It is widely known that the best defence against the sun is to ‘slip, slap, slop’ on a t-shirt, a sun hat and sunscreen, respectively.
This mantra has been made all the more convenient via efforts by the cosmetics industry to develop sun protection that is not just effective, but easy to apply and with a pleasant look and skin feel.
Additionally, the ‘skinification’ of make-up has seen SPF make its way into many of our everyday essentials.
But what about those times you get caught out – when your eyes flutter open after a 60-minute nap by the pool, or when your barbeque lunch turns into an all-afternoon affair?
What are the damages that can be sustained both immediately from such events and as the result of longer term exposure?
“UVA and UVB damage the DNA in skin cells, producing genetic defects, or mutations, that can lead to skin cancer, exacerbate melasma and pigmentation issues, as well as cause premature ageing,” says Dr Maryam Zamani, oculoplastic surgeon, facial aesthetics doctor and founder of the MZ Skin brand.
For those suffering from sunburn, Zamani’s advice is to stay in the shade or indoors to avoid further exposure.
“To reduce inflammation and inject moisture back into your skin, run yourself a cool or lukewarm oatmeal bath; cucumbers are also antioxidants that can help soothe the skin.
“Use an aftersun product or lotion containing aloe vera to calm and moisturise the skin,” she adds.
As well as aloe vera, Zamani also recommends soy, yoghurt, milk and essential oils, such as lavender, for their soothing effect on sunburned skin.
“Additionally, vitamin E can help reduce inflammation caused by sunburn along with [ointment brand] Aquaphor to help aid the healing process.”