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Your best summer skin

We’re all familiar with the ‘slip, slop, slap & wrap’ SunSmart campaign that began in the 1980s, but now — with extensive research, development and the latest in technology — being SunSmart goes to a much deeper level, says The Beauty Depot owner Juana Vincent . . .

As always, prevention is better than cure.

Let’s start with the basics, sun protection. UVA/UVB rays are damaging to your skin all year long but especially in summer, when our exposure levels are higher.

UV rays penetrate the surface layers of the skin, causing sunburn and skin damage which results in tougher, thicker, discoloured skin, wrinkles and, potentially, skin cancer.

UV rays break down the skin — especially collagen production — in a matter of minutes. They come through clouds and pollution too, so if you’re spending time outside it’s vital to apply sunblock before you leave the house — even if it’s raining.

Sunblock comes in many forms. Gone are the days of white, greasy sunblocks. As the consumer becomes increasingly savvy, the skincare companies are delivering advanced sunblock solutions including physical or chemical sunblock, tinted lotions, BB (blemish balm) creams, make-up and primers with sunblock, and so much more.

Physical sunblockThese contain active mineral ingredients such as titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, which work on the surface of the skin and act as a barrier between your skin and the sun by deflecting damaging UV rays.

Chemical sunblockThese contain compounds such as oxybenzone which create a chemical reaction and work by changing UV rays into heat, and releasing the heat from the skin.

The ‘Cure’Let’s be honest, we have all been caught out and exposed our skin to the sun — resulting in sunburn — or the exposure to UV rays on a daily basis, resulting in the above-mentioned tougher, thicker, discoloured skin, wrinkles and skin cancer.

What to do next:

SunburnHydrate, hydrate, hydrate with anything from good old aloe vera to specific after-sun preparations applied several times a day. Your skin is going to be red and raw, so loose-fitting clothing is essential during the healing phase. Your skin may blister — resist the urge to peel off the dead skin.

Tough skinExfoliate your skin regularly to slough away dry skin, revealing a smoother, softer complexion. There are many exfoliating preparations available for the face and body, from sugar scrubs to enzyme exfoliants.

Discoloured skinCommonly referred to as sun spots, age spots or pigmentation. A skincare treatment product such as a brightening Vitamin C serum or skin renewal Vitamin A cream will help fade the discoloured skin.

WrinklesExposure to UV rays accelerates the ageing process. Lines and wrinkles are caused by a depletion of collagen and elastin in the skin. See your skincare professional to guide you to the anti-ageing products best suited to your skin.

IPL (intense pulsed light), face and body peels, dermaplaning, dermal needling (collagen induction therapy) and regular facials from your qualified skincare professional will also help improve the condition of your skin and prevent further damage.

Skin cancerSkin cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand. Please see your doctor for regular skin check-ups — especially if you have any concerns or changes to moles or freckles in your skin.

File picture
Juana Vincent.