After a year when we’ve been mostly cooped up inside, the idea of fun in the sun feels like total bliss. While we are all for enjoying “Vitamin Sea” and soaking up the feel-good Vitamin D, we have to stay mindful of the damage the sun can do to our skin. For those of us living in the southern hemisphere, it’s important to bear in mind that South Africa has one of the highest monitored ultraviolet (UV) levels in the world, resulting in some of the highest skin cancer rates globally.
But safe fun can still be had – read our top 10 tips to stay safe in the sun this summer, and learn how Thoclor Labs GF2 Skin Rejuvenation can help if you happen to overdo it.
1. All sun is sun exposure
You don’t just put on sunscreen when you pack a beach bag. When the sun’s out, your skin is affected, so always be prepared. Apply your sunscreen in the morning and reapply it throughout the day – carrying it with you in your handbag. Keep a hat in your car so you have impromptu protection if you suddenly find yourself outside for unplanned periods of time.
2. Brush up on your SPF knowledge
In case you need a reminder, your SPF factor represents how long skin can stay in the sun before burning – e.g. SPF 15 gives you 15 times longer protection. However, don’t assume that a higher SPF protection increases linearly. SPF 15 blocks about 93% of UV rays, but SPF 30 blocks just 97% and SPF 50 blocks 98%. The higher your SPF, the more chemicals in your cream so we would recommend sticking to SPF 15, or maximum SPF 30, and reapply more often.
3. Choose the right sunscreen = mineral sunscreen
Think all sunscreens are created equal? Think again. Firstly, it’s important to know the difference between sunscreen and sunblock. Sunblocks allow the damaging UV rays to enter your skin, after which it changes the damaging rays into heat. Unfortunately, some negative molecules are formed in the process, like free radicals that damage the skin in other ways. These might also contain chemicals that trigger allergies or acne, so be very particular about the ingredients you allow on your skin.
Wearing sunscreen is always first prize: it’s a physical blocker that reflects sunlight off the skin like tin foil. Broad-spectrum sunscreens typically contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide, and reflect both UVA and UVB rays. New products on the market are no longer white, as sunscreens used to be, so shop around for what is called ‘mineral sunscreens’.
5. Keep a close eye on your kids
This stat should be sobering enough: experts warn that one severe sunburn during the first 15 years of a child’s life can double the risk of skin cancer. While it’s such fun for them to run around in swimwear all day, they should wear protective clothing as much as possible and go into the shade every 30 minutes. Of course, also be religious in applying and reapplying their sunscreen.
6. Southern hemisphere countries have a high melanoma risk
Skin cancer is a very avoidable condition: 80% of melanoma cases could be prevented by avoiding sunburn. South Africa, New Zealand and Australia have some of the world’s highest rates of melanoma skin cancer. Sunburn is not a red glow turning into a golden tan – it’s a clear sign that the DNA in your skin cells has been damaged by too much UV radiation. If your body can’t repair the damage, skin cells can begin to divide and grow in an uncontrolled way, and this could become cancerous.
7. Eat the right immune-boosting foods
There are no pills or supplements that can prevent sunburn but it’s a good idea to boost your diet by eating lots of immune-boosting fruits and vegetables high in vitamin C. A multi-vitamin could also be of help as vitamins act as antioxidants that reduce damage caused by sun exposure.
8. Wear protective clothing
Anything that forms a barrier between your skin and the sun helps to keep you safe – including clothing. Cover up as much of your skin as possible when you spend time outdoors, with specially designed sun-protective clothing, a hat and sunglasses. UV exposure is the number one cause of premature ageing in the skin.
9. Know your sunburn remedies
If you do get sunburnt, our GF2 Skin Rejuvenation works wonders in reversing DNA damage and redness. It will lessen peeling, decrease pain and speed up the healing process. Read more about how to use it here.
10. Fight inflammation that could lead to premature ageing
80% of the changes you see in your skin are caused by extrinsic factors – of which sun damage is one of the biggest culprits. As our biggest organ, the skin is very sensitive to these factors and it becomes inflamed over time, resulting in ageing. When our GF2 is applied to environmentally damaged skin, the genes associated with inflammation, ageing and disease are switched off. Skin cells begin to function normally and skin becomes smoother and more tolerant.
So knowing that you’re going to be exposed to the sun more often in summer is all the more reason to make GF2 part of your routine. It’s designed to retain, restore and rejuvenate the beauty of your skin.