What you didn’t know about sun protection

Whether you’re headed for a summer vacation or staying put in Singapore’s year round summer, sun protection tips are vital for living in the tropics. Sun exposure causes most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging, such as wrinkles and age spots.

We can’t stress the importance of good sun protection in keeping skin youthful and maintaining its elasticity. While most of us are aware of general sun protection tips, like staying out of the sun during the hottest part of day 11am-4pm, here are some things you may not know.

Read more: Foods that Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage

1. How much sunscreen you apply matters

It’s important to choose a sunscreen with high SPF and broad spectrum coverage but many people aren’t aware that the quantity of sunscreen applied can greatly affect the protection your skin receives. You need at least an ounce for your body (one shot glass full) and a teaspoon for your face. It may seem like a lot but if you don’t apply the adequate amount, it can’t form a shield to protect your skin.

2. Apply 20 mins before sun exposure

You may have read this on the fine print at the back of the bottle and brushed it off as a finer detail, but here’s why it’s important. The UV filters in sunscreen need time to be absorbed into your skin before it can form a protective layer, so if you’re wearing sunscreen right before you walk out the door, then that’s equivalent to having no sun protection for the first 20 minutes.

3. Don’t rely on makeup with SPF

Though most creams, foundations or moisturisers may have an SPF value, don’t rely on them to provide adequate protection, that is, unless you are willing to slather on 7 – 14 times of what you normally would. In fact, it’s best to not to mix your sunscreen with make up. Sunscreen should be applied after moisturiser and other skin treatments, and before makeup. You should also allow time for your last product to be absorbed by the skin before apply sunscreen.

4. Certain foods can help reduce skin damage from sun exposure

Having high level of nutrients in your skin can reduce wrinkles and skin damage caused by sun exposure. Foods that high in carotenoid, polyphenols and vitamin C & E work as antioxidants to neutralise free radicals that lead to skin aging. While diet doesn’t replace the need to wear sunscreen, it works as a complement to protect skin from sun exposure.

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