Sun safety in 5 easy steps

Let’s be honest, we as South Africans are no strangers to the blistering hot sun and the intense sunburn we love and hate over the sunny seasons. The time has come to bid a very happy farewell to the colder weather as we get ready for the sun to embrace us with open arms.

However, with increased time in the sun, humidity levels and other summer-related challenges, it’s essential to prepare and protect your skin against UV damage. 

Kevin Khosa, skin expert at SKIN functional – a vegan, cruelty-free and fragrance-free skincare brand – is passionate about sun care and has offered the below essential sun safety tips to adopt as we prepare to move into summer:

  1. Hydration is your go-to: Ensure your body and skin are hydrated from the inside out. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and consider switching to a hydrating cleanser to avoid stripping your skin of its natural oils. Add a gentle toner to replenish moisture and add a rich moisturiser to lock in the moisture and protect your skin from further environmental elements that can be damaging. 
  2. Scrub away the old: Exfoliation is key to maintaining a healthy skin barrier. However, ensure to do this mindfully – only twice a week. Opt for a milder exfoliant, such as a chemical exfoliant with glycolic acid or lactic acid, to remove dead skin cells without causing irritation – and do this for your whole body. 
  3. SPF is mandatory: It goes without saying that you have to apply a high SPF (30+) sunscreen onto your skin every day, even when the sun is not out. Remember to apply your SPF 20-minutes before going into the sun and reapply every two hours. Limit your time in the sun. Seek shade, wear protective clothing and apply your sunscreen from head to toe.
  4. Avoid perfumes and fragrances: Spraying perfumes onto your skin before going into the sun can have adverse effects, causing skin irritation, rash and blistering. It can be referred to as a condition called photodermatitis. This occurs when certain allergens or chemicals on the skin are activated by UV rays (also called a phototoxic reaction), triggering a severe sunburn, eczema-like reaction dermatitis or hives. 
  5. Post-sun care: Pamper your skin by taking a cool shower to soothe your skin and remove sweat and sunscreen residue. Follow this up with a hydrating moisturiser with aloe vera as a key ingredient. Embrace antioxidants – these are superheroes for your skin. UV rays cause unstable molecules called free radicals that damage cells in your skin. By using antioxidants like vitamins C and E, you are able to reinforce your skin’s defence against environmental damage and stabilise those free radicals, so they don’t damage your skin cells. Antioxidants also promote collagen production, keeping your skin youthful and glowing.

“Follow these sun care tips and embrace the sunny season the right way. The aim is to enjoy the sun while still ensuring you are protected and your skin is not being damaged in the process. Remember, in order to have healthy, glowing skin, you need to be consistent with your skincare and serious about sun safety. Make it part of your daily routine and reap the benefits for a long time,” concludes Khosa. 

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