SECRET SUNBURN RISKS REVEALED!
Innocent habits sabotaging your sun protection
Because it turns out slathering on the SPF isn’t the only way to avoid the sun’s harsh rays
You diligently apply sunscreen, stay in the shade at midday and don your sunnies at every opportunity. But have you been dining late at night, eating celery and exfoliating? These common errors could render your skin susceptible to sun damage. Here’s how…
EATING LATE AT NIGHT
Abnormal eating can cause harmful shifts in your skin’s biological clock, and eating late at night can leave the skin less able to repair sun damage, new research has revealed.
According to the findings from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in the US, a natural healing chemical was found to be lower when meal times were out of sync. So if you’re planning a day at the beach, you should skip the late-night meal and stick to a routine instead.
Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the skin’s outer surface with
scrubs, chemicals, enzymes and brushes. While it reveals the brighter, newer skin beneath, it also removes a protective barrier and leaves skin more sensitive to the sun. If you must exfoliate, make sure to do so the night before spending time in the sun rather than the morning of.
WEARING PERFUME OR AFTERSHAVE
Certain fragrances can leave skin more prone to burning. Bergamot oil, for example, is known to cause blistering on the skin when exposed to strong sunlight. It’s best to avoid spraying scent onto your skin before you go outside, so stick to applying it to your clothing, instead.
According to toxicologists, celery contains organic compounds called furanocoumarins that cause the skin to be more photosensitive, and can lead to more intense sunburn. Other foods that contain the compound include parsley and parsnips. Opt for carotenoid foods, which can protect the skin from harmful UV rays. Think tomatoes, watermelon, red capsicum and carrots.
IGNORING THE EXPIRY DATE
According to SunSmart, sunscreen should last for two to three years if it’s been stored below 30ºC. However, always check the expiration date, and when in doubt, throw it out.
LASER HAIR REMOVAL
After laser hair removal treatments, skin will be sensitive, and will need time to heal. Excessive sun exposure at this time risks damage to the skin, so it’s highly advisable to protect your skin and avoid sunbathing. Sun worshippers are advised to apply sun protection of at least SPF 30, and to don a wide-brimmed hat and long
sleeves for about a week.
When applied directly to the skin, citrus fruit can cause a chemical burn similar to those inflicted by stinging nettles, called phytophotodermatitis. While lemon juice is a popular natural remedy for lightening hair in the sun, it’s important to avoid the scalp, face and neck.
USING ANTI-AGEING PRODUCTS
Anti-ageing beauty products containing agents such as retinol, alpha-hydroxy acids and glycolic acid can temporarily increase photosensitivity, creating an adverse effect. As with exfoliation, these agents strip the outer layers of the skin. Always check the label, or consult your dermatologist.
TAKING SCREEN TIME OUTSIDE
Try to limit your screen time outside. A 2015 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed using an iPad outdoors reflects ultraviolet light, increasing the amount a user is exposed to by 85 per cent ( 35 per cent for an iPhone).
Many medications and topical solutions can cause the skin to burn or break out in a rash when exposed to ultraviolet light, according to the National Tanning Training Institute in the US. These include antihistamines, antidepressants and even some contraceptives. As with beauty products, make sure to check the label and consult your doctor if you’re unsure.