Posted on 27 January 2015
We asked Dr Jacques du Toit, a dermatologist at Mediclinic Louis Leipoldt for his top summer sunscreen and skincare advice.
More is best!
The SPF in your makeup is not enough protection. Ideally, you should use a foundation with an SPF but don’t think of it as your main safeguard – you’ll need to add an under layer of good quality sunscreen, too. Most makeup only contains a factor 15 SPF so look for an SPF of 50+ and check the label to see that the product provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays. It’s also reassuring if the CANSA logo appears on the product (if they’re South African). When applying sunblock under your makeup, try and find a product that’s not too greasy or oily, as this may be too occlusive and cause an acne-like skin reaction.
Which skin areas require protection?
Many tanners only put sunscreen on their face, arms, legs, back and neck, and think they’re set. But what about your ears and the back of your neck, which are often neglected? You can also get sunburn on your scalp, so you should wear a hat, too. And don’t forget your lips – find a lip balm with an SPF of at least 50+. Sunglasses are also important to prevent macular degeneration, the formation of cataracts, and to protect the delicate skin around the eyes. It’s important to remember that a single layer of clothing doesn’t offer 100% protection against UV light. Sunblock should be reapplied every four hours or immediately after coming out of the water, especially for those skin types that are more sensitive to the sun.
Does your sunscreen sometimes make you burn? It may be an allergy…
Sunscreen rarely acts as a photoallergen that causes a photoallergy. What this means is that the combination of sun and one of the active ingredients in the sunscreen causes the patient to react and that appears as an exaggerated sunburn! One such active ingredient is benzophenone-3 (oxybenzone), so if you have this kind of allergy, read the ingredients on the pack before you purchase the sunscreen and avoid it. You can also try different bands of sunscreen, including ones that only contain a physical blocking agent such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
The information provided in this article was correct at the time of publishing. At Mediclinic we endeavour to provide our patients and readers with accurate and reliable information, which is why we continually review and update our content. However, due to the dynamic nature of clinical information and medicine, some information may from time to time become outdated prior to revision.