Fact: as of May 2018, skin cancer is the sixth and seventh most common cancer in men and women respectively in Singapore, with an increase in younger patients being diagnosed with the disease.
Experts believe this is due to low awareness of safe sun habits including seeking shade, keeping yourself covered and, most importantly, using a broad spectrum sunscreen to keep sun damage at bay.
Besides the obvious causes of sun damage like sun bathing and outdoor sports where you’re directly exposed to the sun’s Ultra Violet A (UVA) and Ultra Violet B (UVB) rays, you can also rack up sun damage during everyday activities.
UVA rays can penetrate through glass, which means you need sun protection even when you’re taking the MRT or even just sitting at your desk near a window. And walking to your favourite hawker centre is no less damaging than being at the beach without sun protection for the same amount of time. Experts believe this incidental damage adds up over time, increasing our risk of skin cancer.
STAYING SAFE IN THE SUN
While you might not see the effects of sun damage immediately, unless you’re referring to sunburn from a day out at the beach or an afternoon hike, it will definitely show up in the years to come.
According to Amanda Baldwin, president of Supergoop!: “Everything we do not like about our skin comes from the sun. So wrinkles, dark spots—all those things we associate with ageing —happen because we do not protect our skin enough from harmful UV rays. Other damaging effects include dull and patchy skin, drier complexions, age spots and, of course, skin cancer.”
To keep skin healthy and prevent the occurrence of skin cancer, it’s essential to wear sun protection every day—even when it’s cloudy or raining. The key is to apply a generous layer 15 minutes before you head out.
“A lot of people think they are all set in the morning but it’s key to reapply at least every two hours,” advises Amanda, who adds that it should be done more often if you’re outdoors for a prolonged period of time, in the water, and when you’re involved in a sweaty activity.
And it’s not just the skin on your face that requires protection; always remember to apply it on your ears, neck, hands and décolletage for maximum protection. If you plan on wearing a pair of slippers, put some sun protection on your feet too.
PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE
Even while you practise safe sun habits, it’s good to stay on the safe side and keep an eye out for any skin abnormalities that may indicate the presence of skin cancer using the ABCDE method:
A is for asymmetrical spots
B refers to border—does the spot have a spreading or irregular edge?
C is for colour, so look out for moles that are lighter or darker than usual
D stands for diameter, and you need to check if the spots are increasing in size
E is for evolving—be on the alert if a mole starts to change in any way
Take time to check your entire body, as the symptoms may appear on parts of your body that may not even be exposed to the sun.
SUNSCREENS THAT WILL KEEP YOU SAFE
SUPERGOOP! SUPERSCREEN DAILY MOISTURISER SPF 40, $55
A moisturiser that doubles as sunscreen? Consider us sold. This contains a naturallyoccurring combination of antioxidants and skin repair actives to shield skin from harmful environmental aggressors. It also has a lightweight, whipped formula that goes on smoothly and absorbs quickly.
KIEHL’S ULTRA LIGHT DAILY UV DEFENSE AQUA GEL, $56
Ideal for those living in an urban jungle like Singapore, this gel-type sunscreen is equipped with Pollution-Protecting Technology that forms a protective barrier on the skin to prevent oxidative stress (which may lead to inﬂammation, unwanted breakouts and accelerated skin ageing) caused by environmental factors.
SIGI SKIN MORNING GLOW SUNSCREEN, $58
Great for those with oily and combination skin, this has a lightweight formula that does not leave a greasy ﬁnish and even doubles as a moisturiser. It’s formulated with avocado extracts to hydrate, acai extracts to counteract the effects of UV rays and niacinamide to brighten, moisturise and strengthen your skin’s resilience.
ASTALIFT D-UV CLEAR WHITE SOLUTION, $72
Powered by Light Analysing Powder which manipulates light to brighten the skin tone naturally, this also helps to even out the complexion to allow base makeup to appear more even. A cocktail of nourishing ingredients hydrates and leaves skin ﬁrmer while combating UV damage and reducing the impact of environmental stress. To top it all off, it’s sweat- and oil-resistant so your makeup lasts longer.
DRGL SUN PROTECTION MIST, $88
Perfect for use on the go, this fuss-free sunscreen mist has a quick-drying formula that protects your skin when you’re out and about. The best part? It can be used on your hair, face and body.
BIORÉ UV WATERY ESSENCE, $18.90
The new and improved formula now contains micro UV protection capsules that are 1/500th smaller than its previous iteration. This helps to create an even ﬁlm that covers even the tiniest gaps on the skin, leaving no room for UV rays to cut through the skin.
SHISEIDO GLOBAL SUNCARE HYDROBB COMPACT FOR SPORTS, $60
If you’re the sporty type, this one’s for you. This BB type sunscreen features WetForce Technology so the UV protection barrier becomes stronger when it comes into contact with sweat and water. Thanks to Quick Dry technology, it also makes your sweat dry more quickly to keep you looking fresh even when you’re super active.
LANCÔME UV EXPERT TONE UP MILK, $75
Besides protecting your skin against daily aggressors like UV rays and urban pollution thanks to key ingredient edelweiss, this also helps to boost skin’s radiance, even out skin tone and brighten the complexion. It also scores points for its non-sticky, non-greasy and fast-absorbing formula.
SOLEIL TOUJOURS 100% MINERAL SUNSCREEN GLOW SPF 30, $58
This body lotion offers broad spectrum UV protection while moisturising and nourishing skin thanks to a blend of potent antioxidants, vitamins and botanicals. It also leaves skin with a dewy ﬁnish and a hint of shimmer.
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IMAGES UNSPLASH.COM TEXT SOFIA KIM, SMITA DESOUZA.