Summer buyer’s guide.jpg

Summer buyer’s guide

THIS SUMMER go “healthy” shopping for…

Sunglasses: style and

UV protection

Would you like to protect your eyes and look as chic as a movie star in your new sunglasses? You can, as this summer those in the know say that women will sport oversized, colourful, plastic sunglasses.

“I don’t think anything can be too big this year,” says Jean Scott, vice-president of a sunglasses group designer and manufacturer in Milan, Italy. No need to sacrifice style for safety when choosing your new summer sunglasses, as the bigger the frame, the better the protection.

So, when shopping for sunglasses, get them big … it is fashionable and medically advisable.

Keep the following in mind:

•  For maximum protection, choose sunglasses with 100 per cent ultraviolet (UV) protection that blocks up to 400 nanometers.

•  Be aware that there is not a direct relationship between price and protection.

•  Polarized is a buzzword in the sunglasses community, but it does not mean it blocks UV rays. It just cuts down on glare, which is important for comfort only.

•  There is no relationship between the colour of the lenses and UV protection, so choose whichever looks best. UV protection is actually just a special coating put on lenses, regardless of whether they are pink, blue, or green.

•  Dark lenses with no UV protection are worse for the eye than light lenses with UV protection, because the dark colour allows pupils to dilate and be more susceptible to UV damage.

•  Sunglasses that do not just stop at the temple and curve around towards the ear, with either a wide frame or a lens, give additional protection for the eyes by blocking reflected UV light … and gives more room for design!

Sunscreen: spray, stick, gel

or lotion?

Whatever! This summer, sunscreen choices are fancy and fun, and some even have a touch of glitter for extra glamour. However, the important common characteristic is that they protect the skin, thus helping to avoid burns.

•  Read the label carefully; sunscreen must have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, with broad-spectrum protection against ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB).

•  The so-called greaseless lotions tend to be more substantive, as those that are greasier come off more easily in the pool.

•  Tinted and glitter sunscreens may look good, but there is no improvement in how they work.

•  Sunscreen takes 15 to 20 minutes to kick into high gear, so apply it before you leave the house, not when you get to the beach.

•  Never under apply, and reapply it frequently. Sunscreen only lasts for about two hours and should be reapplied every two hours or after swimming or perspiring heavily.

•  Remember that even so-called water-resistant sunscreens may lose their effectiveness after 80 minutes, or sooner, depending on the type of activity.

Sunless tanning lotions:

the safe summer glow!  

I’m not joking … anyone can achieve that bronze-kissed look without ever stepping foot on the beach. It has never been easier.

A self-tanning lotion will give the skin a safe summer glow. Self-tanning products will be hotter than ever this year with all sorts of varieties now available. The active ingredient is typically dihydroxyacetone (DHA), which reacts with amino acids on the outermost top layer of the skin to produce a tan colour without the sun. Look for DHA on the label. Lotions or sprays go on easier but there are a lot of equally good products, and they are all extremely safe as long as they have DHA. But DHA and the “tan” you get from it do not offer any protection from the sun. You will still need sunscreen for protection. Regardless of which type of self-tanner you choose, you have to find the right one for your skin type, as a product that may offer a great result for one person can make someone else look orange!

Try not to experiment before a major social event and, when using a new product, do a small area first.

Remember that it is trial and error and really a question of finding the right one for your skin. Then you can go as dark as you want with repeated applications.

Lip protection:

pamper your lips

This summer, smarten up your glossy look! Use sun-block-added lipsticks, as your lips need protection from heat, humidity and the sun’s rays, just like the rest of you. Look for lip products with SPF to minimise damage from the sun’s UV rays. The best protection for lips is anything that says sun block. Sun blocks that are made for lips are less irritating than those made for the skin, so get a lip-specific product as a skin sunscreen on the lips may irritate them. Get an SPF of 30 or higher and use it often, as the key is frequent application, meaning up to every two hours or so. Avoid products such as high-shine lip-gloss and baby oil, as these attract the sun, and UV light exposure can increase the risk of lip cancer.

Hair care

Hair can be damaged and become more brittle through exposure to the sun. It can also become discoloured by chlorine, and those who regularly colour their hair need to be especially careful.

Go for new products containing UV filters that pamper and protect your hair, but, above all, don’t forget to wear a hat. Hats with broad rims are stylish this season, so find one that suits you and wear it.

There is a new silicone-based product that seems to fight the harsh effects of UV rays, which can cause colour to fade and hair to break, and it also conditions and moisturises hair.

Clothing and sandals

Fashion for the feet (and the rest of us) is always more fun in the summer and it is easier than ever before to dress stylishly, but sensibly …. As I said before, there is no need to be a fashion victim to be as stylish as a movie star. There is nothing worse than uncomfortable shoes, especially in summer, and there are several problems these can create! Slip your summer feet into pretty sandals and flip-flops, and look for a wedge where the back of the heel is raised, as this is more supportive than the pancake-flat variety that might give you heel or arch pain. To avoid heel calluses and fissures, keep feet lubricated with moisturiser and make sure straps aren’t too tight as that can impede the circulation.

Check out the range of summer clothing that provides protection from the sun. For starters, it makes sense to choose clothing with a tight weave or knit, which delivers a higher SPF. Hold the material up to a window or lamp to see how much light gets through. Darker clothes generally have a higher SPF, but now there is clothing available that has UV protection already built in. Keep in mind that once they get wet, all garments lose about a third of their sun-protective ability.

By the way, you may have read about “magical”, anti-cellulite clothing including pantyhose, shorts and pants that will get rid of cottage cheese buttocks and thighs for good …  beware, it is not exactly true! “This is sort of the emperor wearing no clothes, except that in this variation, the emperor is wearing cellulite panties,” says Bruce E. Katz, MD, medical director of the JUVA Skin and Laser Centre in New York City. “It just doesn’t do anything. You can’t see any difference.”

By now you are probably surprised, and thinking this is not what would generally be called a “proper” medical article. Trust me, it is, as by following the advice above, lots of unnecessary summer health problems can be prevented.      

Bottom line: Avoid self-inflicted injuries, go shopping for fashion and glamour but spend your money in a “healthy” way! It’s easy, as this summer’s fashion wind is blowing in the right direction.

Best health wishes,

Dr. Maria Alice

Consultant in General and

Family Medicine

Director – Luzdoc International

Medical Service