• Nicolette Smith

It's Summer, Right?

Having just packed up my second order this week with sun care products, it reminded me to write something about them. With the weather getting warmer and more people going out to sunbathe, here are some things I think you need to know about Sun Care.

Many people incorrectly assume dry skin leads to wrinkles and that moisturisers can prevent them. Not true. Research shows that 90 percent of wrinkles are caused by the sun's UVA light and sun damage is the number one cause of premature ageing in women and men. Why are UVA rays so bad? Even at low-level exposures, UVA light breaks down collagen, which causes wrinkles. Even worse, scientists have found that UVA is the main culprit for many melanomas because it reaches deep into the underlying support structure of the skin. The truth is we all need to make time to protect our skin.

A demonstration of what low-level exposure can look like... I have Transitions lenses in my glasses, I wear my glasses all day, but of course I need to take them off when I cleanse my face, so I pop them on the side of the sink. As you can see the window is on the opposite side of the sink where my glasses are... They have changed colour, they are transitioning purely on the light that comes in through the window, at a distance! This is low-level exposure. With a window facing west, in the morning, so the sun isn't even hitting this window as it is still on the other side of the house, can you imagine what those sun rays would do to my glasses in the afternoon? Indeed, they would go even darker... even INDOORS your skin is exposed to UV Rays...

You’ve probably heard a thing or two about UV or “ultraviolet” rays. UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, and are a major cause of skin ageing and wrinkling. UVB rays are associated with skin reddening and sunburn, and contribute to photo ageing and skin cancers. Broad spectrum Sun Protection Factor (found in Mary Kay® sun products) protects you from both! Consequently, it is impossible to develop a tan without having at least some damage occurring to the skin, whilst at the same time the most important way to take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun.

A lifetime of sun exposure can cause wrinkles, freckles, age spots and rough, dry skin. Sun exposure can also cause more-serious problems, such as skin cancer. 100,000 people were diagnosed with skin cancer last year. Many people believe that dark skin is not susceptible to sun damage. However, although dark skin tones are less likely to burn, people of almost every skin tone can get sunburnt or develop skin cancer. That said, people with the darkest of skin types may not get sunburn at all as they have a natural sunscreen in their body of up to SPF13 and filter twice as much UV radiation as fair-skinned people. But, they are still susceptible to sun induced damage – such as sun spots and wrinkles.

An SPF of 15 indicates that 93% of sun burning rays are deflected, but health experts advise everyone, regardless of skin colour, to use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. By selecting appropriate clothing and applying proper sun protection, it is possible to enjoy outdoor activities in the sunshine, while still maintaining healthy and vibrant skin throughout life.


  • Overexposure to the sun must be avoided at all ages, but more so as we mature.

  • Apply sunscreen to clean, dry skin.

  • It is recommended to use a teaspoon of sunscreen for each limb. Most people do not apply enough sunscreen.

  • Don’t vigorously rub in sunscreen – most sunscreens absorb into the skin and need only to be spread around

  • Avoid going out in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you have no choice, try to avoid the sun as much as you can, by seeking a shaded spot.

  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen, which provides protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

  • A Sun Protection Factor of minimum 30 is essential.

  • Even when you are indoors, apply sunscreen. The harmful effects of the sun are not restricted to the outdoors, and can penetrate glass as demonstrated above with my glasses!

  • Apply sunscreen fifteen to thirty minutes before going outdoors to give it time to bond to your skin.

  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours, after heavy sweating or after being in water.

If you are exposed to the sun, even for as little as 10 to 20 minutes a day, which includes walking to your car or talking to a neighbour outdoors, that cumulative exposure over the years will wrinkle your skin, and no skin-care product except a sunscreen with a high SPF can change that.

Since we know we have to stay out of the sun, try using bronzers to achieve that healthy sun look glow. Match a powdered bronzer not too dark for your skin tone all over your face. For mature skin use a matte like powder. If you want to achieve a more shimmer look then add this over the first matte layer, paying extra attention to the areas of your face that the sun would naturally hit. Then try using a liquid bronzer on your body or a self-tanning lotion.

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