The African sun is as beautiful as it is harsh. In South Africa, we get an average of 2 500 hours of sun per year, some of the highest in the world. So, when it comes skincare, there’s one non-negotiable in South Africa – sunscreen.
Let’s take a look at why sunscreen isn’t just for days at the beach, and why it should be part of your daily skincare routine.
UV – the burning truth
According to research done by the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), South Africa has one of the highest monitored ultraviolet (UV) levels in the world, which results in one of the highest skin cancer rates globally. Exposure to excessive UV radiation not only causes sunburn but also damages the skin on a cellular level, increasing the risk of developing various skin cancers.
And excessive exposure isn’t just having sunburn once every few weeks – it includes daily overexposure to the sun, even if you don’t feel sunburnt.
Sunscreen – your daily essential
The joy of a vacation can quickly turn sour if you end up dealing with sunburn for days on end. And while many people use sunscreen when out for the day while on holiday, sunscreen should be part of your daily routine. Apply it in the morning before you head out. If you have sensitive skin, make sure you get a product from a trusted brand that is dermatologically tested.
Choosing the right sunscreen
Not all sunscreens are equal. Choose a sunscreen with a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF), water resistance, and broad-spectrum protection. Ideally, it should be SPF50. SPF indicates the level of protection against UVB rays, while broad-spectrum protection ensures defence against both UVA and UVB rays. If you’re packing sunscreen for your holiday, look for one that is water-resistant.
Sunscreen and the ocean
While there is still more research needed, initial research suggests that sunscreen has played a role in the bleaching of coral reefs and damage to ocean life. So, if you are concerned about this, look for a ‘reef-safe’ or ‘ocean friendly’ sunscreen.
Not just for sunny days
Protecting your skin is a year-round commitment to your own wellbeing. UV rays are still present cloudy days. So, even if the sun isn’t out, you can still get bad sunburn. That’s why you need to make sunscreen a part of your daily routine.
We live in a beautiful country. Every bit of it just waiting to be explored. So, before you head out on your next adventure, remember to put on your sunscreen. It’s your commitment to yourself.
CANSA. Accessed 2023. Melanoma. Available here
Johns Hopkins Medicine. Accessed 2023. Sunscreen and Your Morning Routine. Available here
South Africa Gateway. Accessed 2023. South Africa’s weather and climate. Available here
Save the reef. Accessed 2023. REEF SAFE SUNSCREEN GUIDE. Available here