Avoid feeling the (sun)burn

Essentials for protecting your skin from sun damage.

It’s the start of the athletics season, which means many hours in the sun and kids returning home a little redder than usual.

As a child who grew up on a farm and loved spending time outside, I have a lot of experience with burnt skin and have had my share of severe sunburns. I tend to turn a gentle pink if I spend just a few minutes outside on a sunny day, so my sunscreen came to the office with me last week.

According to CANSA, skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in South Africa. At least 80 per cent of sun-induced skin damage occurs before the age of 18, so children should be especially careful when spending time outside.

The best way to keep your skin safe and healthy is to stay in the shade or under an umbrella if you’re outside between 10:00 and 15:00 and to liberally apply sunscreen to all visible skin.

A wide-brimmed hat and sleeved shirts can help minimise skin damage.

To ensure you don’t dehydrate during sports events, make sure you have enough water to last the entire event. A great way to keep it cool (if you don’t have a cooler bag) is to freeze the entire bottle or get one of those bottles with the freezer stick in the centre. As children we used to fill old Coke or Bonaqua bottles and freeze them, then wrap them in newspaper to keep them cooler for longer.

If you don’t like drinking water, ice teas, slushies, smoothies or even ice lollies are safe alternatives. Just avoid ones with lots of added sugar.

When you do get home with sunburn, there are a few home remedies you can try to help your skin recover. Drink lots of water (or fluids), go take a cold shower or a bath with lavender essential oil or baking soda.

Apply after-sun lotion or cream with aloe-vera to help soothe your skin and spend some time in front of the fan or in an airconditioned room.

I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me over the years.

Do you have any other tips or great remedies for sunburnt skin? Share them with me on our facebook page.


Retha Nel

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