Holiday sun protection is more important than you are probably aware.
The statistics are scary: Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. It is the most common type of cancer in Australia, and 90%-99% of skin cancer is related to sun exposure. And just in case skin cancer wasn’t enough of a deterrent, up to 90% of the visible signs of ageing, including wrinkles, are caused by sun exposure too.
So, be it for health or vanity reasons, having the best possible skin comes down to reducing sun damage.
With temperatures already on the rise, here are my top 4 tips to defend yourself against the dangers of sun exposure.
Make sun protection a daily habit
Everyone, especially people with fair skin types, are familiar with the burn from UVB rays. But did you know that 95% of UV rays are UVA rays? And these UVA rays are with us all the time, every day, regardless of the season, and hour of daylight, or weather forecast. UVA rays are responsible for premature skin ageing, such as pigmentation, wrinkles, reduced skin elasticity, dark spots, skin yellowing and skin cancer. They penetrate deep into our skin, not just superficial layers, and through most clothing, cloud cover and glass. The damaged caused by UVA rays is irreversible.
For this reason, protecting yourself against sun exposure is something that you need to do every day – not just days spent poolside or on the beach. And with summer approaching, the best time to start making sun protection a daily habit is now!
Cotton Doesn’t Cut It
The Cancer Council’s Slip Slop Slap message is NOT being fulfilled by slipping on clothing of just any description. Yes, we all love our t-shirts, flowy kaftans and oh-so-versatile sarongs. But, did you know, that the average white cotton t-shirt only has a UPF 5 (which is like SPF for clothes)? This means that it allows 1/5th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through. And remember UV rays are not blocked by cloud coverage or glass.
You need to be wearing clothing that has been specifically designed to protect you from the sun. If you are going to be outside for an extended period of time this summer, remember, cotton doesn’t cut it, look for clothing labeled as providing certified UPF 50+ protection, the highest possible rating.
Be generous with your sunscreen
Despite the fact that women know they should wear sunscreen every day of the year, less than 30% of us do on a regular basis. I hear many excuses for this – from ‘it’s too greasy’ to ‘I’m too busy’. But, given the importance of sun protection, I hope you’ll get in the habit of applying sunscreen daily, especially during these warmer months.
Personally I use Hamilton Sensitive UPF50+ Sunscreen – Hamilton is an Australian laboratory that has particular expertise with dry and sensitive skins and their sensitive sunscreen is free from fragrance, lanolin, and colours, and offers broad spectrum 50+ protection.
Remember, UVA rays are with us all the time, every day. Be generous with your sunscreen, most people do not use enough, apply it before you go outside and reapply it at least every 2 hours.
For every head, a hat
Yes, you need your hat to be breathable, lightweight and comfortable – but it also needs to be constructed in a fabric that offers protection. I see women wearing their big floppy straw hats and yes, they look good and provide shade, but if you can see through the weave, then those UV rays can see you too!
Like sun protection clothing, look for hats that are labeled as providing protection from UV exposure.
Don’t be a statistic
With so many great reasons to protect yourself from sun exposure and so much public education focused on skin protection, it’s hard to believe that we Aussies are not already world class superstars at sun safety. I implore you, please don’t be a statistic, learn more about sun protection, and enjoy the sun safely.
Article submitted by Annaliese Allen
Founder of Honeybell Waterwear