We all long for hot, summer days and it can be tempting to throw caution to the wind when that first ray of sunshine warmly caresses your skin. But there are warnings about sun exposure for a reason and we mustn’t forget how damaging it can be for our skin.
Along with sunburn, wrinkles and moles, the sun causes hyperpigmentation which can take many forms and cause many problems.
The most common forms of hyperpigmentation caused by the sun are dark/brown spots, freckles, age/liver spots or any area of the skin that appears darker than the rest. You develop hyperpigmentation when the skin produces too much melanin. Melanin is your body’s way of protecting the skin by absorbing the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. It also gives skin its colour, which is why hyperpigmentation is a different colour to the rest of your skin.
The most common areas that suffer from hyperpigmentation are those most exposed to the sun. The size and location of these areas will vary on everyone, but the most common areas that are affected are the face, hands, neck and chest. Once these dark spots have developed, they can continue to grow darker the more they are exposed to the sun.
Whether you have developed hyperpigmentation or want to prevent it, the best way to do this is by protecting your skin from the sun. You can do this in many ways, but the most obvious is to avoid being in direct sunlight for long periods of time. You can do this by sitting in the shade (especially between 11:30am and 3pm, as this is when the sun is at its hottest) and by covering up as much as possible.
Covering up in hot weather might sound like a nightmare, but you don’t have to go overboard. Wearing light fabrics to cover key areas like your chest or legs will help keep you protected and cool. You should also start wearing a hat (preferably with a wide brim) to protect your scalp and face.
On top of these precautions, you should also wear an SPF every day. If your skin has already been damaged by the sun, you need to take extra care to stop the condition from worsening but it also works as a preventative measure for those who want to avoid hyperpigmentation altogether.
A good, broad spectrum SPF is essential, preferably with a minimum of SPF30. For your face, try the SkinCeuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defense SPF50, which not only provides high sun protection but adds a sheer tint to the skin, giving you some coverage when you are on the beach. If you are worried about looking shiny or greasy, the Susan Posnick Brush On Block SPF30 is a mineral powder that is sweat and water resistant, making it great for children too.
You can also top up your sun protection from the inside with the Heliocare Oral Capsules. Take one a day in the run up to your holiday and two a day while you’re there, to help guard skin from dangerous UVA rays.
For your body, cover yourself in the Jan Marini Body Block SPF 30. This oil-free, full-spectrum sunscreen incorporates the most advanced sun blocking substances with a waterproofing agent that ensures continuous coverage throughout your day at the beach.
So don’t think you have to live your life in the dark if you have hyperpigmentation. Just ensure that your skin is protected in the best possible way and take extra care when you are in the sun.
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