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Caution: Sun Protection

Published:Monday | July 6, 2015 | 12:00 AMKimberly Goodall

The sun is out and the beach is our best friend. We pick out our favourite 'itsy bitsy' swimsuit and spend a wonderful day with the warm sunrays on our skin, sand between our toes, the smell of the sea and the light breeze in the air.

Everyone feels good after a day at the beach, and it's all fun until we get home and look in the mirror.

The beach can be the perfect way to spend your summer days, but it is important that we do not ignore the effects of the sun on our skin. From sunburns to dry skin, we experience different levels of 'after-beach effects'.


prevention better than cure


According to Dermatologist Dr Diane Robinson, 'prevention is much better than cure', and making the necessary preparation for the beach is important to avoid skin damage. These preventative measures include applying sufficient sunscreen to our skin, and avoiding the sun between noon and 1 p.m.

Unfortunately, we often forget these measures in our excitement and end up with sunburn, dry skin and frizzy hair.

Robinson explained, "There are three steps to take in avoiding sunburns - purchasing a sunscreen that has zinc oxide, applying not just a 'toops' of sunscreen but a thick layer, reapplying every two hours or after coming out of the water."

She continued, "Saltwater dehydrates and dries the skin and hair, so using a moisturising soap (e.g. Cetaphil) to shower and then applying moisturising lotions and vitamin E oils will retain the moisture. This should prevent your skin from getting dry and avoid rashes."

Robinson notes that in the event that you do get mild sunburn, you should apply a moisturising cream such as hydrocortisone or aloe vera (not raw) after you shower to help the skin heal. If the skin has been severely burnt, it is advised that one seek medical assistance.

Unlike other parts of our body, our face is fully exposed throughout the day, and will suffer more damage from the sun. For this reason, Robinson recommends that we use sunscreen with an SPF of 70 or higher and a lip balm, such as Blistex, on our lips. Remember, sun damage can cause skin cancers such as lentigines.

When it comes down to it, no matter how excited we get about going to the beach, we need to ensure that we prepare properly so that after the beach we don't regret having some fun in the sun.