…Even when there's a cyclone!
The age old saying rings true, prevention is indeed better than cure. Let’s talk about our skin and the sun, and one of the scariest aftereffects – pigmentation. Although pigmentation has been around for, well, forever, it is only recently that there has been some serious light shed on the topic by doctors, the media and skincare companies.
Pigmentation is the discolouration or darkening of areas or spots on your skin and it affects our melanin, which is made by cells in the skin and is the pigment responsible for your skin's colour. It is not only caused by the sun, as hormones during pregnancy and hormonal treatments can also have an effect on our skin, even certain medications, trauma, inflammation and heat can cause pigmentation.
The sun has always been a longstanding enemy of our skin, especially here in sunny South Africa. Not only is the sun’s UV rays dangerous, but we are exposed to so many different UV lights throughout the day, even blue light from our phones and computer screens pose a threat, Dr Rouxlene Merbold from Rejive Skin and Body Clinic says the following:
“Up to 90% of skin ageing, is due to the sun. The sun gives off different types of radiation:
Ultraviolet radiation (UV), Infrared (IR) and Visible light (VIS). Therefore, if one invests in a sunscreen, make sure that it gives protection against all the above (SPF only refers to the protection against UVB).
Skin Cancer is unfortunately the most common cancer in South Africa. Visible light, infrared and UVA reaches the much deeper layers of the skin where is causes cell (DNA) damage that presents with signs of photoaging. This includes wrinkles, pigmentation spots, rough textures, and blemishes, and evidently skin cancer.”
People as young as twenty have battled with skin cancer. Too much unprotected exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause skin damage, eye damage, immune system suppression, and ultimately, skin cancer.
TIPS TO PREVENT PIGMENTATION
You guessed it, a strong sunscreen is best and an absolute must! If you are wearing makeup, be sure to apply additional sunscreen, as the SPF 15 that are in some of the foundation brands just will not cut it! No need to put on oily sunscreen and stress over a breakout because of it, there are some amazing brands like Heliocare that specialise in sunscreen for our faces, and even better, they have a tinted range, so no foundation needed! Remember to apply sunscreen everywhere – even on your ears. It is also important to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that are UV-proof.
Stay in the shade for as long and as much as you can. Yes, we all want a bit of colour after the no-beach holidays, but the same applies for all the eating and spending during holidays – moderation is key! A few minutes in the sun with some strong SPF is much better than going all out, without sunscreen. There is a major difference between a tan and a sunburn.
Last, cover up! I know that when you’ve worked for that bikini body all year, a bodysuit is not what you would want to wear, but when you can, help protect your skin by adding a layer. Another important addition to your summer wardrobe is a hat. Whether you opt for a cute bucket hat, a baseball cap or an 80’s straw-hat, it will give you instant protection from those pigmentation-spots on your cheeks and protect your eyes at the same time.
Preventing pigmentation is simple, really. Always protect your skin by applying as many preventative measures as you possibly can during those scorching sunny days, even the cloudy ones (UV rays still exist on gloomy days). You can also consult a doctor when you are receiving or considering any type of hormonal treatment to ensure you are aware of the risks it may pose to your skin.
Our skin is our largest organ, love it and protect it!
Go check out Rejive Skin & Body Clinic's website for more info!