer season is skinassault time since ultraviolet rays – sunlight at the violet end of freckles, blemishes, spots, and wrinkles. Sufficient water intake is essential to improve skin condition as it is an important element for cellular integrity. Water aids digestion, eliminates waste and cleanses kidneys while dehydration impairs body's normal functions and makes skin look dull and dry.
Skin's connective tissues are composed primarily of collagen, a protein that has property of being able to bind with water. It provides skin a soft moist webbed cushion giving it smoothness and elasticity to fold as body moves. But if its fibres bunch up then wrinkles appear and skin tends to sag. This condition can occur even in relatively young skin due to overexposure to sunlight.
Many of us with dark shade of skin have more melanin which is natural protection against sun. Our dark skin tans easily but is less susceptible to burns because of the melanin. Repeated doses of sunburn can damage skin and even lead to skin cancer. Sunburn is linked to shorter ultraviolet wavelengths.
To save skin from sunburn and neutralise free radicals responsible for premature ageing wear protective clothing and cover head and arms before stepping out of the house. Apply sunscreen preferably one free of any fragrance as oil and emulsifier can in some cases cause an allergy. Use of sunscreen lotion is beneficial when at the beach or out in the sun for long.
Give eyes their own sunscreen by wearing sunglasses that can block as much ultraviolet light as possible. Even when not very sunny application of some sunscreen prevents skin pigmentation.
SKIN'S FUNCTIONS
The four-fold function of our skin is sensation, absorption, secretion and protection. Skin is a storehouse of water, salt, glucose and fat, and chief producer of endocrine hormones.
Being the source of special senses our skin contains more sensors – 6,40,000 sensory receptors – for touch, pain, pleasure,vibration, heat, pressure and electrical fields than any other part of the body. It's our first line of protection from outside and a reflection of what's going on inside the body and mind.
Skin is composed of two main layers. Epidermis, the outer layer prevents dirt, dust, grime, germs, disease microbes and other pollutants from entering the body and defends it from ravages of weather and usual bruising, knocking, scraping and burning. It has a selfhealing mechanism that get into the act when skin is cut, punched or pierced by formation of protective clots and scabs that check infection and blood loss.
Epidermis repairs itself and is constantly growing with new cells being produced at its base. Dead cells flake away and are replaced by fresh ones and the skin gets a clear complexion once every month. During this process cells accumulate a protein called Keratin that shield the body from harsh sunlight and other environmental elements. Dermis or the true skin houses sweat glands varying in number from 400 to 2,800 to the square inch that regulate body temperature and are excellent indicators of one's wellbeing. And also sebaceous glands which secrete sebum, a fatty acid combined with cholesterol, a natural lubricant that keeps skin smooth and supple. During the teen year sebaceous glands are overactive, but to slow down the production of oil a balanced diet, regular sleep and exercise can check eruption of pimples and spots.
In youth skin has freshness and glow and to attain a longer mileage for smooth healthy skin regular care and attention are necessary to stall ageing process. For 'a woman's skin betrays her age more blatantly than any part of her body.'
Sun and our skin work together to furnish us a wholesome physique. 'Turn towards the sun' advises the Florentine philosopher Marsilio Ficino 'its vital rays restore health and life on all and drive away disease and ailments.