Beauty News

Stay sun-safe this summer

Dermatologist Dr Ben Tallon shares his top sun-safe tips for summer.

By Nicky Pellegrino
The weather is warming up and it's all too tempting to soak up the sun. But before you head outside, remember to stay sun-safe and apply sunscreen. We sat down with dermatologist Dr Ben Tallon from the Da Vinci Clinic, Tauranga, to ask him for his top sun-safe tips for summer.
How does sunscreen work?
There are two main types: Metal blockers that reflect light, and chemical blockers which absorb light and disperse it as heat. The metal blockers include titanium and zinc, while the chemical blockers tend to have longer, more complicated names such as oxybenzone or avobenzone.
Is there any such thing as a safe tan?
Tanning occurs as a direct offshoot of DNA damage to our skin cells, which means that any tan is causing damage and is not safe.
Are the chemicals in sunscreen bad for the skin?
While there may be some absorption of sunscreen products, there has been no evidence to suggest any harm. You may want to be more careful applying it to broken or inflamed skin.
What is the best SPF to wear?
Aim for the highest SPF.
What's the biggest mistake people make when it comes to sunscreen?
Not applying enough or forgetting to reapply when outdoors for prolonged periods of time.
Can sunscreen block pores and lead to more blemishes on acne-prone skin?
Yes, you need to carefully choose the sunscreen that suits your skin, as some products can block pores.
What about concerns that sunblock prevents us getting enough vitamin D?
While we need some UV light from the sun to form vitamin D, most New Zealanders get enough from incidental sun exposure during their daily activities. Studies show that sunscreen does not cause a problem for vitamin D deficiency.
If skin is already sun-damaged with pigmentation, is it too late to bother with protection?
It’s never too late. Sun protection is your best defence against the signs of ageing and in preventing the development of skin cancers.

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