Suntanning

The UV radiation over Southern Africa is particularly bad due what scientists tell us is a weakening of the ozone layer in this region.

Whilst I do think the fear-based media reports around skin cancer and suntanning are somewhat convenient and biased towards one view, there is no doubt that if you are genetically unsuited to being in the sun, have a poor diet and are a smoker, your risk for sun damage, short and long term are heightened. Added to this, prolonged exposure to the sun will prematurely age you.

We are no longer our primitive selves, adapted to the outdoors. As our nutrient status has diminished, protective nutrients such as Vitamin A, C and E as well as proetcive oils have been drawn from the skin to compensate for deficiencies in other organ system of our body. This has increased the predisposittion to skin cancers and radiation damage of skin tissue.

If you see wrinkles as lines of wisdom and character then you may be happy with the risk.

Also , don’t let the cooling wind fool you, you will get sunburn easily in any of them. Even with clouds present you could find yourself turning lobster red without taking adequate and appropriate protection. It’s the radiation, not the sun that burns you.

Some simple pointers are wise to follow:

  1. Dont try go brown all in one day. Like they say in Italian, “piano, piano, vai lontano”, meaning slowly, slowly you will go far. Start with as little as 20 minutes daily. Being more tanned confers some degree of adaptation.

  2. Avoid peak hours between 12 and 3pm

  3. Put suntan creams on before you come to the beach, they need about 15 minutes to work optimally

  4. There are some great local Aloe based products with SPF

  5. Don’t tan with broken skin

  6. Dont go for broke on your last day, ie tan yourself into coma. It would be like binge drinking just because the booze is free!

  7. Vitamin A, C and E together with fish oil supplementation are highly recommended. Vitamin A supplementation will make tanning easier. Oilive oil is an incredible moisturiser

  8. Children’s skin is far more sensitive and should never be allowed to get to the point of sunburn

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