Tips to stay sunsmart this season
Sun, sunlight and sunburn.
Even though summer doesn’t officially start until December, the sun is out and people are smiling. Vitamin D levels are increasing and seasonal moods are on the rise.
Apart from a random dump of snow two weeks ago, I am beginning to let myself believe summer is here at last.
The Queenstown Marathon was run in beautiful Central Otago weather and we are reminded why we live paradise.
However, with this joy comes a dark side… but ironically, it’s actually the light side.
The light from the sun can make us feel happy and energetic, but it can also cause burning, pain and cancers. At the risk of sounding like your mum; you’ve got to be careful in the sun.
Sunlight is our friend and foe; enjoy it, yet treat it with respect.
Nine out of 10 skin cancers are caused form unhealthy exposure to sun light, as well as causing many eye problems.
All around town, white pasty skin, hidden in the winter months, is being offered to the sun, hoping in return to be blessed with a bronze tan.
However, many are playing with fire and many get burnt.
All too often I am called to a customer who needs a remedy for sun burn and it could have quite simply been avoided.
Especially in children. If you are responsible for a child, there is no excuse for letting them get sun burnt. End of discussion.
On a brighter note, good levels of sun light do make us happy and healthy.
Otago has excellent sunshine hours and sunlight causes us to make more ‘‘happy hormone’’, aka serotonin, which improves mood and feelings.
Sunshine is also our main source of Vitamin D, as little is obtained from our food. Vitamin D is important for good overall health as well as strong and healthy bones. So, it’s a balance of catching enough sun to be healthy, yet protecting ourselves so as not to get hurt.
Remember, it is not the heat that does the damage, it’s the UV radiation in sunlight; you can still get sun burnt for example through cloud, while on the snow or in water.
Here are my top tips for enjoying the sun safely;
It’s an oldie, yet a goodie. Slip on a t-shirt and into the shade. Slop on lots of sun screen and regularly. Slap on a hat. Wrap on some UV protectant sunglasses.
Use a minimum protection of SPF 30 for Central Otago sun; apply 20 minutes before going out in to direct sunlight.
Sunlight is good for our health, but not when it burns the skin. Avoid being in direct sunlight from 11am – 3pm to reduce the chance of burning.
Clare Arrowsmith is the managing pharmacist at Unichem Remarkables Pharmacy, Remarkables Park Shopping Centre.