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Practice Safe Sun All Year Round!

March 17, 2009

Being part of a  five day long sun screen trial where the UV reading was being recorded every hour on the hour really opened my eyes to the strength of the Australian sun. We had a mixture of weather from grey and overcast to muggy and hot and then fresh and breezy. UV readings were all over the place and I watched as the reddened bodies walked off the beach day after day!

Here in Australia we are lucky enough to have the most amazing beaches, fabulous surf and never ending sunshine. However, we are also close to  the area of  Ozone depletion (commonly known as the “hole” in the ozone layer) that sits over Antarctica.  The “hole” isn’t really a hole but more of an area of low ozone cover, New Zealand is much closer to the action and  consequently has high  UV readings even on cloudy days! If you want to read more I recommend visiting the Nassa site.


During the run up to the sunscreen trial that I have just taken part in we all got our skin graded using the Fitzpatrick scale. Dr Fitzpatrick  developed this skin classification system in 1975 after observing different skin types after UV exposure. I have the dubious honor of being a 1 which means that my very fair skin burns rather than tans- something that I know only too well!  The scale goes from 1 through to 6 with 6 being black skin that never burns and tans easily.  It is possible for fair haired, blue eyed people to have a skin type 3 which tans gradually just as darker skins can occasionally be very sun sensitive. It is advisable to get your skin checked out at a dermatologist or skin cancer clinic as soon as possible so that you know what is the best approach for you.

Why should I be careful all year, surely summer is the problem time?

Firstly it is important to say that the sun is essential for life. It makes us feel happy and energized, it helps in the body’s vitamin D production and is essential for life its self. However, too much of anything can have its down side and as far as your skin is concerned the down sides are premature aging, sunspots and maybe even skin cancer.

The most important thing that I learned from taking part in the sun screen trial is that UV levels can be very high when you least expect it. That beautiful day with a clear sky and cool breeze may be perfect for a day at the beach but the extreme UV readings could make for a painful night. Similarly, just because the clouds loom heavy above doesn’t mean that the sunscreen can stay in the bag.  The UV rays penetrate through cloud especially in the summer and early autumn.  In Australia the UV rays can be strong enough to burn type 1-3 skin even in the winter.  Skin type 1 should think about wearing a hat and sun glasses all year round when spending time outdoors.

The secret to looking young at 70?

The anti-aging (or pro-age which is a much nicer term) market is booming even in these tougher times.  30 has long been the “new” 20, 50 the new 40 and 70 year old’s are still out having fun, running companies and playing an active role in the family.  We want to look as young as we feel and our skin is the first place to give our age away!  There are two main factors that determine how quickly our skin ages. One is our genetics – take a look at your mother or other family members to find out how you might fair. While we can’t do anything about our genes the second factor is our environmental exposure.

The environment that our skin has to deal with is something that we can to some degree control. The sun is one of the most powerful skin aging forces out there – just look at a part of your body that never sees sunlight to see how soft and smooth the skin is when compared to the back of your hands or your face! Other than the sun, the environment also includes pollutants and toxins such as smoke, exhaust fumes and other chemicals (could be alcohol, household cleaning chemicals or those used at work).

Thirdly your skin will repay you for the good things that go on inside the body. Eating a balanced diet, not smoking or drinking excessively getting plenty of sleep and staying hydrated with enough water and gentle excersize (to boost circulation) all pay dividends when it comes to aging gracefully.

What should I look for in a product?

There are many excellent products out there that will help to boost tired skin, slough off dead cells and hydrate the parts that the water missed. It is essential to get a good suncream – buy something mild and un-perfumed for the face and apply under make-up daily and then get something more general for the rest of your skin. In addition you may like to add a super active facial cream to your routine.  Anti-ageing ingredients to look out for would be:

Vitamins – A, E and C are all great for giving the skin a boost.

Collagen and Elastin for skin boosting.

Peptides – for re-building the skin from within.

Anti-oxidants – for mopping up free radicals that are the result of the skin’s ageing process.

Visit the Adore Beauty webshop for some brilliant skin boosting brands.


7 Comments leave one →
  1. March 22, 2009 12:29 pm

    Very interesting article, i have bookmarked your blog for future referrence. Best regards

  2. March 26, 2009 6:58 pm

    Please do it right now. I love it to read something about this theme


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