Sun exposure is your skin’s worst enemy. It causes premature ageing, sunburn, irritation, and increases your risk for skin cancer. However, sunscreen application is just part of a complete sun protection routine. Here are diet, skincare and lifestyle tips that can help you shield your skin from sun and environmental damage.

1. Wear sunscreen every day, everywhere

Sunscreen isn’t just for sunny days and beach trips! UVA rays can penetrate windows and clouds, and UVB exposure is even more dangerous now because of the thinning ozone layer. You’re also exposed to other environmental hazards like pollution, haze, and blue light from gadgets. That’s why it’s sunscreen application should be a daily habit. Think about it: you don’t brush your teeth only after you eat something sweet or when your breath starts to stink. You do it instinctively, because you know its benefits and it’s such an ingrained part of your routine that you feel uncomfortable if you do not do it in the morning. That’s how you should feel about sun protection!

2. Apply sunscreen and skincare correctly

Many people are actually confused about the right way to apply sunscreen.

Here are some of the most Googled questions:

When should you apply sunscreen in your skincare routine? Should you apply sunscreen before or after moisturizer? Sunscreen should be the last step in your skincare routine. Here’s a simple mantra: cleanse, treat, protect. First, use your facial wash or balm to get rid of dirt. Apply skin-nourishing products like toners, serums or creams. Then, apply sunscreen as a last step.

Can you apply sunscreen on top of makeup? Usually, you apply sunscreen before makeup – simply because of formula! Many women use powders, which will cake if you put any liquid product on top. However, if you use cream blushes or eyeshadows, you can apply sunscreen on top. You can also mix your foundation into your sunscreen, so you get both coverage and sun protection. This works really well with very pigmented cream foundations!

What’s the best way to apply sunscreen, skincare and makeup without feeling greasy? The basic rule for applying any products is to go from lightest to heaviest. Start with very watery products first, then go on to heavier oil-based foundations, and save the creamiest product for last. The thicker products will “lock in” the other products, but they will also make it difficult for your skin to absorb whatever’s applied on top. Always let your skin absorb products before applying another one on top. For example, pat in serums before applying sunscreen. Wait a few minutes for the sunscreen to “set” before applying foundation. Luckily, Beyond Sun Protection has a dry-touch formula that absorbs really quickly! You won’t have to wait long before applying your makeup. You also need to consider your skin type. If you have oily skin, you may want to skip heavy creams in the morning. Use a sunscreen with skincare benefits (like Beyond Sun Protection) after your essence and serum, and then use a heavy-duty moisturizer at night.

How often should I reapply sunscreen? If you are sweating or swimming, reapply sunscreen after every two hours.

3. Protect your “sensitive spots”

There are several areas that people neglect to protect from sun exposure: eyes, lips, scalp, behind the ears, neck or nape, and hands. Ironically, these are the areas that are most fragile or barraged by the sun. It’s difficult to apply sunscreen on the eye area, scalp and lips. So, protect your eyes with UV-deflecting sunglasses, use a lip balm with at least SPF 15, and wear a hat or scarf if you’re outdoors from 10 am to 3pm. Always apply sunscreen on your nape, ears and hands. If your work or hobbies always expose you to sunny, sweaty conditions – e.g., gardening or outdoor sports – reapply sunscreen every two to three hours.

4. Wear UPF clothing

Some swimsuits or workout clothes have an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) which can deflect UV rays when you’re outdoors. However, bear in mind that you still need to wear sunscreen even if you’re wearing a special fabric. These clothes give an additional layer of protection, but can’t replace a broad spectrum sunscreen.

5. Stay in the shade

If you’re outdoors from 10 am to 3pm, seek shady areas or bring an umbrella. It’s also important to drink a lot of water, even if you don’t feel thirsty. Aside from sunburn and sun damage, you have a higher risk dehydration or heat stroke.

6. Eat (and drink) your fruits and vegetables!

Fruits and vegetables are rich in antioxidants, which can neutralize free radicals that are released in your skin from too much sun and environmental exposure. They also have vitamins and minerals that help your skin grow healthy cells and tissue, which is why they’re called “Glow Foods”. Health experts recommend filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. Aside from delicious salads, you can have fresh smoothies and shakes, or incorporate them into your favourite dishes. You can also get antioxidants from green tea or natural supplements like Crystal Tomato (find out more from www.crystaltomato.com). A healthy diet can help you strengthen and nourish your skin from within, to counteract the negative effects of sun exposure.

7. Invest in skincare that targets sun damage

Skincare and sun protection go hand-in-hand. If you only use serums and creams, all the positive benefits are negated by daily environmental exposure. If you only use sunscreen, existing conditions like dryness or skin sensitivity can weaken your skin and make you more prone to sun damage. The best skincare routine for sun protection should:

  • Hydrate your skin. Sun exposure can make your skin dry and rough.
  • Strengthen your moisture barrier. This is your skin’s first natural defense against environmental hazards.
  • Contain antioxidants. These neutralize free radicals that can lead to wrinkles and cell damage
  • Even out skin tone and fade dark spots. Sun exposure causes hyperpigmentation.

The best sun protection routine is a combination of sunscreen, skincare, diet and habits. Don’t take risks with your skin! Start today.

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