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Tips for keep­ing your skin safe while still look­ing sen­sa­tional this sum­mer.

Do you know your UVAs from your UVBs? Your broad spec­trums from your star rat­ings? Lucy Wild­man sets the record straight about stay­ing safe while still look­ing sen­sa­tional in the sun

We all know about the dangers of the sun. But aside from the risks of de­vel­op­ing skin can­cer, not pro­tect­ing your skin from deadly UVA and UVB rays ac­cel­er­ates the weak­en­ing of col­la­gen and elastin fi­bres in the skin.

The sun is re­spon­si­ble for up to 85 per cent of pre­ma­ture skin age­ing. So how savvy are you when it comes to be­ing sun safe?


Even peo­ple who aren’t liv­ing in the mid­dle of a desert should wear sun­screen ev­ery day, so it’s cru­cial that those of us in the UAE ap­ply it re­li­giously, not just when hit­ting the beach. To get the lev­els of pro­tec­tion you see on the label, you need to ap­ply it lib­er­ally to all ex­posed ar­eas – if you’re on a bud­get, stick with an af­ford­able sun­screen with a good UVA and UVB rat­ing, and an SPF of 30 as a min­i­mum, then you won’t mind slather­ing it on.

Think you’ve packed enough sun­screen for your hol­i­day? Check again. If you’re off on a week-long beach break, you should get through around five, 200ml bot­tles of sun­screen. “Labs test sun­screens at 2mg per square-cen­time­tre of skin. If you don’t ap­ply this much, you won’t be get­ting the pro­tec­tion promised on the bot­tle,” says top Har­ley Street cos­metic der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Sam Bunt­ing. This equates to 5ml or, in sim­pler terms, a gen­er­ous tea­spoon­ful to cover the face and hands, and two gen­er­ous ta­ble­spoons to do the body once for ev­ery two hours of sun ex­po­sure.

Al­though tech­ni­cally a fac­tor-30 sun­screen should pro­tect your skin from the sun for 30 times longer than if you were wear­ing noth­ing at all, with so many vari­ables to con­sider – from the dif­fer­ing strength of the sun, how much cream you ap­ply and the var­i­ous skin types – it’s bet­ter to get into the habit of reap­ply­ing your sun­screen ev­ery 90 to 120 min­utes to guar­an­tee you stay safe in the sun through­out the day. And don’t as­sume that water­proof sun­screens are the way out of this – they should be reap­plied as fre­quently as reg­u­lar ones – ev­ery cou­ple of hours at least. “The for­mu­las may be able to sur­vive swim­ming and sweat­ing bet­ter, but tow­elling the skin rubs sun­screen off, what­ever type it is,” says Dr Bunt­ing.

And lastly, don’t for­get to pro­tect your lips and eye­lids. Be­tween 5 and 10 per cent of skin can­cers oc­cur on th­ese sen­si­tive ar­eas, so in­vest in a ded­i­cated sun­block made specif­i­cally for them, and al­ways choose sun­glasses that have the abil­ity to block be­tween 99 and 100 per cent of UV rays.


Sup­ple­ments are not a re­place­ment but an add-on when it comes to pro­tect­ing your skin from the sun. Imedeen’s Tan Op­ti­miser ups your skin’s sun pro­tec­tion with a blend of an­tiox­i­dants in­clud­ing vi­ta­mins C and E and ly­copene, which has been proven to pro­tect against sun dam­age. Al­ter­na­tively, weeks be­fore and through­out your hol­i­day, you could try eat­ing lots of ly­copene-rich toma­toes, which give your skin up to one third more pro­tec­tion against sun­burn, and boost col­la­gen lev­els, which pro­tect against the signs of age­ing.

An­other mat­ter to con­sider is vi­ta­min D. Sun­light helps the body pro­duce it and it is es­sen­tial in keep­ing bones healthy, but

wear­ing sun­screen will block it. “How­ever, you have to con­sider the sim­ple facts: vi­ta­min D is im­por­tant to health, but UV is a known car­cino­gen” says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Bunt­ing.

“Re­ly­ing on the sun for vi­ta­min D (which skin pro­duces in re­sponse to UVB ex­po­sure) is crazy. It’s far safer to get vi­ta­min D from sup­ple­ments or re­li­able di­etary sources such as oily fish, eggs and milk, and keep skin pro­tected with a broad-spec­trum sun­screen all year round.”

Lastly, pop es­sen­tial fatty acid sup­ple­ments like Omega 3-6-9 to keep skin sup­ple and glow­ing.


If you do get caught out and end up red-faced af­ter a day in the sun, there are ways to limit the dam­age. The more hy­drated your skin, the bet­ter your nat­u­ral de­fence against the sun and the more ef­fi­ciently it will heal, says Clarins skin ex­pert Dr Lionel De Benetti. “Use a good af­ter-sun prod­uct that hydrates, re­duces red­ness and helps to re­pair the skin’s basal layer to en­sure your skin re­cov­ers its mois­ture lev­els and is pre­pared for fu­ture sun ex­po­sure.”

He adds, “Af­ter ex­po­sure to the sun, the on­slaught of freerad­i­cal dam­age is even greater.” Use mois­turis­ers con­tain­ing an­tiox­i­dants to com­bat the ef­fects, and up your in­take of an­tiox­i­dantrich fruits like blue­ber­ries, black­ber­ries, straw­ber­ries and cher­ries, or dark green leafy veg­eta­bles like kale and spinach.

For ex­tra heal­ing ef­fects, keep your af­ter-sun prod­ucts in the fridge – their cool­ness will help to soothe sore skin. Aloe vera gel is one of the best nat­u­ral skin-soothers, and works bril­liantly on sun­burn.

If you’re prone to turn­ing pink, mix your af­ter-sun lo­tion with fake tan to neu­tralise a lob­ster­look­ing com­plex­ion, and wear black un­til your colour calms down – it will vis­ually turn down the red tones when you’ve over­done it on the sun­lounger.


The only truly safe tan is a fake one. Prepa­ra­tion is key and ex­fo­li­at­ing is es­sen­tial. “If you don’t ex­fo­li­ate, all other steps are point­less” says celebrity tanning ex­pert Michaella Bolder.

Use an oil-based scrub the night be­fore you plan to tan, or use ex­fo­li­at­ing gloves with a mois­tur­is­ing shower gel all over to min­i­mize rough patches and give you a flake-free can­vas to work with. And don’t for­get to wax or shave post ex­fo­li­a­tion.

“Be­ware of your wrists” says Bolder. “The skin is like that on your palms – thin and with fewer se­ba­ceous glands, so it takes fake tan very dif­fer­ently.” Rub in moisturiser here, on knees, el­bows and an­kles to help your tan blend

beau­ti­fully. And while we all know fake tan hides cel­lulite, it’s the op­po­site for stretch marks. “You can end up high­light­ing them be­cause they re­sist fake tan and stay pale, so tar­get them with an ex­tra layer of colour,” says Maiya Saint of Xen Tan. Also be less heavy-handed on spots and scars. Dab a tiny dot of Vase­line on blem­ishes pre-tan to pre­vent them from be­com­ing even darker and more ob­vi­ous.

Fak­ing it needs al­most as much ded­i­ca­tion as sun-tanning, and you should take your time with it. The per­fect way to ap­proach the fake tan is to start with a lighter-toned for­mu­la­tion, and give it 24 hours to see how it de­vel­ops. “You can al­ways add more the fol­low­ing day to build colour if it doesn’t look dark enough,” says Bolder. “Use a tinted tan­ner if you pre­fer to see ex­actly where you are go­ing.”

Pro­tect eye­brows and hair­line from col­lect­ing un­wanted colour with a lit­tle Vase­line, and use a foun­da­tion brush to ap­ply fake tan to your face for the most nat­u­ral ef­fect. If you are jet­ting off some­where to show off your faux glow, be­ware the long-haul flight –air conditioning in such close quar­ters de­hy­drates your skin, which leads to fake tan break­down. To min­imise dam­age, self-tanning ex­pert James Read rec­om­mends us­ing a su­per-mois­tur­is­ing tan for­mula, drink­ing lots of wa­ter while you are in the air to stay hy­drated and car­ry­ing a small bot­tle of ul­tra-rich moisturiser in your hand lug­gage to slather on dur­ing the flight.


Set a two-hourly alarm clock on your phone to re­mind you to reap­ply your sun­screen.

Don’t trust clouds. UV rays pen­e­trate your skin even if the sun’s not out.

En­sure your skin is dry be­fore ap­ply­ing sun­screen, or it will di­lute and rub off.

Check your shadow – if it’s short, then the sun is at its high­est. Be­tween the hours of 11am and 3pm, cover up with light-coloured cloth­ing, wear a wide-brimmed hat, and get in the shade.

You can use sun­screen de­signed for the body on your face, but as the for­mu­las tend to be heav­ier, it can cause break­outs. If you have oily skin, look for non­come­do­genic prod­ucts that won’t clog the pores, but will still pro­tect against burn­ing and the risk of pre­ma­ture age­ing. Tinted ver­sions are great, as they con­ceal im­per­fec­tions as they pro­tect.

Sun­screen loses its pro­tec­tive value af­ter 12 months of open­ing, so us­ing the same bot­tle from one year to the next puts your skin at as much risk as wear­ing no sun­screen at all. Be safe, and buy new ev­ery time you plan to hit the sun­lounger.

The head is one of the most com­mon ar­eas to de­velop melanomas. To min­imise the risk, wear a tightly wo­ven, wide-brimmed hat or a scarf, and spritz hair thor­oughly with a UV pro­tec­tion spray, to help pro­tect the scalp and your locks. If you are a lit­tle thin on top, don’t for­get to ap­ply sun­screen di­rectly to the scalp, neck and ears.


The label info you need to be aware of to stay sun safe UV – UL­TRA­VI­O­LET LIGHT This in­vis­i­ble ra­di­a­tion pro­duced by the sun, made up of three wave­lengths, UVA,UVB and UVC UVA – UL­TRA­VI­O­LET A RA­DI­A­TION UVA rays have a longer wave­length and pen­e­trate deeper into the skin than UVB rays. They are re­spon­si­ble for pre­ma­ture age­ing of the skin. UVB – UL­TRA­VI­O­LET B RA­DI­A­TION Th­ese medium-wave­length rays are re­spon­si­ble for sun­burn. They dam­age DNA and are con­sid­ered to be the main cause of melanoma. UVC – UL­TRA­VI­O­LET C RA­DI­A­TION Th­ese short wave­length rays are ab­sorbed by the earth’s ozone layer, so we don’t need any pro­tec­tion from them. LOOK OUT FOR THE UVA LOGO Ac­cord­ing to EU rec­om­men­da­tions, the UVA pro­tec­tion for sun­screen should be at least a third of the la­belled SPF. A prod­uct with this will be la­belled with a UVA logo. THE STAR RAT­ING The star rat­ing sys­tem de­scribes the ra­tio of UVA to UVB pro­tec­tion, with one star in­di­cat­ing the low­est and five stars in­di­cat­ing the high­est ra­tio of pro­tec­tion avail­able. BROAD-SPEC­TRUM SUN­SCREEN Sun­screen that pro­tects against UVA and UVB rays. Look for broad-spec­trum sun­screens with both a high SPF and the UVA logo. Turn over to p56 for more tips on keep­ing your skin safe from the sun.

Natura Bissé Sun De­fense Ex­treme Cream SPF 50 Dh700 Sun De­fense Ex­treme Mist SPF40 Dh450 Sun Ex­pert Serum Dh450, all at Harvey Nichols Shi­seido Ex­pert Sun Age­ing Pro­tec­tion Lo­tion SPF30 Dh165, Paris Gallery Bioderma Pho­to­derm Bronz SPF50 Dh99, Boots La­bello SPF 30 Sun Pro­tect lip balm Dh9, Car­refour 3 LAB Per­fect Sun­screen SPF55 Dh250, Bloom­ing­dale’s Elemis Liq­uid Layer Sun­block SPF30 Dh185, Neu­tro­gena Ul­tra Sheer DryTouch Sun­block SPF45 Dh67, Boots La Prairie Ul­tra Pro­tec­tion Stick SPF40 Dh295, Paris Gallery

Clarins Sun Con­trol Stick SPF30 Dh150, Clarins Bou­tique Dior Bronze SelfTan­ning Nat­u­ral Oil Dh196, Areej Uniq One All-In­One treat­ment spray Dh100, Salon Ink Chris­tian Bre­ton UV Eye Pro­tec­tion SPF30 Dh140, Beau­ty­Bay Nivea Sun Af­ter Sun Spray Dh27, Spin­neys La Prairie Sooth­ing Af­ter-Sun Mist Dh385, Paris Gallery

Sis­ley Self-Tanning Lo­tion for Body Dh400, Paris Gallery Clarins De­li­cious Self Tanning Cream Dh195, Clarins Bou­tique

beauty The Body Shop Spa Fit Sooth­ing and Re­fin­ing Body Scrub Dh130, The Body Shop

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