Three steps to sun protection

Keep your skin healthy by taking conscious steps to protect it.

Protecting your skin from damage on a daily basis should be a habit, because it can, quite literally, save your life. Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in South Africa, with around 20 000 reported cases every year. Fortunately, there are a few ways in which you can take care of your skin and minimise the effects of the sun.

It’s no secret that nutrition plays a key role in our overall health, but it may come as a surprise that certain foods can actually help to protect against sun damage. Blueberries, for example, are packed with powerful antioxidants that fight off free radicals that can damage the skin; while watermelons and tomatoes contain an antioxidant known as lycopene, which absorbs UVA and UVB radiation. Other good snacks that can benefit the skin and minimise the effects of the sun include nuts and seeds, which contain omega-3 fatty acids, a natural anti-inflammatory; carrots and leafy greens, which are packed with beta carotene, which provides natural sun protection; and cauliflower, which contains antioxidants and alpha-amino acids that keep oxidative stress from free radicals at bay and absorb UV radiation.

When it comes to sun protection, there is simply no substitute for sunscreen. In fact, sunscreen is the most important skincare product there is. Fortunately, the days of sticky lotions are far gone, and there are now a range of top-quality, easy-to-wear products available. Heliocare has a range of products formulated to protect the whole family from sun damage — their offering includes a paediatrics range, as well as an invisible spray and a water-based gel. Interestingly, the brand also offers oral capsules, which contain antioxidants to help defend against free radicals.

Local brand SKOON also has some lovely sun protection products available. Their Sun Guardians Duo Pack includes their SUNNYBONANI day defence day cream which is a natural, mineral-only sunscreen for the face, while the NITELOVE anti-pollution serum provides overnight support to the skin and repairs daily damage from sun and smog.

It’s important to wear sunscreen every day in order to block both UVA and UVB rays, which are the cause of free radicals. Free radicals can cause serious damage to the skin over time, and lead to the visible signs of ageing. But while SPF goes a long way in protecting the skin, it does not, unfortunately, safeguard against infrared radiation.

For this reason, it is highly beneficial to use topical antioxidants — they have the ability to complement your sunscreen and offer a second line of defence against harmful free radicals.

The Endocare Edafence C Ferulic Serum is a great addition to your sun protection regime. It’s a triple-antioxidant shield that protects against oxidative damage, boosts cellular regeneration, and stimulates collagen production for visibly firmer, and more radiant-looking skin. An added bonus? It’s suitable for all skin types, and very easy to apply.