It’s near impossible to escape the sun in a Hong Kong summer. Here are your best bets for protecting yourself on a scorcher.
While a holiday glow used to be sought-after, we know too much about the damaging effects of UV rays to bask in the sun these days. There’s a fine line between getting your daily dose of vitamin D and getting burnt, particularly for the fair-skinned among us. Here are a few precautions to take to avoid looking like a lobster — and more importantly — skin cancer.
No surprises here — including SPF in your skincare routine is a must. Read labels and ensure to invest in a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least factor 30. Vinoble Cosmetics protecting day cream SPF 30 UVA+UVB for example, offers UVA & UVB broadband protection, while their sun protection cream for the body shields against UVA + UVB radiation, infrared and blue light.
Applying sunscreen properly is equally vital. Check expiry dates and ensure the product hasn’t been in direct sunlight or heat, which can lessen its efficacy. Apply to clean, dry skin 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours, more often if swimming or exercising. Use at least a teaspoon for each arm and leg, the back and body, and half a teaspoon for the face and neck.
Wear protective clothing
A long-sleeved shirt can protect against harmful rays, ideally paired with a wide-brimmed hat to cover ears, neck, head and face, and wrap-around sunglasses. Year-round protection is essential as it’s possible to burn in any season.
Avoid midday sun
The sun is at its strongest between 10am and 3pm, not only the hottest part of the day, but also when the concentration of UV radiation is highest. Try to stay indoors or in a shaded area during this time.
Check UV levels
Most weather forecasts provide an indication of UV levels expected during the day. Measured from 0 at the low end to 11 which is extreme, any reading at 3 or over calls for precautions such as a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and water bottle.
If you’ve basked too long, help the healing process by drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration. A cold compress applied to the sunburn can ease pain, but avoid touching blisters to lessen the chance of a skin infection. Soap can irritate sunburn so it’s best to steer clear of using this directly on the burnt area.
Applying a product like Vinoble Cosmetics after sun body cream contains aloe vera gel to soothe, and moisturise the skin beneath the sunburn. Over-the-counter pain medication can also be taken if necessary to reduce pain and swelling. Last but not least, stay out of the sun until the burn has fully healed, allowing your skin the time it needs to build a new protective barrier.
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Written exclusively for THIA Wellness by Stephanie Shiu.