Summer is here, and it is going to be a hot one! Whether you’re off to the beach, the mountains or just planning a series of days chilling around the pool and the braai, you’re going to want to ensure that your and your family’s skins are thoroughly protected.

Go for double protection
Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen that will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays. These rays refer to the different wavelengths of sunlight. UVA is the longest (most prevalent but less intense) and penetrates the epidermis and dermis. These rays are responsible for making you tan and cause ageing. UVB rays are medium wavelength rays (less prevalent) that affect the skin surface, causing sunburn, which weakens your immune system and causes the release of skin-damaging enzymes. Note that UV rays can pass through glass and clouds, so always wear your sunscreen.

Reapply all the time
If you’re out in the sun all day, swimming, bronzing or just enjoying the outdoors, remember to reapply sunscreen at least every hour – whether it’s water-resistant or not. All sunscreens rub off or evaporate with time.

Apply a shot of sunscreen all over
It is important to use enough sunscreen and cover all the skin that will be exposed to the sun. Use a handful of sunscreen to cover your entire body. A good way to measure the correct amount is to use a standard shot glass (25 ml) filled with sunscreen. Apply it thickly and thoroughly.

Don’t forget the sensitive parts
Remember to apply sunscreen to all the sensitive parts of your body – the ears, around the hairline (both back and front), under the chin, the cleavage, backs of knees and arms, the hands and the feet. Take care when applying around the eyes.

No sun between 10:00 and 15:00
Seek a shady spot under a tree, umbrella or a verandah or retire indoors for a rest between the hours of 10:00 and 15:00 when the sun’s rays are at their highest and strongest.

Cover up and wear a hat
If you want to extend your time in the sun or stay outdoors during the hours when the sun is at its hottest, then make sure you wear loose-fitting, cool clothing that covers as much skin as possible. And always, always wear a hat, preferably one made of a tightly woven fabric such as canvas rather than of straw. Heavier and darker fabrics provide higher UV protection than lightweight fabrics like cotton. Go for sunglasses with orange and yellow lenses for better UV protection for your eyes.

Drink lots of water
As air temperatures increase and your core body temperature rises from being in the sun, your body releases water and essential body salts, such as sodium, potassium, calcium bicarbonate, and phosphate, which can result in dehydration or worse, heatstroke. Make sure you drink lots of water regularly to replace any fluid that is lost through sweating. Beware of beverages with lots of sugar or alcohol, they are likely to cause dehydration, best to keep it pure and drink only water.

Stock up on antioxidants
One of the meanest realities of life on earth is that sun exposure causes free radicals to form in your body. It’s when sunlight and the oxygen in your body mix, and it’s almost like when the combination of sunlight and water cause a car to rust or make an apple turn brown. Oxidation is like biological rust in your body, and it causes ageing and illnesses like cancer, To beat oxidation, your body needs antioxidants. As much as possible! Active forms of antioxidants can be found in some foods or in supplements and include, among others, certain vitamins (A, B3, C and D), carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lycopene, omega-3 fatty acids, co-enzyme Q10, and polyphenols.

But possibly the best oral antioxidant in the world is Pycnogenol® an all-natural plant extract derived from the bark of the French Maritime Pine Tree. One of the only places in South Africa to get hold of this powerful antioxidant is through Lamelle Research Laboratories’ Ovelle D3. Made with Pycnogenol®, Ovelle D3 protects collagen and elastin, increases skin’s resistance to the sun and helps combat hyperpigmentation.•

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