No, okra and rose water won’t ‘fix’ sunburn and wrinkles

“OKRO FOR SUNBURN, WRINKLES AND GLOW TO YOUR FACE,” reads a message shared on Facebook in Nigeria.

“Do you have sunburn, wrinkles and a rough face? OKRO can fix it for you. All you need is just Okro and Rose Water.”

It describes how to prepare and take the mixture, ending with: “This mask will remove sunburn, wrinkles, decoloration and return the glow of your face.”

But can a mixture of okra and rose water treat sunburn and wrinkles? We checked.


Stay out of the sun during peak hours

Sunburn occurs when the skin has been exposed to the sun for a long period of time. The skin becomes irritated and, in severe cases, swollen and inflamed.

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Wrinkles are a natural part of aging. They are usually prominent on areas mostly exposed to the sun, such as the face, neck, hands and forearms. Other causes are smoking, degree of pigmentation, heredity, and recreational and occupational sun exposure over the years.

Ayesha Akinkugbe, a consultant dermatologist and lecturer at Nigeria’s University of Lagos, told Africa Check that some natural ingredients helped reduce swelling and inflammation, but they had to be subjected to evidence-based medicine. “Based on the literature and evidence available, I know nothing of okra and rose water.”

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Akinkugbe added: “Sunburn is exposure to the sun. In the tropics, we have a lot more sun exposure. Everyone should use sunscreen. But we advise people to try and stay out of the sun when it’s at its hottest, from 10 am to 1 pm.”

She added that people who work outdoors, such as street vendors, are in particular danger of skin damage from the sun. She said they should stay out of the sun as much as possible, use sunscreen, and sell in the shade. This would reduce the likelihood of photo damage from the sun.

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The US Centers for Disease Control recommends giving special attention to covering the ears, scalp, lips, neck, tops of feet and backs of hands with sunscreen, wearing appropriate clothing including a hat and sunglasses, and following the directions on sunscreen bottles.

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