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Sunscreen rules and myths

It is summer time: beach time, pool time and time to work on your tan? As irresistible as the idea of sun-kissed shoulders might be the reality is that over-exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays will not only age you prematurely but also increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Find out how you can protect your skin against sun damage this summer.

Sunscreen rules

Choose and apply your sunscreen carefully:

  • If you are going to be exposed to direct sunlight apply sunscreen generously 30 minutes before you go outside and reapply it every 2 - 3 hours.
  • Be sure to reapply sunscreen after exercise, swimming or towelling
  • Buy an approved CANSA SunSmart Sunscreen. You can view a list of manufacturers on the CANSA website
  • Use a sunscreen with an SPF of between 20 and 50+. If you have a fair skin use an SPF of 30 50+
  • Use sunscreen every day not just if you are going to be spending a lot of time outside. Remember to apply it in the morning before you leave for work, for example, and to reapply it if you go out for lunch or before you drive home
  • Do not use sunscreen that has been opened for more than a year

Take care to avoid exposure to the sun, especially between 10am and 3pm. Remember that sunbathing is never advisable, even with sunscreen and before 10am or after 3pm.

Sunscreen myths

Myth: I don't have to wear sunscreen because I have a dark skin
Fact: Even those with dark skin are at risk of developing skin cancer and need the protection of sunscreen.

Myth: I don't have to apply sunscreen on cloudy days
Fact: UV rays can penetrate cloud cover, making sunscreen important even on cloudy days.

Myth: Sunscreen provides complete protection from the harmful effects of the sun
Fact: Sunscreen cannot provide 100% protection, even when used as prescribed. If you are exposed to the sun you should also wear protective clothing, thickly woven hats with wide brims and sunglasses with a UV400 protection rating.

Myth: One or two sunburns cannot harm me
Fact: Just one blistering' sunburn can increase your chances of developing skin cancer.

Myth: Sunbeds are safe
Fact: Sunbeds could be as harmful as the sun. According to CANSA they deliver concentrated UVA radiation to unprotected skin and should be avoided'.

Final word
This summer, remember that there is no such thing as safe tanning. Protect your skin and stay out of the sun. One day you will be grateful you did!

Source:
CANSA: www.cansa.org.za

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