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Thu 20 Nov 2014 03:35 PM

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Top 10 tips to stay safe under the winter sun

As we’re out and about, we might forget about sun protection after the heat of the GCC summer has subsided

Top 10 tips to stay safe under the winter sun

Temperatures are starting to cool down in the Gulf, but we still need to keep in mind our environment. As we’re out and about every day taking care of meetings, conferences or simply running errands, we might forget about sun protection after the heat of the GCC summer has subsided.

You may not be dressed in a bikini but your hands and face are still subject to the glaring rays. Follow our top tips to stay safe in the sun and in turn, keep those wrinkles at bay:

- Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater every morning as a matter of habit.

- Gents, we are always notorious for not wanting to wear sunscreen because we don’t like the way it feels or they perceive it to be greasy. If this is the case, opt instead for sprays or gels. The higher alcohol content in these products is often more tolerable than creams or lotions. I personally use Khiels, which offers great UV protection and a moisturiser at the same time. If you look at my picture, trust me I need the protection!

- Wear sunglasses with total UV protection as eyelids and the skin around your eyes are common sites for skin cancer and sun-related aging. Sunglasses also help reduce the risk of cataracts.

- Try to stay away from mirrored sunglasses, such as Aviators, because they intensify the sun’s rays which can ultimately damage your eyes.

- Cover up your skin as much as you can.  Long-sleeved loose cotton or linen mix pants / dresses will still keep you cool but if you can bear it, wearing tightly woven fabrics and darkly coloured clothes will block more UV rays than wearing thinner, lighter-coloured fabrics. If you can see light through a material, UV rays can get through too.

- If you work in fairly casual dress, wear a hat, a cap or a visor if out and about during the day. The broader the brim, the more preventative as the ears, scalp, face and neck are particularly sensitive and susceptible to damage when exposed

- Pick a table in the shade when having an al fresco lunch or coffee

- Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours between 10:00am and 3:00pm.

- Perform skin checks regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths. If you spot any changes, get them checked out immediately.  They are probably nothing to worry about but you cannot put a price on your peace of mind or catching anything early.

- Take note that some prescription medications, such as acne treatments and birth control pills, increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. If you’re taking these medications, increase your sun protection.

If you are a parent, bear in mind that 80 percent of a person's lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18 so be a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child.

Ultimately, with the climate we have here in the Gulf, we need to take greater care than most and although sunshine helps the body to produce vitamin D and also helps to combat symptoms of depression, experts agree that there is no such thing as a safe tan.

So slip on a hat, slap on some sunscreen and slide on some shades before you head out to tackle your work day and training regime.

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