Life made simple

Hang onto your hats, sunny girls and boys.

A bit of sun feels good – but don’t get too much.

Today, we’re more aware than ever of the dangers of sun exposure. Just a few decades ago, perhaps when you were a kid, ‘sun cream’ was just sun cream. There was no protection factor. If anything, its purpose was to make you ‘tan’ faster.

Way back in the old days, in 17th Century Europe, a pale complexion was considered an indication of high status, because it suggested a life of indoor luxury as opposed to outdoor manual labour. (Perhaps that’s why the powdery white faces of that era were so popular?)

But from the mid 20th century, a golden tan became the ultimate status symbol for fair-skinned people.  Thankfully that’s changed, and we now appreciate the beauty of all skin tones, from milky white to mahogany.

However, it’s not just paler skins that are at risk.

This message from   “It is important to take note of the fact that everyone, regardless of racial or ethnic group, is at risk of getting skin cancer. Although people with darker skins are less susceptible, because their skin contains more natural melanin that protects against sun damage, everyone is at risk from the harsh African sun.

A serious case of blistering sunburn in childhood increases your risk of skin cancer later in life, so take extra care of children when they’re out in the sun.

We all want to get a bit of sun – but take care out there, and keep well covered.

So here are just a few reminders:

You’re not safe in the shade. Even under an umbrella, use a sunblock – and a hat.
Don’t get sun exposure between 10am and 2pm – and always use an SFP of 30 or higher.

Imagine if everyone in South Africa stuck to that rule. It’s hard to imagine deserted summer beaches at midday.

Dermatologists have also warned us not to assume that sunscreen will provide total protection, even those with an S.P.F. rating of 30 or higher. Apparently most of us are not using  enough use sunscreen to stay safe, and we don’t reapply it often enough.

Just stay out of the sun, they say, especially around midday and keep your skin under cover  when you absolutely have to be in the sun.

We all want to get a bit of sun – but take care out there, and keep well covered.

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