Tuesday 23 January 2018

Top tips to avoid sun damage

We meet Boots’ sun care expert Clare O’Connor to discuss how to avoid damaged skin

Freya Drohan

Freya Drohan

Every little helps when it comes to protecting your skin from sun damage.

According to recent research, almost 30% of Irish people will only wear sun cream during the summer months when they leave the country and not think of topping up when the sun shines on home soil.

There are 10,000 cases of skin cancer annually and an increase of 81% in the last two decades.

We met with Boots' sun care expert Clare O'Connor to find out the best ways to protect our skin - prevent skin cancer, wrinkles and keep us looking our best.

“Ireland has a typical Northern European attitude to the sun, we think ‘its not the same sun’ or ‘it cant burn you,' when in fact there is no excuse for not protecting your skin 365 days a year, at home and abroad," she told Independent Style.

“Melanoma rates have started to drop in Australia, and they can link that to when they started to push sun savvy behaviour."

Woman apply sunscreen

On a mission to change the way Irish people approach their sun care routine, Clare advocates a top-to-toe approach, incorporating the right products into your daily routine: “Look for something with 5 star UVA rating- UVA rays go deeper than UVB and are strongly associated with premature ageing and long term damage”.

A minimum factor of SPF 15 is advised, but the higher the better.

“If you’re going to put a product on your face- you might as well make it the best,” she says, “sun cream can go on top of makeup, but it makes more sense to put on your serum then a day cream with SPF before foundation”.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a safe tan, as ultimately that sun kissed glow is a sign that your skin is damaged.

Avoid attempting a tan blitz and soaking up the sun for several hours at a time, instead, Clare recommends building a base tan gradually:

“It’s not realistic to say no one should go out and tan, but people must do it safely and slowly- use a high SPF; you will still get a colour, and it will last longer," she said.

“Sun beds are inextricably linked with sun cancer, and they work because they use UVA light only which goes deeper into the skin. There are absolutely no health benefits”.

While Irish people have a long way to go when it comes to sun care awareness, Clare believes that our mentality is improving.

“Sun care is starting to come through, even in school curriculum, and children are now more accepting that they have to have a hat if they go outside”.


Clare’s top sun care tips:

- Buy a quality controlled product from a brand you trust, with proven testing behind it.

- Don't forget your lips: "Lips have no melanin so they burn really easily so protect them now with a sun stick of SPF 15 or 30".

- Protect your eyelids: “Not many sunglasses protect the upper lid, so a stick product is also great for there”.

- Once-a-day products are ideal: “Put them on even on dull and hazy days and you don’t have to think about it again”.

sun shoulder.jpg
Sun protection

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