TEN WAYS TO BE SUN-CARE SAVVY En­joy the sun safely with our es­sen­tial guide to sun­screen

En­joy the sun safely with our es­sen­tial guide to sun­screen

Essentials (South Africa) - - LETTER -

You know you should be wear­ing sun pro­tec­tion cream, but when it comes to your sun­screen needs, are you clued up on how much you need to ap­ply, and how of­ten? Are you aware of the dif­fer­ence be­tween UVA and UVB rays, and that you can get sun­burnt un­der­neath your clothes? Here’s what the ex­perts have to say...

1. Wear sun­screen – even on cloudy days

‘ UVA rays can pen­e­trate through clouds and are the most dam­ag­ing for your skin,’ says der­ma­tol­o­gist Dr Howard Mu­rad. ‘ They can con­trib­ute to pre­ma­ture age­ing, col­la­gen degra­da­tion and skin cancer.’ Make sure you use sun­screen even when the sun isn’t out – try a broad-spec­trum SPF, like Nivea Sun Pro­tect & Mois­ture Sun

Lotion, SPF 50+, R189,99, which pro­tects against UVB and UVA rays.

2. Med­i­ca­tion may make you sun sen­si­tive

Oral con­tra­cep­tives, an­tide­pres­sants, retinoids that are used to treat wrin­kles and acne, and over-the-counter painkiller­s such as ibupro­fen can make the skin more sun sen­si­tive, so cover up and avoid those rays. Try Nimue Sun- C En­vi­ron­men­tal Shield SPF 50, R605. It packs a pro­tec­tive punch, as it not only shields you from UVA and UVB rays, but it also pro­tects against the sun’s in­fra-red rays and blue light from screens.

3. Watch the use-by date

Your sun cream has a shelf life, just like food, and most sun­screens are stamped with an ex­pi­ra­tion date. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Dr Mu­rad, if the prod­uct does not, stan­dard prac­tice is to as­sume it has a three-year shelf life – but, with proper ap­pli­ca­tion, a sun­screen shouldn’t last you that long. Our ad­vice? Buy a new one each year so you know you’re pro­tected. Have a dark skin tone? Try the slightly tinted He­lio­care Color Gel­cream SPF 50, R350; it cor­rects and pro­tects.

4. What about SPF?

The SPF tells us our level of UVB pro­tec­tion. UVB rays cause sun­burn and dam­age the skin’s su­per­fi­cial lay­ers (they can cause cancer too), but you re­ally need a cream that pro­tects against both UVA/B rays. ‘ UVA pro­tec­tion is in­di­cated by a cir­cle with UVA in the cen­tre,’ says sun-care ex­pert Clare O’Con­nor. Try Kiehl’s Ul­tra Light Daily UV De­fense Sun­screen SPF 50, R730.

5. Keep your sun­screen cool

Keep your sun cream in the shade, as its ef­fec­tive­ness de­te­ri­o­rates in tem­per­a­tures above 25°C. ‘Heat ac­cel­er­ates the age­ing of the prod­uct and if it’s been ex­posed to heat, I would rec­om­mend dis­pos­ing of it,’ ad­vises Clare. ‘And never leave your bot­tle of sun­screen on the dash­board of a car as these tem­per­a­tures will be in ex­cess of any­thing the sun­screen is for­mu­lated to with­stand.’

6. Use gen­er­ously

Most of us fail to ap­ply enough sun cream to prop­erly pro­tect our skin. ‘Ap­ply lib­er­ally on the body and face and con­tin­u­ously reap­ply when out in the sun for long pe­ri­ods of time,’ ad­vises Dr Mu­rad. Ex­perts rec­om­mend ap­ply­ing a tea­spoon­ful of sun­screen on your face, and enough to fill a shot glass on your body, top­ping up ev­ery two hours in or­der to get the max­i­mum ben­e­fit of your SPF.

7. Don’t worry about spots

Suf­fer from break­outs when you use sun­screen, so avoid it at all costs? Keep pro­tected with Eucerin Oil Con­trol Dry Touch Sun Gel- Cream SPF 50+, R250. It’s been for­mu­lated for prob­lem skin, has a mat­ti­fy­ing ef­fect, and even reg­u­lates se­bum to pre­vent blocked pores and re­duce shine. It’s the ideal base for un­der make-up.

8. A tan doesn’t equal pro­tec­tion

Skin go­ing darker in the sun shows that its DNA has been dam­aged. In­stead of blast­ing your­self in the sun, try a self-tan and pro­tect prod­uct like Aus­tralian Gold Spray Gel Sun­screen Lotion SPF 30, R154, which con­tains wash-away bronz­ers as well as sun pro­tec­tion, to turn your skin golden with­out need­ing to siz­zle on a sunbed.

9. Make-up with an SPF is not enough

Min­eral pow­ders and foun­da­tions aren’t thick enough to shield your skin from harm­ful rays. The best way to pre­vent burn­ing and pre­ma­ture wrin­kles is to use a high-fac­tor, tinted SPF such as Bio­derma Pho­to­derm Nude Touch SPF 50+, R262,23, which is a light­weight, non-oily base with a hint of tint to shield your skin and keep it look­ing flaw­less.

10. You can burn through your clothes

Un­less you’re wear­ing spe­cial­ist SPF cloth­ing, the max­i­mum level of pro­tec­tion you can ex­pect from a T-shirt is SPF 10. Go for black and dark-coloured fab­rics, which give bet­ter pro­tec­tion than white. But as well as stay­ing cov­ered, use Eau Ther­male Avène Min­eral Cream SPF 50+, R269,95. When you feel like your skin has had enough, seek refuge in the shade.

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