Protecting your skin from the Sun

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Protecting your Skin from the Sun

Are you wearing Sunscreen?

I know that this is a favourite subject of mine and many have heard me say…The Sun is NOT your friend and whilst we’re on the subject, this includes SUN BEDS.

The fact is that up until you’re 30, you can just about get away with sun beds and sunbathing but the minute you hit that 3–0 our skin changes and our melanin becomes far more active leaving us with…I dare not even say it…AGE SPOTS

As if AGE SPOTS were not enough, the sun also breaks down collagen at such an alarming rate that people from sunny climates often look 10 to 15 year older than their pasty counterparts.  Suddenly living in rainy London doesn’t seem so bad!  Don’t however be fooled into a false sense of security by our perpetually overcast climate.  Harmful, or should I say, ageing sun rays peek through the clouds and therefore sun block is a must, even in London.

Age Spots

I travel a lot for business and I see what the sun does and how skin types and ageing rates vary from sunny climates to not so sunny ones.  Last week I was in Israel, a country where people have great diets and fruits are so sweet that people use them as a snack treat.  Why reach for chocolate when watermelon is just as sweet!  Israelis are family oriented people and the Jewish Sabbath means that they completely rest one full day a week.  They have all of the hallmarks of people who should age at a slower rate.  Yet they don’t!  Because sunbathing is a national sport and they rely on their olive skin to see them through.  It took every ounce of willpower I could muster not to slap FPF 50 on random strangers heading in the direction of the beach!   I saw a lot of ladies my age looking 15 years older, but no one can deny they had a tan to die for…quite literally I’m afraid.

Skin Cancer

Which brings me to skin cancer.  Years of sun worshiping can leave you vulnerable to skin cancer.  Although skin cancer is very treatable if caught early, we also know that using FPF 50 sunscreen will give you protection that will slash your chances of getting the dreaded C.

New generation sun screens go on easily and soak into the skin without leaving a white residue or shine.  The better sunscreens will be quite pricey at around £40 but your health will thank you.  So if your excuse for not wearing sunscreen was the difficulty in getting it to go on without a white layer that made you look like a ghost, you now have no excuse.

When you’re on holiday be kind to your face, neck and chest!  Wear a hat and plenty of sunscreen.  It’s not glamourous but sun on your face will turn into pigmentation and often this can be permanent, unless you treat it with skin peels or lasers.

Excessive sun damage on the neck and chest area can add years to your complexion. Whilst some of this damage is reversible, prevention is still the best course of action.    Lasers are a good option to remedy this and can take decades off your chest but at a price both financial and in down time.   Rejuvenation treatment can easy run £1000 to £3000 and in some cases more,  so I can’t think of a better excuse to jump off the sun beds.

If you’re like so many who didn’t listen to the words of caution in your youth and now are paying the price there are still things that you can do.   The obvious one is to run and buy a good sunscreen and begin to use it religiously.  Your skin has incredible powers of rejuvenation and if you do nothing more than stop abusing it, it will love you and thank you with the gratitude of less wrinkles.

sliced-pineapplesBromelain enzyme found in Pineapples

If after the tan fades you look at your face and you see them…you know…sun damage, age spot, dark spot or whatever you wish to call them.  There is something you can begin to do straight away.  Go to your local food shop and buy Fresh Pineapple.  It must be fresh, the ones from a can don’t work.  You know when you eat fresh pineapple after a while your tongue feels quite raw and painful?  Pineapple has an enzyme called Bromelain and think of it as a meat eating plant enzyme which is a great exfoliator and can bleach melanin spots.  So before you pay someone like me to sort out your melanin, rub fresh pineapple twice per day on the brown spot.  More often than not, you won’t need to come see me.   This works a treat on hyperpigmentation from scars.  I have turned many a person away because they came to me with dark acne scars that would benefit from pineapple instead of laser.    Pineapple should always be your first point of call before heading credit card in hand to visit a professional.

Hypopigmentation

If however, you have bathed in pineapple for a month but you recognised that you need a little help from the professionals, then it’s time to find someone.   Pigmentation is a rather specialised field and different practitioner use different methods.  You really don’t need to know what laser or method they use, what you’re concerned with is the results they get.   Many practitioners use skin peels with fantastic results.  I have never used a skin peel and rely on lasers but my lasers are simply the tools I’m comfortable with and there are many ways to get results for the client.   I’m always amused when people call asking what kind of laser I use, knowing full well that the same machine in the hands of someone else is unlikely to yield results.

Seeing a practitioner

The main consideration should be the track record of the practitioner, not the laser or the peel or the dermaroller they use….  These are but tools which are used in different ways by different practitioners.  Ask questions on how the procedure will be performed and if there are any potential side effects or long term problems such as hypopigmentation.  Most of all, make sure you feel comfortable with your practitioner.  Feeling that the person that’s working on you is approachable in case of a concern should be top on your list of choosing where to go.   None of this will be painless or comfortable so feeling comfortable with your practitioner is key.

By Lorena Oberg

www.lorenaoberg.co.uk