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Your Ultimate Guide to Summer Skin Protection

As the summer season approaches, basking in the sun’s warm embrace becomes irresistible. The benefits of sunlight are plentiful, from aiding vitamin D synthesis to promoting bone health and boosting our immune systems. The sun’s rays even contribute to the release of endorphins, providing a natural remedy for those grappling with the blues. Additionally, infrared light from the sun enhances circulation, fostering increased metabolism and productivity. 

However, amid the joy of sunshine, it’s crucial to be mindful of the potential harm. Excessive sun exposure can lead to severe skin issues, including premature ageing, sun allergies, and, in extreme cases, skin cancer. Hence, safeguarding ourselves from the adverse effects of UVA and UVB rays becomes imperative.  

Protecting your radiance

Sunscreen application

Remember to apply sunscreen at least 15 to 30 minutes before venturing outdoors. Don’t forget about your lips – opt for a lip balm with an SPF of at least 30. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and make sure it’s water-resistant. Reapply every two hours or more frequently if swimming or sweating. 

Limit time in the sun

Limit sun exposure between 10:00 and 16:00 for your well-being when the sun’s rays are most intense.  

Clothing choices

Consider wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants if possible. Dark, tightly woven fabrics provide better sun protection than lighter or loosely woven materials. 

Accessorise smartly

Top off your look with a hat that shades your face, neck, and ears. Sunglasses aren’t just a fashion statement – they offer valuable eye protection. 

Sunscreen application demystified

Recent studies have revealed that most people apply only 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. Aim for 30ml – about the size of a shot glass to ensure adequate coverage and effectiveness. If that visual is tricky, follow the two-finger’ rule: apply an amount equivalent to the length covered by two fingers. Don’t forget those commonly overlooked areas – ears, tops of feet, head (including scalp), and neck. 

Decoding sunscreen labels

Broad spectrum protection 

Ensure your sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays cause deeper skin damage, contributing to wrinkles and sagging, while UVB rays target the skin’s surface, causing sunburn. 

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 

SPF indicates how long you can stay in the sun before experiencing skin burning from UVB rays. Beyond SFP 50, the incremental increase in sun protection becomes minimal, thus emphasizing the importance of reapplication every two hours.  

Water-resistant assurance 

Pay attention to whether your sunscreen is labelled as water-resistant or sweat-resistant. These terms specify the duration sunscreen remains effective while swimming or sweating – 40 minutes or 80 minutes, respectively. 

As you embark on your sun-kissed adventures, don’t forget to incorporate the shadow rule into your routine. It’s a simple yet effective way to gauge the sun’s intensity. If your shadow is shorter than you, it’s a clear sign that the sun’s rays are at their strongest. This is the perfect cue to seek shade and give your skin a well-deserved break. Remember, a little shade can go a long way in protecting your radiant glow. So, when in doubt, let your shadow guide you to a safer and cooler spot. 

Happy sun-soaking with a touch of shade savvy! 

This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be considered medical advice. Please consult with a healthcare professional for personalized guidance. 

References

10 Tips for Protecting Your Skin from the Sun 2015, Cancer.Net, viewed 14 November 2023,
<https://www.cancer.net/blog/2015-07/10-tips-protecting-your-skin-sun>
 

A Dermatologist Reveals Exactly How Much Sunscreen You Need 2023, CNET, viewed 14 November 2023,
<https://www.cnet.com/health/personal-care/a-dermatologist-reveals-exactly-how-much-sunscreen-you-need/>
  

How to Read a Sunscreen Label 2022, Skin Cancer Foundation, viewed 14 November,  
< https://www.skincancer.org/blog/how-to-read-a-sunscreen-label/> 

Sensitive skin – Why does it need special sun protection? N.d., Eucerin, viewed 14 November 2023
<https://www.eucerin.co.za/about-skin/indications/sun-and-sensitive-and-problematic-skin>
 

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