Warmer weather is finally here, and as summer approaches, we’re looking forward to lazy days spent next to the pool and on the beach. While spending time outdoors is great for your mental wellbeing as well as for your vitamin D production, it’s important to take precautions against one of the biggest threats to our skin: the sun.
Exposure to some sunlight can be good for you, but overexposure can be extremely harmful. The sun’s UV rays penetrate the outer layers of our skin and have the ability to reach the deeper layers where they can potentially damage or even destroy skin cells.
UVA rays are the type that cause ageing (think fine lines, wrinkles and that leathery texture we’ve all seen before) and UVB rays are the ones responsible for burning the skin. Without protection against both of these rays, your skin will not only burn, but it can also develop sun spots, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles and even precancerous and cancerous growths.
Living in South Africa means that you are likely to develop a tan during summer, even if you take all the proper precautions. Follow these simple do’s and don’ts to ensure a safe and healthy glow this season.
DO get a fake tan
While a little bit of sun exposure is good for our vitamin D production, there is no such thing as a healthy tan, with any level of skin darkening indicating damage. The best way to get a golden glow is to use self-tan products at home.
Australian Gold Instant Sunless Lotion (R304.00) helps your skin develop a rich, sun-kissed bronze colour in no time. It offers the perfect balance of caring and bronzing ingredients for summer-ready skin that’s healthy and nourished.
Australian Gold Instant Sunless Spray (R312.00) combines bronzing ingredients and nourishing moisturisers to feed and protect skin while developing a sunless tan that lasts longer. Its oil-free formulation dries quickly and allows for even, streak-free coverage.
DO avoid direct sun during peak hours
The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10am and 2pm. Try to schedule your outdoor activities outside of those hours, and if not possible, find a spot in the shade and cover up with a sun hat, sunglasses, kaftan or other protective materials.
DO apply after sun lotion
Even if your skin hasn’t been burnt by the sun, it’s important to hydrate it after sun exposure as the sun can be incredibly drying. After sun products are specifically formulated with this in mind, offering plenty of hydration and cooling formulas. Piz Buin After Sun Lotion (R104.00) is non-greasy and fast-absorbing, and combats the effects of sun stress by cooling and moisturising skin for 24 hours with aloe vera and mint extract.
DO choose a broad spectrum SPF formula
It’s important to select a sunscreen that offers both UVA and UVB protection to ensure you’re protected against sunburn as well as against developing signs of ageing. We love That’s So Pure Sun SPF 20/30/50 Protective Dry Oil Spray (R380.00). This progressive spray sunscreen in dry oil leaves the skin hydrated, smooth and radiant. Suitable for all skin types, this formula is enriched with avocado oil, jojoba and vitamin E which help reduce free radicals and prevent skin photo-ageing. Thanks to the essence of vanilla and coconut, it leaves the skin pleasantly scented.
DON’T forget to reapply SPF
Even when a sunscreen is water-resistant, you’ll need to reapply it after each and every swim to ensure you get full protection. In general, it’s recommended to reapply after every two hours, however, you may need to do this more often if you are swimming or sweating, and less often if you are indoors.
DON’T bake in the sun
We all know that a fake tan is the healthier option, but regardless of this, there will always be people who opt for a natural tan instead. If you’re going to go that route, it’s important to take precautions. Don’t lie in the sun and bake during peak hours. Rather get your tanning time in early morning or late afternoon. Protect your skin with a tan-enhancing SPF product like Piz Buin Tan & Protect Tan Accelerating Oil Spray SPF30 (R216.00) which protects skin from the sun while helping enhance the natural tanning process with a special ingredient called melitan.
DON’T forget smaller parts of the body
It’s so easy to forget to apply SPF to your ears, lips or even between your toes, but don’t neglect these areas: skin cancer often develops on one’s ears because they’re usually forgotten when it comes to sunscreen! Vitaderm Reflective Sun Barrier SPF35+ (R482.00) is a hypo-allergenic, non-greasy matte physical sunscreen that offers broad-spectrum protection against UVA and UVB rays, thereby providing effective anti-ageing properties.
However you plan on speeding your summer, be sure to be sun-smart – your skin will thank you for it.