Mad Dogs & Brits Abroad

23rd July 2010

Stay Out In The Mid-day Sun…

Mary Linehan offers top tips to protect your skin

According to top Consultant Dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe, it’s quite surprising how many people reach for a sun screen… but don’t use enough. “Too thin a layer – no matter how high the factor – means you won’t benefit from the protection rating on the label,” he explains.

Nick Lowe’s recipe for optimum protection in the sun:

One teaspoonful each on face, neck and backs of hands;
One level tablespoon for the front of the body;
One level tablespoon for the back;
At least one level tablespoon for each of your legs;
Almost one level tablespoon for each arm.

Make sure that you re-apply regularly, and always after you’ve been swimming, or have perspired heavily, or have toweled off your body.

Up until now, we have been consistently advised to cover up completely, or stay out of the sun. Who isn’t familiar with Noel Coward’s assertion that it’s only Mad Dogs and Englishmen (for that read the British in general!) who stay out (uncovered) in the mid-day sun? However, according to current thinking, it appears that we should expose our bodies – unprotected – to the sun’s rays for a short time, in order that we can manufacture vitamin D. The ‘sunshine vitamin’, D helps the absorption of calcium and is essential for strong teeth and bones, a healthy heart and nervous system. Don’t think, though, that this is freedom to dispense with cover-up control: a maximum of 15 minutes in the mid-day sun, without protection, is apparently enough for most people to make adequate levels of the vitamin. If you are planning on staying outside longer, protect your skin.

We know that the paler the skin, the lower the natural defence. Redheads have a ‘pheomelanin’ profile, which means they have less in-built protection than the darker ‘eumelanin’ profile that most non-redheads have. According to Dr. Lowe, they should avoid sunbathing and always use an SPF30 – and he would prefer that they wore some protective clothing if they’re sitting around in bright sunlight. Other fair skinned types, he says, need to be careful in higher temperatures and should be okay with factors from SPF15-30. Dark and olive types can opt for SPF15.

Dr Lowe isn’t against tanning in itself, although he does recommend taking it slowly, and with the constant protection of a minimum SPF15. Those who tend to go for the burn, please note: blistering and peeling actually leaves the skin more vulnerable to harmful rays.

Dr Lowe now has his own skincare collection, and each of the four products has an SPF15. For daily wear, it includes Supercharged SPF15 Day Cream (£16.99).

Lancôme’s latest cutting-edge development, Génifique Sôleil suncare, is based on a broad-spectrum multi-filter system developed to shield skin from UVA/UVB rays, combined with anti-oxidant vitamins C and E, which help to inhibit free radical damage. Lancôme’s technology also suppresses the enzymic action on the breakdown of collagen, which is accelerated by exposure to uv rays leading to loss of firmness in the skin. Génifique Sôleil Face Cream SPF 30 and Body Milk SPF30 are £22.50.

Lancaster’s new Sunsport Multi-protection Water + Sweat Resist Easy on Gel SPF 20 (£20) provides optimum filter spread protection and is brilliant if you’re an active type, and the thought of lounging around is enough to bring you out in a sweat. For those who prefer more exotic fragrance for their suncare, then Korres Sweet Orange Face & Body Sunscreen Emulsion SPF25 (£16) spray is the one for you. Sweet orange extract is a tan booster and supports the protective role of melanin, while zinc oxide provides broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.

And don’t forget the long-established brands we know and love. Nivea’s new Protect & Bronze Sun Lotion SPF 20 (£13.59) offers enhanced filter protection and even, natural tanning, while new Soltan Invisible Protection SPF15 (£10.99) is a clear spray that absorbs quickly without leaving trace and gives 5 star protection from the sun’s rays.

Dr. Nick Lowe: from larger Boots, or see
Lancôme: visit
Lancaster: call 0800 376 0688.
Nivea & Soltan: Boots nationwide

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