By Hermoine Macura-Noble
Special to The Times Kuwait
A simple beauty secret we often overlook is that effective sun protection is essential for keeping your skin smooth and radiant. It is also vital to apply sunscreen daily and make sun protection part of your overall skin health to prevent skin cancer. According to the Worldwide Cancer Research organization, 80 percent of skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UltraViolet (UV) radiation.
Skincare researcher and founder of Bloomtrue, UK, Soariese Thomson, explains. “Sunscreen is a method of protecting our skin tissue… Every day our skin has to cope with things like air pollutants, free radicals caused by stress, and the effects of poor diet choices. Adding another layer of excess sun exposure, leaves the skin a little worse for wear. Every person at every age should be protecting their skin.”
Protecting your skin daily from the UVB and UVA rays also lessens the damage caused by free radicals and the signs of premature aging; making it a habit early in life is essential regardless of skin tone. Experts say lighter skin tones are at higher risk for skin cancer and even with minimal UV exposure, all skin tones can develop skin cancer. It is also essential to apply sunscreen every day as the sun’s rays can damage the skin even when it is cloudy. Even sun exposure through a car window increases the risk of skin cancer, according to some research.
Hyperpigmentation can also form as a result of sun damage. It develops when the body tries to protect itself and produces more melanin. As sunscreen decreases the sun’s effects on our skin, it reduces this melanin reaction. “It’s important to know that during pregnancy, or while taking specific medication, an individual can become more photosensitive, meaning that they become more at risk of forming hyperpigmentation,’’ adds Thomson.
There are two main types of sunscreens: chemical and mineral-based. The first one filters UV light while the later blocks UV light. Mineral-based sunscreens are also helpful for people who are acne-prone or have sensitive skin, as these sun protections are less likely to cause irritation and skin allergies.
Other good news about sun care in 2022 is that many brands have taken their products to the next level. Some of the best sunscreen products available have additional ingredients which have hydrating, soothing, and calming properties as well. Experts say a mineral-based sunscreen is ideal because it protects against a broader spectrum, and individuals with acne should avoid oil-based products.
“If you are looking for sunscreens without the presence of Oxybenzone or others like it (due to the shocking studies around it), there are lots of other options available. If you are looking for mineral ones, look for non-nano mineral formulations… People with darker melanin may benefit from trialing these out to see whether they leave a chalky residue when applied. Mineral-based sunscreens with an all-around nourishing formulation can also help with prickly heat,” says Thomson.
Application is also important. Each sunscreen is different, so check the product description and application instructions. Apply enough for your chosen area and reapply every couple of hours or as instructed. “If we’re talking about applying sunscreen to the face, make sure you apply without dragging the skin down and in an upward motion, and don’t forget about areas like the décolletage, ears, and behind the ears,” concludes Thomson.
Whether you are on your morning walk or just driving in your car, applying sunscreen will keep your skin looking radiant and prevent skin cancer for decades to come. Also, remember sunscreens are just one type of protection — physical protectors like hats, clothes, and parasols also greatly help shield you from sun damage.
By Hermoine Macura-Noble
The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.