Proper sun protection should be of key concern for all people of all walks of life. With the correct sun care, skin whitening lotions, depigmentation treatments and anti-aging creams would probably be much less popular and certainly a lot less necessary.

A main factor in the health and appearance of the skin is its interaction with the sun. Ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight can cause skin darkening, accelerate the aging process, cause skin abnormalities and are the number one cause of skin cancer. So much damage is caused by lack of knowledge about the negative effects of the sun, and when the harm is done, it takes a lot of time, effort and often discomfort to reverse it.

Proper medical-grade sun care is far more important than collagen drinks and Vitamin A creams in the fight against premature aging. Most of us konw that daily sun care is a must to use but it is easy to ignore the need for this. For those who have undergone laser or other corrective skin care procedures, effective sun protection is of paramount importance. As the skin is healing, it is at it’s most susceptible to damage.

Here are a few basic rules for proper, effective sun protection, whether you have recently undergone an aesthetic procedure, or even if you are only concerned with staying healthy in the sun.

Use a sunblock with Zinc for complete protection.

The SPF label on your sunscreen only refers to its UVB blocking components. UVB rays are responsible for burning the skin, but the UVA rays are the ones that cause cancer, DNA mutation and deeper damage to the skin. UVA rays are only blocked by physical sunblock components that leave a white residue on your skin. This can be considered unsightly by some, and is why many cosmetic sunscreens do not contain it. UVA rays can be minimally blocked by some chemical components including titanium, but only a sunblock containing zinc will give you proper protection against UVA rays.

A higher SPF many not be necessary.

An SPF of 30 blocks 96.5% of UVB rays, and an SPF of 45 blocks 98% of UVB. Therefore, any sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is more than sufficiet for anyone who spends a moderate amount of time out in the sun. A higher SPF will not give you greater protection or prolong its effectiveness. I also have patients tell me their skin cream is SPF15, their foundation is SPF15, and the powder is SPF15, surely it all adds up to SPF45! Unfortunately, no, different layers of sun protection may seem like more coverage but in actual fact it does not provide increased protection.

Apply sunblock to the skin, 30 minutes before exposire, and reapply frequently.

For it to work effectively, sunblock needs to be applied to dry, cleansed skin, under your make-up or skin creams, where it can create a physical layer. Allow the sunblock to set and gain effectiveness for up to 30 minutes before exposure to the sun. It is also umportant to note that sunblock needs to be reapplied every 1.5 hours or so for full coverage. No sunblock lasts all day despite their claims. Sunblock is also never completely waterproof, but some brands have water resistance that allow them to be used at the beach.

Look for additives for added protection.

If you can find a brand that offers added antioxidants such as Vitamin C & E, these additives have the ability to reduce inflammation and improve overall skin protection.

Oral sunblock can be an effective tool for photo-protection.

There are some antioxidant products in the market that act as oral sunblocks, to decrease the damaging effects of the sun. Used in conjunction with topical sun protection, they can be an added layer of protection against long-term effects of sun damage.

Prevention is better than cure.

Avoiding exposure to sunlight isn’t entirely practical, but minimising exposure when the sun is at its peak between the hours of 10am to 4pm helps. Use curtains and shades to minimise the amount of sunlight into your home, and sun protective clothing can give an added layer of protection when you are outdoors.

Darker skin is not immune to the effects of UV rays.

Although darker skin types are naturally protected from the sun burning effects of UVB rays, damage can still be caused by UVA that result in malasma, sun spots and even cancer. Melasma, in particular, is quite common in dark skin types and can be very pronounced and widespread. It is especially hard to treat as the natural pigmentation of the skin makes it very sensitive to most melasma treatments currently available.

All in all, no skincare is sufficent if you do not practice good suncare protection. Always under the sun and pigmentation affects your self confidence? Make an appointment or come in and talk to our doctors today.