Aaahh … it’s almost here! Those lazy days, just soaking up the sun … Yep, “holiday” is the word on everyone’s lips.
Sure, most South Africans love the outdoors, it is part of our culture, and with the festive season upon us; most of us can’t wait to succumb to sun, fun and sea! True, the sun can do a lot of good; it regulates sleep cycles, stimulates the body’s production of Vitamin D, and enhances feelings of well-being … not even mentioning that a tanned body always looks slimmer!
BUT, that being said, our love affair isn’t a two-way street. Over-exposure can lead to wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer.
Did you know that the sun, and not ageing, is considered the single biggest cause of most of the wrinkles and age spots on our faces? Studies show that a woman at age 40, who protects her skin from the sun, could have the skin of a 30 year old. Wow! Just look at the famous and fair brigade (the Lana Del Rey’s and Emma Stone’s) who shun the sun and look incredible for it!
Research and common sense both support the idea that the older we get, the higher our risk of developing skin cancer becomes. South Africa, sadly, has the 2nd highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, after Australia. And, very important is the fact that everyone, regardless of racial or ethnic group, is at risk of getting skin cancer. Although people with darker skins are less susceptible, because their skin contains more natural melanin that protects against sun damage; everyone is at risk from the harsh African sun.
Although 80% of a person’s lifetime of sun exposure is acquired before age 18, Dr. Darrell S. Rigel, clinical professor of dermatology, at New York University School of Medicine, says that it is never too late to start protecting your skin.
So, make the most of your holiday without putting your skin’s health at risk.
Here are a few important skin care tips for sun protection:
- Stay out of the sun between 10am and 3pm.
- Use an effective sunscreen. Look out for the CANSA seal of recognition logo.
- Use a sunscreen with a SPF of between 20 and 50. 50 for fair to very fair skin.
- Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside and reapply every two hours.
- Apply sunscreen liberally. The amount that would fill a shot glass should be just about enough.
- Always wear shades. Sunglasses protect the delicate skin around the eyes. They also prevent cataracts and macular degeneration; the leading causes of vision loss in the elderly. Look for ones that have 100% UV protection. Wraparound sunglasses will prevent the sun’s rays from coming through the sides.
- Wear long sleeve shirts. They offer the best protection from the sun’s burning rays.
- Wear a hat, not a cap, to protect your neck and ears.
- Avoid tanning beds, ultra-violet light can cause skin cancer. Use a self-tanning product but use a sunscreen with it.
- Moisturise your lips! Don’t leave them vulnerable to painful sunburn and wrinkles. Apply and reapply lip-protection balm.
- Eat more antioxidants. This will provide some protection against the sun’s rays. Fill up on fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water for maximum protection of your skin.
- Protect kids by applying sunscreen, have them play in the shade and wear protective clothing.
- Perform regular self-exams. It’s an easy way to detect abnormalities.
Enjoy your favourite outdoor activities by being sun-smart. Happy holidays!
Source: www.cansa.org.za, www.my360.co.za, showme.co.za, www.shape.com, www.allure.com, www.healthywomen.org, themidnightstation.wordpress.com, www.anitabhagwandas.com, www.moneycrashers.com, www.prevention.com, www.empowher.com, www.webmd.com, health.howstuffworks.com