WOW | Beauty

Dos and Don’ts of Proper Suncare

Incidence of skin cancer is on the rise. Many of the cases could have been avoided, however, with proper preventive care. Sunscreen is key, but effective coverage requires more effort than just slopping some lotion on. Follow these tips to keep your skin healthy and sunburn-free:

  • Don’t forget to use sunscreen even when your day keeps you indoors. Glass windows protect against sunburn-causing UVB rays but don’t stop UVA rays, which suppress the immune system and result in wrinkles and brown spots. Be especially vigilant on days you are driving a lot, as UVA rays can also penetrate car windshields and windows.
  • Don’t just apply sunscreen to the skin on your face. Even if you’re not at the pool or out hiking, it’s especially important to apply sunscreen to your hands, décolletage, forearms, lips, and ears. These areas also receive sun exposure and are not only quick to show signs of aging, they are also vulnerable to the development of melanomas (cancerous tumors).
  • Don’t assume a water-resistant or waterproof sunscreen will last longer. Even these formulas will wear off after 30 minutes or more spent in the water or after excessive sweating. They can also easily rub off when you towel-dry after a swim.
  • Don’t let shade give you a false sense of security. You’re not safe from sun exposure in winter, either. Also, sun’s rays can not only penetrate through umbrellas and straw shades, they can also bounce off sand, water, concrete, and other reflective surfaces.
  • Don’t panic if you get sunburned. Most burns can be treated with cool baths, moisturisers, over-the-counter hydrocortisone creams, and an anti-inflammatory, such as aspirin or ibuprofen. However, if you also have a headache, chills or a fever, you may be suffering from heatstroke as well. Seek medical help immediately if this is the case.
  • Do apply sunscreen (SPF 15 or greater) every day of the year. On a gray day up to 80 percent of the sun’s ultraviolet rays can still pass through clouds.
  • Do slather it on before you go outside. For maximum effectiveness, sunscreen needs to be fully absorbed into your skin. Apply it at least 15 to 30 minutes before heading outdoors.
  • Do look for a seal of approval. You want to use sunscreens that provide broad spectrum UV-coverage and carry an official seal. Recognised sunscreens contain the following:
  • Parsol 1789, Mexoryl, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide for UVA protection
  • PABA derivatives, salicylates, and/or cinnamates (octylmethoxycinnamate and cinoxate) for UVB absorption
  • benzophenones (such as oxybenzone and sulisobenzone) for shorter-wavelength UVA protection
  • Stay out of the sun in the middle of the day. The sun’s rays are at their strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. so direct sun exposure is best avoided during that time period.
  • Wear sun-protective clothing. Several clothing brands use fabrics that provide added sun protection. In addition, lightweight, long-sleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses are also recommended if your are outdoors a lot.