Sun Protection Practices

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Spring is in the air. Summer knocks on our door and I love this time of the year! A new season, a new chapter and new beginnings. You have got to love it!

This perfect weather is of course the beginning of our sun season and with that comes a need to understand why sun protection is a man’s best friend. There is not a week that goes by where I don’t send one of my clients to a dermatologist for some suspicious lesion that has announced itself on their skins. These days one can never be careful enough! The problem with skin cancers is that it is less than likely to kill you but it will disfigure you and you’ll remember it every day when you look in the mirror.

They say that 1 in 3 South Africans suffer with lip or ear cancers. When ever have you put Sun protection upon your ears and yes, that is why a lip balm with a Sun protection factor(SPF) is non negotiable (Try Dermalogica’s Lip Shield spf15)!

What most of us don’t realize is that 80% of all aging seen on our skins , with it’s manifestation in the form of hyper pigmentation(dark marks), wrinkles, lines, sagging skin, broken capillaries to name but a few, is 100% preventable! Simply use a SPF on a daily basis. That’s it, no miracles in a jar, no quick fixes, just simply use a SPF! “But I work indoors” is that classic response to that statement… well you also have a quick tea break and always have to walk to the car, pick up the groceries, fetch the kids from school etc and that exposure accumulates and spells SKIN CANCER. Those short burst of exposure are remembered by your cell DNA and they reach a point where it is payback time. As long as there is light you need to protect- come rain or shine!

Sun Protection Practices

Avoid deliberate tanning! Lying in the sun may feel good, but the end result is premature aging (wrinkles, blotchiness, and sagging skin) as well as a 1 in 5 chance of developing skin cancer. Tanning beds and sunlamps are just as dangerous because they, too, emit enough UV radiation to cause premature aging and skin cancer.

If you like the look of a tan, consider using a sunless self-tanning product. These products do not protect skin from the sun, so a sunscreen should be used.

Get vitamin D safely through a healthy diet that includes vitamin supplements. Don’t seek the sun.

Generously apply sunscreen to all exposed skin every day. The sunscreen should have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 and be broad-spectrum (provides protection from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays).

Dermatologists worldwide agree that the Australians’ use of the word “slop!” accurately describes how sunscreen should be used. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen to help protect against harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. One ounce, enough to fill a shot glass, is considered by the Academy to be the amount needed to cover the exposed areas of the body properly. So when applying sunscreen, remember to “slop!” it on.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Don’t forget your ears, nose, lips, neck, hands, and toes. Many skin cancers develop in these areas.
  • Sunscreen should not be used to prolong sun exposure. Some UV light gets through sunscreen so you will always tan but not burn!
  • Sunscreens should be applied to dry skin 15-30 minutes before going outdoors, and reapplied every two hours.
  • Be sure to reapply sunscreen after being in water or sweating.
  • Sunscreen does not make sunbathing safe.

Wear protective clothing, such as a long-sleeved shirt, pants, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses, where possible. This is what Australians call the “slip!” and “slap!” of sun protection. When you will be out in the sun, be sure to slip on protective clothing, such as a shirt, and slap on a wide-brimmed hat. Here’s why: Clothing protects your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. The tighter the weave, the more sun protection provided.
A wide-brimmed hat shades your face and neck from the sun’s rays. Wide-brimmed means the brim circles the entire hat and shades both the face and neck.

Seek shade when appropriate. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand as they reflect the damaging rays of the sun. This can increase your risk chance of sunburn.

Check your birthday suit on your birthday. If you notice anything changing, growing, or bleeding on your skin, see a dermatologist.

  • A factor SPF15 will give you 93.3% block out
  • A factor SPF30 will give you 96.6% block out (double the chemicals and only 3% more SPF )
  • A factor SPF60 will give you 96.6% block out( double the chemicals and no more sun protection)

The moral of the story is that anything higher than a SPF30 is just a marketing ploy and is expensive. Rather reapply every 2 hrs and enjoy non- sensitized protected skin!

Avoid anything that smells too good, fragrance is the number 1 chemical photosensitiser and triggers reactions on one’s skin.

Experts say that what you see on you skin now is the damage you inflicted upon your skin up to 12 years ago! So mom’s know that your child’s future skin condition lies in your hands. There is a reason why schools in Australia have a policy that kids that arrive at school without their hats are sent back home. There is also a bottle of SPF at each exit door to the play ground and teachers oversee a reapplication of SPF before play time (might I add that the government pays for the SPF). Mmm, perhaps something to think about? Happy safe sunning…

References: The International Dermal Institute

April 8th 2011 |

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