Tips to stay sun­smart this sea­son

Central Otago Mirror - - CONVERSATIONS - CLARE ARROWSMITH Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap. Not all sun­screen is the same. di­rect sun in the heat of the day.

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.

Avoid

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.

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Clare Arrowsmith.

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