Experts at NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) are warning to be extra cautious this summer, with ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels averaging higher compared to 2021.
Your skin can be damaged by UV rays even when it's cloudy or hazy. And even if you don't feel like you're burning, it's possible for your skin to still be exposed to enough UV light to cause sunburn, premature aging and increase the risk of skin cancer.
The UV index (UVI) measures the level of UV radiation
The higher the UVI, the greater the potential for damage to the skin and eye, and the less time it takes for harm to occur.
The UV Index corresponds with the idea of ‘time to burn’. As a rough guide, when you are exposed to an UV Index of 12, the ‘time to burn’ is about 12 minutes; versus 24 minutes when exposed to a UV Index of 6.
According to NIWA, the maximum UVI in summer in New Zealand is about 12, but it can exceed 13 in the far North. For comparison, a UVI of 8 is rare in the UK, even in the height of summer. Generally, an index of 10 or more should be considered as "extreme".
Sunburn can lead to severe skin damage
When getting a sunburn, the UV light from the sun causes damage to the skin cells. As a result, your skin becomes inflamed, red and painful. You may feel pain, swelling and itching. The skin can become hot to the touch and cause a burning sensation when touched.
In severe cases, your skin may also have blisters or start to peel. A blister is an early stage of the healing process and a sign that your skin needs to heal. Blistering can be uncomfortable, but it is not dangerous by itself. However, if left untreated or if an infection develops from bacteria on your skin due to open blisters, this can cause serious problems such as pain and scarring.
You could experience temporary changes in your blood vessels
Sunburn isn't just a skin problem, it can also affect your blood pressure. If you're sunburned, it can cause the blood vessels in your skin to dilate (widen). This can lead to an increase in the amount of blood that flows through them.
Your skin may become more sensitive to cold and develop a burning sensation when exposed to cold water or air. The same thing happens on the opposite end of the spectrum, where you may feel that your skin is burning hot even when it's not (this is called heat sensitivity). In extreme cases, you might find it painful to be touched by anything at all. If you're burned badly enough, you might also experience chemical sensitivity, like being unable to handle any perfumes or lotions without getting a headache.
Skin cancer and other skin diseases can develop
The damage of the UV rays from the sun can lead to cancerous growths or lesions over time. Skin cancers include melanoma and basal cell carcinomas. Melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer as it spreads to other parts of your body if not treated early on.
Heliocare® sunscreen and Fernblock®
Try to avoid getting sunburned in the first place and increasing your risk for skin cancer by wearing appropriate clothing and sunscreen when you're outdoors (even on cloudy days). Avoid tanning beds at all costs.
We at Corbin Rd are a great fan of Heliocare® and its 360° Mineral Tolerance Fluid SPF50 which is a light and breathable sun protection product. With a combination of mineral and chemical filters, its efficacy is second to none. It combines anti-ageing benefits, potent sun protection and skin repair actions and is absorbed quickly into the skin with a beautifully silky, clear finish without leaving any white residue.
Fernblock®, which is the base active ingredient of Heliocare®, is an exclusive standardised extract of Polypodium Leucotomos with powerful protective, antioxidant and restorative action that works both topically and orally. Its active ingredients act on all four types of radiation (UVB, UVA, Visible and IR) and prevent both their immediate damage (burns) and those that arise over time like skin aging, dark spots, loss of defences, allergies and even skin cancer.
Oral sun protection supplement
Oral sunblock is not used to replace topical sunscreen but is taken to complement protection against harmful UV damage.
Photoprotection capsules like the Heliocare® 360° capsules protect from the inside against photoaging, dark spots and other skin disorders resulting from sun exposure on all skin types. With Fernblock®+, cysteine, vitamins and prebiotics, these capsules combined with topical photoprotection, increase the skin’s resistance to the sun from the first capsule.