Yeh, yeh…We’ve heard it like a gazillion times: Anti-aging in a word = Sun Protection.

But probably nothing packs a bigger punch than a good picture evidence to demonstrate to diehard sun worshippers what Apollo’s mighty rays are truly capable of.

Published in The New England Journal of Medicine recently was an unfortunate case of  unilateral dermatoheliosis in a 69 year old man who has been a truck driver for 28 years.

Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays transmitted through the window glass has caused chronic photodamage on the left (driver’s) side of his face, with marked wrinkling, thickening and nodularity of the skin, as well as obvious sagging due to destruction of elastic fibers.






Sunscreen is your No. 1 weapon against harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Before you run out to grab a SPF 100 at the stores, get sun savvy with these SKIN tips to help you outsmart the sun like a pro.


SKIN TIP #1: Decode the Labels

UVB rays cause responsible for sunburns, while UVA rays are primarily responsible for skin aging (the wrinkling, leathering, sagging and brown spots). And both can contribute to skin cancer. So it’s crucial that your sunscreen fend you against both (i.e broad spectrum coverage). Herein lies the catch: The SPF (sun protection factor) number indicated on a sunscreen only refers to the product’s UVB protective capacity, not UVA.

Doctors generally advise a SPF 30 and above to ensure sufficient UVB protection (as most of us apply less product than recommended). And look out for the PA (Protection Factor of UVA) grading as wella PA+++ will block out UVA better than a PA+.

More quality brands are fortifying their sunscreens with antioxidants (such as vitamins C & E, idebenone and green tea extract) to enhance the defense level. Hence, you may notice EPF (Environmental Protection Factor) on the label, a rating of the antioxidant’s ability to ward off UV rays and free radicals.


SKIN TIP #2: Beware of Common Loopholes

If only you slathered sunscreen using the backs of your hands instead of your palms, they wouldn’t look a decade older than your cheeks. Other oft-neglected spots include around the eyes, lips (pass the lip balm with SPF, please), decollete, back of the neck, legs and tops of the feet, and hair parting (if you’re under direct sun for long).

It will be best to coat yourself before putting on your clothes to avoid missing a spot. Slather on a shot glass worth of sunscreen on your body and another teaspoon worth for your face.

Also bear in mind that the SPF needs a good 20 minutes to sink in before your skin is completely protected from UV rays.

As shown in this case, glass looks as transparent to UVA (your skin-emy numero uno) as it does to you – so cover up even if you’re on your 30-minute morning commute or at your desk.


SKIN TIP #3: Never Rely on Makeup

While it may be tempting to skip the sunscreen in your morning routine when the letters “SPF” are written on your compact foundation, know this: You may need to pile on 14 times the amount of powder you would normally use!

However, it’ll be a brilliant idea to pat on the powder SPF over your makeup to power up your protection (and keep you looking perfect) before heading out for lunch.


SKIN TIP #4: Accessorise Against Aging

Accessories are not just a fashion statement. They can be important arsenal against aging rays, since no sunscreen will give you 100% protection.

Try wraparound sunglasses to protect your peepers while looking smoldering hot (choose quality ones that provide high UVA and UVB protection). Wide-brimmed hats can be a chic way to shield off renegade rays from your scalp, face and neck. Most caps will only shade you up to the tip of your nose. Scarves and dark-coloured sleeved clothings (especially tight-woven fabrics) will give your neck and body that added sun protection.


SKIN TIP #5: Fight the Sun from Inside Out

Taking supplements like Heliocare Dietary Supplement for Skin that contain fern extract (Polypodium Leucotomos) can boost your UV-resistance and reduce UV-induced inflammation post-exposure.

Orange-red foods like tomatoes, watermelon and grapefruit aren’t only colourful favourites for summer, but are packed with lycopene (a carotenoid antioxidant) to guard you against sun damage and give your skin a delicious glow.

Like clothes and accessories, these do not replace religious sunscreen usage. But they will form a valuable second line of defense in addition to your SPF vanguard, especially in hard-to-reach areas like the back.


– By Claudia Lin