It starts with sunscreen (and we have some great options for you). Then a big hat. Extra points for UPF clothing. What else can you do to safeguard your skin? A lot.
In the sun-protection constitution, we hold these truths to be self-evident: that everyone should wear broadspectrum sunscreen on their face, neck, chest, and hands every day; that you need to reapply it every two hours when outdoors; and that whatever you do to shield your skin from direct sunlight is a good thing. These principles are common knowledge—as is the startling stat that UV exposure is linked to about 90 per cent of skin cancer cases and nearly every form of skin aging. We go for a run sheathed in SPF 50, a wide-brimmed hat ﬁrmly in place, charting a path in the shade, conﬁdent that we’re taking every precaution to guard ourselves from the sun.
Turns out, that’s just the half of it. While experts say we’ve come a long way since the days when SPF 8 was considered adequate, they stress that staying healthy and smoothskinned is about more than just diligent sunscreen use. Of note: The FDA announced that it is reviewing the safety and efficacy of chemical UV ﬁlters in sunscreen. “For now, I recommend mineral sunscreen, which the FDA has already cleared. I also tell my patients that SPF is only one piece of the sun-safety puzzle,” says Mona Gohara, a dermatologist in New Haven, Connecticut, and an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University in the US. “We need a 360-degree strategy that takes into account what we put into our body, our lifestyle, and all forms of light exposure.” Science also has a better understanding of how light-induced skin damage occurs—and more important, how to halt it. Here are four simple strategies to maximise your efforts.
EAT YOUR PROTECTION
Obviously we’re not suggesting that you drizzle sunscreen on your salad. We’re talking about foods and supplements that may lower your chances of developing skin cancer. “We know that sun exposure damages dna, which can lead to skin ageing and skin cancer—but sunscreen can’t repair dna,” says Beverly hills dermatologist ronald moy, a senior vice president of the skin Cancer Foundation. One supplement, however, may. a double-blind study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that taking a 500-milligram supplement of a form of vitamin B3 (niacin) called niacinamide twice a day reduced the risk of nonmelanoma skin cancers by 23 per cent. “I tell patients it’s the number-one supplement they should be taking,” dr moy says. “We have dna-repair enzymes natural ly in our body, but they start diminishing after age 30. niacin helps boost them back up.” Dr Gohara agrees that certain supplements can increase your body’s defense against UV damage. she recommends heliocare, an all-natural supplement featuring a fern extract called polypodium leucotomos. “It’s been around for 15 years and has strong independent clinical studies to back up its claims,” she says.
TRACK YOUR EXPOSURE
If seeing is believing, experts hope new devices that show us just how much UV exposure we’re getting and how it’s affecting our skin will lead to better behaviour. “Ideally, UV trackers will do for sun awareness what the Fitbit did for exercise, opening people’s eyes to how much they actually get and motivating them to do better,” says elizabeth hale, a dermatologist and a clinical associate professor of dermatology at nyu langone medical Center in the us. la roche-posay my skin track UV is a mini sensor (available at larocheposay.us) that clips to your clothing or purse. It measures the amount of UV you’re getting and feeds that info to an app, which then alerts you when you’re reaching unsafe levels of exposure. “It makes you realise that little things, like lowering your office shade, can have a real impact on your daily exposure level,” Dr hale says.
Another new device, neutrogena’s skin360 scanner (currently available in the us only), takes high-resolution images of your complexion, sends them to the brand’s 360 app, then offers a detailed skin analysis, advice on how to improve your skin, and progress reports via the scanner. “It’s not a substitute for an evaluation by a board-certified dermatologist, but if it makes you more aware of the damage you’re incurring, it may make you more mindful of the sun,” dr hale says.
STAY SAFE BEHIND THE WHEEL
For all the sun precautions that outdoorsy women like us take, we don’t usually think about them as we drive, but we should. Research published in JAMA Ophthalmology shows that while the average percentage of front-windshield uVa blockage is 96 per cent, side windows block far less. This may be why over half of all skin cancers in the us occur on the left, or driver’s, side of the body, according to a 2018 study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. For melanomas that have not spread from their original tumour site, that spikes to 74 per cent appearing on the left side of the body. “I also see a lot of squamous cell carcinomas on the left side of the face and the left arm,” dr hale says. “Squamous cell is the second most common skin cancer and the one most correlated to chronic sun exposure. While it’s not as serious as melanoma, it can metastasise if left untreated.” Swipe sunscreen on your hands and exposed arms before you hit the road. For your face, neck, and ears, dust on a powder sunscreen like supergoop Invincible setting powder SPF45 ($45, www.sephora.com.sg). It layers over makeup easily.
BEAT THE BLUES
We try to stay out of the sun from 10am to 3pm, right? Well, there’s another type of light we may want to dodge—only this one surrounds us day and night, outdoors and indoors. Blue light (aka high-energy visible light, or HEV) emits from the screens on smartphones, tablets, computers, and led tVs, as well as from fluorescent and led lighting.
“Blue light rays are longer than uVa and UVB rays, so they’re potentially going even deeper into the skin,” dr hale says. “But we don’t know yet whether they can contribute to skin cancers.” Early research indicates that heV light can make melasma—patches of darker skin on the face—worse. “If you’re prone to melasma or uneven pigmentation, use sunscreens that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide,” Dr Gohara says. “These physical sunscreens block some blue light from penetrating skin, as well as UV.” That’s a worthwhile bonus.
Besides protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays, these sunscreen products contain ingredients that will boost radiance and suppleness.
1 Anessa Perfect UV Sunscreen Skincare Milk SPF 50+ PA++++ ($39.90 for 60ml, selected Watsons stores, BhG and don don donki)
● This sunscreen comes with a friction-resistant formula, ensuring that it stays in place all day. and when it comes into contact with sweat or water, anessa’s patented aqua Booster EX technology is said to “redistribute” the sunscreen on your skin for stronger uV protection. plus, it is formulated with ingredients like hyaluronic acid and rosehip to protect your skin from environmental aggressors and to keep your skin hydrated.
2 Aprilskin Magic Snow Fun Sunstick SPF 50+ / PA+++ ($25 for 18g, selected Guardian stores)
● This pocket-sized sun stick comes with a non-sticky finish that allows you to use it under or over your makeup. Just a few quick swipes would do the trick. It also contains aloe vera and green tea extract to reenergise and refresh your skin after sun exposure.
3 Eau Thermale Avene Cleanance Sunscreen SPF 50+ ($49.90 for 50ml, leading personal care stores)
● This non-greasy sunscreen is best for those with sensitive, oily and acne-prone skin. It is formulated with avene’s patented thermal spring water that soothes irritated skin. It also contains monolaurin, a sebum-regulating ingredient that keeps grease off your face without drying your skin out.
4 Estee Lauder Crescent White Full Cycle Brightening UV Protector SPF 50/PA++++ ($90 for 30ml, www.sephora.sg)
● That sticky after-feeling of applying sunscreen is a huge bummer in singapore’s hot and humid weather. that’s why we love the lightweight consistency of this one. Bonus: this product is jam-packed with antioxidants to prevent sun damage.
5 Kenzoki White Blossom Delicate UV Shield SPF 50 PA+++ (Plum Blossom) ($65 for 30ml, www.sephora.sg)
● This sunscreen comes in a pearly pink hue that brightens your skin instantly. It is formulated with sunflower extract to maintain your skin’s natural radiance, and moringa to protect your skin from environmental aggressors. It gives your skin a healthy glow, especially on days when you skip makeup.
6 Soﬁna Whitening Moisturizing UV Cut Emulsion SPF 50+ PA++++ ($53 for 30ml, Isetan scotts level 1)
● This multi-tasking sunscreen doubles up as a day moisturiser and a makeup base. It is formulated with ceramide to keep saggy skin at bay. It also contains tuberose petals that form a barrier on your skin to prevent moisture loss from uV rays or air conditioning. We love how it leaves our skin feeling soft and supple upon application. Plus points for its invigorating floral scent.
7 Supergoop! Everyday Sunscreen SPF 50 ($28 for 71ml, www.sephora.sg)
● This oil-free and water-resistant sunscreen is perfect for everyday use all over your face and body. It’s also great for mornings where you’re pressed for time, thanks to its lightweight and fast-absorbing formula that leaves no trace of stickiness behind. It contains a unique beta-glucan (a form of dietary fibre) that is said to retain moisture more effectively to give you long-lasting smooth skin. Infused with botanical ingredients like citrus and basil, it comes with a subtle fragrance.
8 Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 PA+++ ($92 for 60ml, www.sephora.sg)
● This sunscreen minimises the appearance of pores and gives you a nice matte finish – perfect for makeup-free days. It is formulated with vitamins and minerals like Japanese wild rose to protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays. We love how it blends out effortlessly and comes with anti-ageing properties.
These sunscreen sprays are easy to apply, and perfect for reapplication on the go.
1 Supergoop! Antioxidant-Infused Sunscreen Mist with Vitamin C SPF 50 ($28 for 177ml, www.sephora.sg)
● Infused with vitamin C, this sunscreen mist not only provides 80-minute water-resistance, it also douses skin with antioxidants to further protect skin against free radicals. Those who find typical sunscreens slightly dehydrating will be glad to know that it is formulated with 35 per cent less alcohol and contains moisturising ingredients to keep skin hydrated. It doesn’t leave behind any residue either. We also love that it has a leak-proof twist lock closure so we can pop this in our beach tote and never worry about spillage.
2 Sunplay Watery Cool Body Mist SPF75 ($21.90 for 165ml, Watsons)
● At the heart of this sunscreen formula is the solarex-3 technology, which combines intense hydration, anti-ageing actives as well as outstanding photostability. This means that not only is your skin cared for, the formula also doesn’t break down when exposed to sun so it remains gentle and non-irritating on the skin. The menthol infusion provides a coolingsensation that will make you feel fresh before heading outdoors.
3 Pixi Sun Mist ($34 for 80ml, www.sephora.sg)
● If you’re looking for something that also soothes your skin while protecting it, try this. Infused with botanical extracts like chamomile, aloe leaf and bamboo extracts, it replenishes skin with moisture, reduces inflammation and also maintains skin elasticity while offering spF 30 protection.
4 Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Invisible Cooling Sun Spray SPF50 ($24 for 200ml, Guardian)
● Just as the name suggests, this sun spray delivers a cooling sensation, instantly calming and soothing skin while providing invisible broad-spectrum protection against harmful UV rays. It is also infused with moisturising ingredients to keep skin soft and supple without any sticky residue.
5 Kose Suncut UV Protect Spray SPF 50+ PA++++ ($19.90 for 50g, Watsons)
● With an impressive spF 50+ pa++++ protection, this sunscreen spray ensures maximum defense against uVa and uVB rays, which are responsible for breaking down collagen fibres and inducing cellular inflammation and the subsequent proliferation of dark spots. This formula is also specially tested for water resistance and repels moisture, sweat and sebum for weatherproof protection. Its lightweight texture means it’s perfect for use over makeup and even your hair!
6 Coola Sunscreen Eco-Lux Body Spray SPF50 ($65 for 236ml, wwwbeautycandy.com.sg)
● A favourite amongst mothers to use on themselves and their young children, this sheer, organic body spray contains a water- and sweat-resistant formula that gets absorbed quickly so there’s no sticky or greasy residue. moreover, it is packed with cucumber, algae and strawberry extracts that hydrate, calm and protect the skin. Bonus points go to its unscented formula, which further minimises chances of irritation, making it suitable for those with sensitive skin.
7 Bioderma Hydrabio 2-in-1 Moisturizing Anti-UV Mist SPF 30 ($19.90 for 50ml)
● If you’ve loved Bioderma’s refreshing cleansing micellar water, you’ll love this anti-UV mist. Feeling like absolutely nothing at all on the skin, this face mist packs hydration and SPF 30 uV protection in one handy bottle. Plus, the mist that it emits is ultra-fine so it spreads evenly on the face and requires no manual spreading. We also love that it doesn’t leave any residue so you can apply liberally with ease.
8 Banana Boat BB SunComfort Spray SPF50+ ($22.90 for 170g, Guardian)
● If you hate the feeling of your clothes sticking to the sunscreen you just applied on your skin, try this non-sticky formula from Banana Boat. This lightweight spray can be applied upside down as well, so there’s absolutely no need for extra hands. It is water-resistant for up to four hours, repels sand and keeps skin hydrated, making it perfect for outdoor sports.
9 Anessa Perfect UV Spray Sunscreen Aqua Booster SPF 50+ PA++++ ($30.90 for 60g, shopee.sg)
● Non-sticky and providing even coverage for your face, body and hair, this formula is also dermatologically tested to be waterproof and sand-resistant. Thanks to its aqua Booster technology, its UV protection actually becomes stronger when it comes in contact with sweat or water. It also features the UV stamina technology, which intensifies its protection against UV rays after prolonged exposure.
TEXT VICTORIA KIRBY, CLAUDIA TAN, JOYCE CHEO & KIMBERLY
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