Out Of The Shad­ows

Don’t hide in­doors! With these prod­ucts you can play in the sun all day

Women's Health (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

TThey’ve read (or writ­ten) all the stud­ies. They’ve re­searched and tested count­less prod­ucts. And they wit­ness, daily, the ef­fects of too much UV ex­po­sure in their pa­tients. But in one very im­por­tant way, der­ma­tol­o­gists are just like us! They still go out into the world and worry about the health of their own skin. So what do they ac­tu­ally do with this knowl­edge? How do they boil it down into doable steps for ev­ery­day morn­ings and beach-day ac­tiv­i­ties? We polled der­ma­tol­o­gists about the ed­u­cated tweaks they make to a typ­i­cal SPF rou­tine. This full-ac­cess guide to pro­tect­ing your skin like an MD starts with, of all things, tooth­paste.


Giv­ing sun­block a front-and­cen­tre spot on the bath­room sink serves as the great­est re­minder to put it on ev­ery morn­ing. “I’ve been do­ing this for years,” says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Ranella Hirsch. The habit is backed by sci­ence: a re­cent study showed that par­tic­i­pants who stored SPF next to their tooth­paste had a 20-per­cent in­crease in use com­pared with the group who kept it else­where.


When sun­screens are tested in the lab un­der per­fect con­di­tions, sci­en­tists de­ter­mine their SPF based on us­ing a su­per-thick (some say im­prac­ti­cal) amount to cover skin. “Stud­ies have shown that peo­ple tend to un­der-ap­ply sun­screen and that it wears off over the course of two hours,” says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Macrene Alex­i­ades. All the more rea­son to opt for (1) Ce­taphil Day­long SPF 50+ Li­po­so­mal Lo­tion For Face and Body (R284), when­ever you’re go­ing to be out­doors all day. SPF num­bers stand for the rough mea­sure of time a per­son who has ap­plied the sun­screen can stay out in the sun with­out get­ting burned. How do you work this out? By cal­cu­lat­ing the time it takes you to burn with a sun­screen and di­vid­ing it by the time taken for you to burn with­out a sun­screen. “If you burn in 300 min­utes with a sun­screen and 10 min­utes with­out a sun­screen, that’s 300/10 = 30. So the sun­screen will have an SPF of 30,” ex­plains der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Nom­ph­elo Gantsho. Ev­ery sin­gle derm we polled said the min­i­mum they reach for on reg­u­lar days is SPF 30. “No mat­ter what the SPF is (30+ or 50+), con­sumers should reap­ply it ev­ery two hours if they are in the sun all day,” says Gantsho.


These doc­tors spend all day ex­am­in­ing peo­ple from head to toe – and they’ve seen the places where skin cancer pops up and wrin­kles set in. In ad­di­tion to the tops of and be­hind ears, backs of hands, knees and tops of feet, there are three other places that seem ob­vi­ous, but we reg­u­larly for­get: “I see a lot of that plucked­chicken-skin ef­fect on the sides of peo­ple’s necks. Our chins pro­tect the cen­ter of the neck a bit from the sun, but not the sides. I al­ways make sure I’ve ap­plied my fa­cial SPF down and around my whole neck,” says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Doris Day. The other of­ten-over­looked ar­eas are be­tween your toes and along the hair­line. “I wit­ness a ton of brown spots in front of the ears as well as on the top of the fore­head, so I start my fa­cial sun­screen at the pe­riph­ery, then get more prod­uct if I need to once I reach my nose,” says Day. Oth­ers dust a pow­der SPF, like (2) Bio­derma Min­eral Com­pact SPF 50+ (R340), through those face-fram­ing baby hairs if they don’t want to gunk them up with a cream.


Most derms agree that the stan­dard mea­sure­ments rec­om­mended for sun­screen – a tea­spoon for the face, a shot glass for the body – are com­pletely lost on ev­ery­one (in­clud­ing them­selves – ex­cept for the one derm we spoke to who ac­tu­ally mea­sures it out!). In­stead, nearly all of them ap­ply in lay­ers to get suf­fi­cient cov­er­age – and rub in dif­fer­ent di­rec­tions on round two. “This en­sures I haven’t missed a spot,” says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Vi­vian Bu­cay. Oh, and they do this while naked: “Do­ing so avoids burns along the edges of a bathing suit or clothes, which I of­ten see in pa­tients,” says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Emmy Graber. Still un­sure if you’ve ap­plied enough? Our derms in­sist that you’re prop­erly cov­ered only when you can see the re­sults glis­ten­ing on your skin.


But first, cof­fee: der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Whit­ney Bowe upped her java in­take from 236ml to 355ml af­ter read­ing a re­cent study that showed more cof­fee equals a lower risk of de­vel­op­ing ma­lig­nant melanoma. As for an­tiox­i­dants, they’re a safety net, pro­tect­ing against free rad­i­cals that slip through the cracks of your SPF – which one study showed can be up to 45 per­cent! “There’s re­search that says the com­bi­na­tion of fer­ulic acid with vi­ta­mins C and E can in­crease your sun­screen’s SPF by eight,” says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Tina Al­ster, who lay­ers (3) Sk­inCeu­ti­cals C E Fer­ulic Serum

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