HATS ON: The correct hat reduces UV exposure by 70% for neck and head.
“Use sunblock every day. Even if it’s snowing!”

This was the strict instruction given to me by Amy Bowie, medical therapist and owner of Pulse Salon in Durbanville.

During a recent visit to the salon, Bowie asked me how often I used sunblock. I was embarrassed to admit that the only time I used sunblock was when I know I will be spending time in the sun.

No matter what your skin tone is, sunscreen needs to be an essential part of your skin routine.

Besides protecting you from sunburn, sunscreen helps to slow down premature ageing and unwanted wrinkles. More importantly sunscreen is one of your greatest weapons to protect your skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays responsible for skin cancer.

The Skin Care Foundation of South Africa offers the following advice on how you can protect yourself against skin cancer.

Use sunscreen every day: Use a sunblock with an SPF 30 or more. Apply 30 minutes prior to exposure. Re-apply every 2 hours when outdoors. Don’t forget your scalp, ears, neck and back of hands.

Even though the use of sunscreen is essential, it needs to be complemented by other sun safe practices.

Avoid sunbeds: Use of a sunbed at least once a month increases skin cancer risk by 55%. Spray on or self-tans are your safe alternative.

Plan around peak sun hours: Avoid outdoor activities between 10am and 4pm. UV intensity is determined by ray’s angles not temperature.

Do a regular mole check: Stand naked in front of a mirror and use a hand-held mirror to see difficult places, starting with your face and working your way down. Look out for any changes in moles especially new black-coloured moles, changes in size, shape, colour or feel. Make an appointment with your dermatologist should there be changes.

Ensure you don’t burn: Sunburn can manifest as skin cancer years later. Darker colours and tightly woven fabrics are better options - especially silk and polyester. Ideally choose certified, tested fabrics with a UPF rating (www.saveourskin.co.za)

Wear a hat: Choose a rim of 4 or more inches (10cm). The right hat reduces UV exposure by 70% for neck and head. Avoid straw hats that aren’t finely woven.

Beware of reflective rays. Water, sand and concrete all provide a platform for reflective rays.

Protect yourself at all times, even while in shade or on a wintery day.

Skin care products are now available in a wide variety of textures and formats. Here are our top picks:

IDEAL SOLEIL Invisible Hydrating Mist

Ideal Soleil Invisible hydrating mist SPF 50

Intensely hydrating, quickly absorbed and water resistant. Contains Vichy Thermal Spa Water for optimal moisturisation all day long.

Sheer Physical UV Defence SPF 50

SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense SPF 50:

An ultra-sheer and transparent sunscreen fluid that offers broad spectrum protection for all skin types, including sensitive. Leaves a sheer, weightless matte finish.

BB Cream

La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL, BB Tinted Cream SPF 50+

New tinted BB cream texture. Rich but non-oily, the texture protects, moisturises and unifies the complexion in a single step.

Aloe Suncare Lipbalm Vanilla

Aloe Unique’s Aloe Lips in Vanilla SPF 15

This super emollient formula moistures, softens and plumps lips. Contains intensely hydrating Aloe Ferox.

Yunskin Sun Care

Yungskin SPF40

This high factor, CANSA-approved UVA/UVB SPF is non-greasy, non-sticky and leaves no white residue on the skin. And it is suitable for all skin types.

La Roche-Posay has created the The UV Patch.

The UV Patch

They say there’s an app for everything. Well now there’s a tech-savvy way to monitor sun exposure.

La Roche-Posay has created the The UV Patch, an innovation to change bad sun habits into life-saving ones.

The patch is the first flexible, ultra-thin and connectable UV sensor designed to measure sun exposure.

My UV Patch works by using UV sensitive dyes that change colour when exposed to UV radiation, and is designed to be used in conjunction with the My UV Patch app.

Users scan the patch using the My UV Patch mobile app, which analyses the varying photosensitive dyes’ squares to determine their UV exposure level.

Through a smart algorithm factoring in the user’s personal data - phototype, skin type, location and weather data - the app generates essential information on what behaviours to adopt and what protection to apply.