I’ve been so excited to share my first article with our readers. My name is Michelle and I am a BABTAC Beauty Specialist with 30 years experience in the beauty industry. I am delighted to be the Beauty Editor of Cosmocreole. I will endeavour to share tips, trends and advice about skincare and what is trending in the Beauty World at the moment- be it products, books or what social media and websites pages to visit.
As the Seychelles is the most beautiful group of tropical islands with temperatures rarely below 20 degrees and constant sunshine despite the occasional rainy day, I thought why not kick off with a topic that’s always been at the forefront of any beauty therapist’s mind when it comes to the skin – the sun!
Our skin uses sunlight to help manufacture Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, however it’s ultraviolet rays can be very detrimental to our skin. Although most people, adults and children alike love basking in the warmth and light of the sun, too much or overexposure can significantly damage our skin. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause burning and long term changes to the skin.
There are two types basic of UV radiation that reach the earth’s surface, UVA also known as Ageing Rays and UVB – Burning Rays. UVA (Ageing Rays) penetrates deeper into the skin and plays a greater role in premature ageing, as it breaks down the collagen in the dermis, this also results in photo ageing (wrinkles), especially on the face and hands. UVA also plays a role in skin cancer formation and UVB (Burning Rays) are responsible for causing sunburn and also skin cancer, the most common type is melanoma which can be fatal.
It’s especially hard to avoid sunlight and sun exposure when living in a tropical climate so close to the equator. We should be extra careful and create awareness about how to best protect our skin from the sun. Adults should educate the younger generation, so it becomes a habit to protect your skin from the sun. There isn’t a single method of sun defence that can protect your skin perfectly, so I will advise a few methods. The best way forward is to adopt as many of these steps as possible and incorporate them into your daily routine all year round.
- SPF – Sun Protection Factor should be your new best friend, I would suggest nothing below an SPF 30, or SPF 50 for more sensitive skin types – for face, décolleté, hands and arms on a daily basis. The number lets you know how long it will take to burn or skin to look reddened. So an SPF 30 will protect your skin 30 times more than without protection. Even when driving hands and arms are exposed to UV Radiation, so protect them as well – no one wants ageing hands! Many high street brands now have hand creams with SPF and most skincare brands now offer Daily UV Protection products which are light, non-greasy fluid that can be worn as the last step in your skincare routine. If possible, speak to your beauty therapist or pharmacist who will be able to suggest something suitable for everyday use. There are broad spectrum UVA / UVB sunscreens designed for days when you are more likely to be constantly exposed, for example, on the beach or on a boat – these tend to be a lot thicker, as most contain zinc oxide/titanium dioxide which acts as a mineral blocker layer on top of the skin.
- Cover Up – Days out, picnics, hiking and boat trips are fun things to do on the weekend but remember a hat and protective clothing/swimwear to protect the body from overexposure to the sun and heat. The sun’s rays reflect off the water and even in the shade, so be aware that the effects of the suns UV rays are still a danger.
- Shelter – Ideally try and stay out of direct sunlight during peak daylight hours. The sun is most likely to cause burning between 11 am and 3 pm.
- Windows and Driving – While glass blocks UVB reasonably well, it allows UVA to pass through, so remember your hands and arms as well. Not protecting the arms and hands can result in hyperpigmentation, as increased sun exposure also increases the melanin production in the skin which causes visible darker patches.
- Early Detection – Be aware of changes in the skin, any irregular unusual moles that appear should be brought to the attention of your doctor who can refer you to a dermatologist. Visit www.skincancer.org The Skin Cancer Foundation champion sun protection – “The Skin Cancer Foundation saves and improves lives. We empower people to take a proactive approach to daily sun protection and the early detection and treatment of skin cancer. ” Check their website for more information on the early detection of skin cancer.
The Skin Cancer Foundation advises everyone to use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher every day. For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum sunscreen of 30 or higher. Reapply every 2 hrs after swimming or sweating. Overexposure or prolonged periods of sun exposure will lead to aggravated skin conditions and you may notice the following:
- Damaged Blood Vessels / Redness of the skin
- Dry Leathery Skin
- Ageing & Wrinkles
- Pigmentation / Discolouration
While there are some effective skincare products on the market that will help minimise such conditions, always remember they could have been prevented in the first place by using sun protection and incorporating SPF into your daily skincare routine.
My mantra is to apply sunscreen every day of your life, not just when you think you will be spending extended time outside and make sunscreen your new Best Friend Forever.
About The Author: Michelle Watts is the Beauty Editor for Cosmocreole. Michelle is a BABTAC Beauty Specialist with 30 years experience in the Beauty Industry. Contact: Beauty@cosmocreole.com