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Take care of your skin

In December, people spend a lot of time outdoors enjoying the South African sun and often, they neglect to take the necessary care of their skin.

According to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa could well be heading for the hottest summer on record with temperatures over large parts of the country on average two degrees Celsius higher than normal.

Not only are December and January some of the hottest months of the year in South Africa, but they are skin cancer awareness months.

“Increased temperatures and changing levels of UV (ultraviolet) radiation can result in sunburn and skin damage, which in turn could lead to skin cancer. Those who enjoy spending time outdoors should protect themselves from over exposure to the sun,” warns Dr Guni Goolab, principal officer of the Government Employees Medical Scheme.

The best way to take care of your skin is to apply sunscreen daily to reduce the risk of developing skin cancer by as much as 50 percent.

Skin cancer is a preventable lifestyle disease and early skin cancer detection can be life-saving.

How to care for your skin:

  • Always wear protective clothing, hats and shirts before going out into the sun.
  • Even 30 minutes in the sun without protection is too long.
  • Exposure to the sun whilst overdressed only adds to skin distress; so do thick lotions and oils, such as petroleum jelly, which prevent moisture evaporation and therefore block pores, resulting in heat rash.
  • UVA rays pass through glass. A person sitting near a window (unless tinted for sun screening) is also susceptible to the damaging rays of the sun.

Supplied by Government Employees Medical Scheme.

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