UAE: 5 tips to protect your skin from the scorching summer sun

Excess of ultraviolet exposure causes sunburn and is harmful for health, says doctors



File photo
File photo
by

Ashwani Kumar

Published: Fri 12 Aug 2022, 4:34 PM

Last updated: Fri 12 Aug 2022, 4:37 PM

As we move into the warmer months of the year and given the widespread misconceptions around best practices to maintain healthy skin, Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA) medical expert shares tips on how to prevent skin damage and continue healthy habits when protecting the body’s largest organ.

“With global warming and steadily rising temperatures becoming more evident, it is crucial to be aware that sun exposure is now posing an even greater threat to skin health than it did in previous years. While some sun exposure can be beneficial for generating vitamin D and improved moods, an excess of ultraviolet exposure can seriously harm our skin,” Dr Noaf Saif Al Mahmood, dermatology specialist at SEHA’s Ambulatory Healthcare Services, told Khaleej Times.

Supplied photo
Supplied photo

The mercury has mostly remained above 45 degrees Celsius and crossed the dreaded 50 degrees this month. Dr Noaf provides five tips to protect your skin from sun damage, including how to use sunscreen and moisturiser, and staying hydrated, among others.

  1. Prevent sunburns: Avoid direct exposure to the sun. Make sure to stay out of the sun during peak hours, between 10am and 4pm. If you need to be outdoors during those hours, make sure to stay in a shaded area, and to wear a wide brim hat, UV protected sunglasses and use broad-spectrum sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher. Sunscreen needs to be applied 15-30 minutes before sun exposure to form a protective film over the skin and needs to be reapplied every 2 hours when outdoors.
  2. Avoid recreational tanning: Outdoor tanning is becoming more popular among Middle Eastern youth. This trend can lead to premature skin aging. People who actively tan are more likely to develop wrinkles, sunspots, melisma (a skin condition) and are at a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
  3. Keep moisturising: Exposure to the sun, salt water and sand tend to dry out skin. To make up for these strong external factors, use a moisturiser suited to your skin type after showering. It is vital to prioritise internal hydration by drinking sufficient amounts of water every day, approximately 2 litres per day for an average adult.
  4. Control acne breakouts and folliculitis (a skin problem): To limit acne and hair follicle inflammation during summer, speak to your dermatologist about choosing lighter skin products that won’t clog your pores when exposed to outdoor heat. It is best to wear light and loose-fitting garments so skin can breathe and not be restricted. Make sure to change your clothes immediately after physical activities and to shower right after sweat inducing workouts.
  5. Fight free radical damage: The more UV radiation you are exposed to, the more free radicals your body produces. Free radicals are a source of oxidative stress, which causes premature skin ageing. To combat the free radicals, you can incorporate antioxidants rich food and products in your diet and your skin care regimen.

Additionally, Dr Noaf recommended a yearly skin check-up by a certified professional to address any skin abnormalities.

“Seeking early treatment by consulting a dermatology specialist is vital in preventing skin diseases and more severe skin-related issues. With a professional consultation, your doctor can advise you on the best course of action to take to limit damage and maintain healthy and vibrant skin with evidence-based practices,” Dr Noaf added.

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