Some Tips To Help Keep Sunburn Away This Summer by Dr Alek Nikolic
Sunscreen Mistakes Lead To Sunburn
I am a realist and know we live in sunny South Africa so it makes sense that most of us will be enjoying our sunny climate and the beach this festive season but sunburn prevention is vital from a skin cancer perspective and from a skin ageing perspective. Sunburn can also happen on ski slopes and even when sitting in the shade so if you want to prevent sunburn but still enjoy your holiday read this helpful guide full of great tips.
[quote author=”Dr Alek Nikolic”]“Sunscreen needs to be re-applied especially if you are in and out of the water and contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as waterproof sunscreen.”[/quote]
Most sunscreens are however water resistant which means they will provide protection in the water but for a limited period only. Typically, skin protection will be maintained once the sunscreen has been applied and tends to last between 40 minutes to 80 minutes and this will also vary between the brands and the ingredients used.
Sunburn Prevention Tips:
- Wear the right sunscreen: I am a firm believer in using a SPF 30 or higher that contains zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide. These are mineral blockers or reflectors and have been shown to reflect all harmful UVA and UVB wavelengths.
- Use enough sunscreen: a good guideline is to use one teaspoon for the entire face and similarly for the neck and chest (1 teaspoon each).
- Re-apply, re-apply, and re-apply: my recommendation is to add a new layer of sunscreen every 2 hours and remember if you are in the water I would re-apply after each swim just to be on the safe side.
- Apply sunscreen on your neck and chest as these are delicate areas and tend to age quickly with repeated UV exposure.
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen on your hands, ears and eyelids too.
- Keep extra tubes of sunscreen with you just in case.
- Choose sunglasses with UV protective coating lenses.
Please note that even if you take all the above precautions we can still get sunburned when the sun is intense (so check the local UV warnings and levels online), if you are at high elevations (ski slopes), if you are close to the equator and if you genetically have fair skin that burns easily.
[quote author=”Dr Alek Nikolic”]“A common misconception is that we will not tan if we use sunscreen and this could not be further from the truth. We still tan as melanin is produced with sun exposure even through a sunscreen, it just takes a little longer and more importantly our tans will tend to last longer once our holiday is over and we are back at work”.[/quote]
UV Fast Fact: The Sun is Highly Reflective Even in the Shade
Did you know that ground surfaces can reflect UV rays and it has been found that snow can reflect more than 70% of UV while sand can reflect about 20% of UV rays? Very simply what this means is that just because we are wearing a hat or sitting on the beach under an umbrella or even in a shady spot we can still burn.
What To Look For In A Sunscreen
‘Broad Spectrum SPF’ marked on the product
SPF 30 or higher
At least one of these active ingredients:
Zinc Oxide 5% or more, with Octocrylene
Titanium Dioxide 5% or more
Ecamsule (Mexoryl SX) 3%
Tip For The True ‘Anti-Agers’: Cover up
The most important areas to cover are the face, neck, décolleté, and hands. The skin on these areas will age faster especially during the strongest UV exposure that usually ranges between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
[quote author=”Dr Alek Nikolic”]“Take cover in a shady spot from time to time and remember to keep hydrated and to keep on re-applying that sunscreen”.[/quote]
I hope you have found the above article on sunburn prevention helpful and I hope you have a great and safe summer holiday.
Dr Alek Nikolic