Well , in my time , it was all CMP. Cleanse , Moisturize, Protect. You cleansed as soon as you woke up, moisturized hugely with all the sweat as you did your compulsory 30 surya namaskars, and then you protected yourself with a decent bath and some sensible clothes.
It is still CMP. Of a different kind, and suryanamaskars have given way to the Bollywood Style Harlem Shake. While clothes and skin fight over who gets seen more and so on. Read on ....
At the cost of sounding redundant, let me just say that the weather, the Sun, the distance from the Earth, the various revolutions and rotations, have remained basically unchanged over the last half century or so. And summer, to me, has always been about looking for shades, cottons, swimming, tanning, aam-pannha, nimbu-paani and ice.
This was true 50 years ago and remains so even today. (Am one of the few folks who are qualified to say that.... :-) )
If you have a daughter in her twenties, you soon realize that in addition to the above, it is now all about protecting the skin , by means of various lotions, which actually smell quite nice. If that daughter also actively swims, then you also, learn about sunscreens. None of these existed in my childhood, which was really concerned with ambehaldi, cream and milk being slathered on the face at bath time, all year round, and you never ever cribbed about summer, as the mangoes added to the Sunny Gold.
So it came to pass that we found ourselves at the Indiblogger-Neutrogena Blogger meet at the Marriot. As if the noonday Sun was not enough, there was a surfeit of yellow, in the banners, the drapes, the tees being worn by some official types, and even the small Chinese umbrellas on which you wrote your name as part of a blogger pool. To add to it, one of the catering chaps walked in with huge glass jars with oranges which presumably were part of the decor.
Times have changed. Girls today know a lot about cosmetics and stuff. To my eternal amusement, every one almost looks like they have stepped out from a magazine. Compared to my time, that is.
I must say, that the organizers very thoughtfully also distributed Freshner Wet Tissues, and moisture wet masks, with cutouts for eyes, nose and lips. Naturally, the older folks (like me and a friend) immediately tested those, and other folks rushed to take photos. And no, Ms Rai, Ms Kaif and Ms Kapoor have nothing to fear from us.
And then we avidly listened to who I called a Neutrogena Rajkanya, as she emerged on the stage, in a brilliant yellow bejewelled gown to compere the proceedings amidst a whole bunch of yellow umbrellas framing a photo of the lovely Prachi Desai , whose face stared down at us amidst Ultrasheer Sunblocks, Bodymists and Ultrasheer Moisture.
After a session of blogger familiarization where the Chinese umbrellas played a major part in getting rank unknowns to meet each other and win prizes (headphones), an effort by the organizers to hark back to their school days and school teachers, by making us sit away from our friends , and some introductory stuff from the manufacturers, Tara Sharma of the Tara Sharma Show appeared, again in a sunny yellow dress to address folks about how the products work for her, and her show about bringing up her kids. A very charming articulate lady, unbelievable as a mother of 2 kids, with an amazingly brilliant skin quality, she ended up giving prizes to some smart folks dressed in, what else, yellow !
Every person coming to talk about Neutrogena had this great smooth and silky skin, right from a special lady from Thailand , to the Rajkanya, to Tara Sharma Saluja. Very impressive.
You took care of your skin using the mantra of Cleanse, Moisturize and Protect. One learnt that protection from the sun was all about protecting our skin from Ultraviolet radiation of two types. One, UVA, that aged the skin by penetrating way inside, and the other, UVB, that disturbed it on the surface and burned the skin, discoloring it. Most sunscreens simply tackle UVB. Helioplex, was the result of tweaking the technology that introduced a skin protective agent against the UVA , and was the speciality of Neutrogena.
Just in case the chemicals got us confused, the Neutrogena Rajkanya introduced groups to the umbrella and ball game.
One group stood around with yellow umbrellas with holes, and another group stood at a distance , simulating the sun, and tried to chuck UVA and UVB balls through the holes. The umbrellas represented various sun protection creams A great way of teaching about UVA , UVB, whole lets them through, and who bars the way.
A great tea break later, things got serious, and we had doctor types doing experiments to demonstrate the Neutrogena product versus some other product, in their capacities to protect. Many questions, even more answers with technical details, research findings and so on.
There were Indiblogger tees, prizes , and hampers from Neutrogena for everyone.
The meet kind of culminated in folks doing the Harlem shake on stage, where the huge model of the Ultrasheer SPF 50 Sunblock tube , was really pushed around.
Some folks were doing a fairly hyper version of the whole thing, and later , some sportingly climbed on stage to do a more "wilambit" (slow action replay) version.
Being fairly slower than "wilambit", and out of great concern for the structural stability of the stage yours truly watched all the fun from a distance.
Which brings me to something.
We can be very hyper about all this. Keep slathering stuff on our faces and bodies, in an effort to keep the skin away from the Sun. We can religiously calculate minutes and do repeat applications of stuff, and perform a countdown before emerging into the Sun. There are mists, and sprays, and almost invisible lotions.
Or we can be at a comfortable pace, judiciously choosing to use these products, along with drinking lots of water, chhaas, citrus fruits, eating light but nutritious and allowing our skin to also feel good from inside.
The application of the mists and sunblock, might probably avoid your getting too tanned. That is probably important in a country where getting tanned is equivalent to being incredibly stupid.
I hope Neutrogena does not succumb to the "Fair is Lovely" stuff in their ads. I hope they highlight how wonderful healthy dusky and brown skins can look and be. I hope they emphasize the importance of hydration and good diet too.
A lot of our young people go overboard and mess up with excessive chemicals being absorbed by their skin. Affecting Vit D3 levels in our bodies, leading to many health problems, typical of today.
In ancient days, Egyptians were known to use Jasmine, lupine and rice bran extracts as sunscreens and sunblocks. Organic stuff, more body friendly, but I can't see today's folks-in-a-hurry doing this. Maybe chemicals from these substances are now extracted and present in the lotions. I don't know.
So learn, educate yourself, use the various products judiciously.
The Sun, has been here longer than all of us.
He watches, and performs. And is probably as delighted to see a lovely, healthy, smooth, well-hydrated skin as all of us.
Submitted as an entry for the Neutrogena and Indiblogger contest on "How I met the Sun" , subsequent to the Meet on 7-4-2013.