We’ve all heard the horror stories, seen the stats, and been constantly reminded of why quality sun care for the skin is so important. Yet most people continue to underestimate the pernicious effects of overexposure to the sun, ignoring warnings to the detriment of their health (and beauty).

Before we lapse back into complacency, however, here are a few important facts to keep in mind:

  The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified broad spectrum UV radiation as a human carcinogen (i.e. cancer causing).

This broad spectrum UV radiation has been linked to basal cell carcinomas, squamous cell carcinomas and malignant melanomas – which are all types of skin cancers.

After Australia, South Africa has the highest skin cancer rates in the world.

Many people are not aware of the differences between UVA and UVB radiation, but a basic understanding can guide you in choosing the best sun care products.


  Penetrates deeper into the skin – these are the baddies that cause wrinkles, leathery skin and sun spots (the round, rough patches of pigmentation).

 Make up 95% of the sun’s rays that reach the earth.

 Recent studies have shown that UVA rays cause more genetic mutations in cells of basal layer than UVB.

 They cause more damage to the superficial cells – leading to basal cell carcinomas (the most prevalent form of skin cancer).

  UVA is present all year around.

   It can penetrate through glass and clothing.


 The strength of UVB varies during the year and times of the day. 

  It is stronger during summer months and between 10am and 3pm.

  It causes sunburn (and tanning) and is known to accelerate the development of most skin cancers.

  Although it cannot penetrate through glass, it reflects off water and snow as well as other light reflecting surfaces so they hit your skin    twice – double trouble!

  Increases the risk of  hyper-pigmentation.

Fortunately, protecting the skin from these harmful environmental factors is not rocket science, and just takes a thoughtful combination of awareness, effort and the right products.

Here are some basic sun care tips to keep in mind for daily maintenance:

·         Protect your skin while indoors (as well as outdoors) because UVA can penetrate through glass. 

·         Fluorescent lighting and computer screens also emit UVA rays!

·         Wear broad spectrum UVA protection all year around.

·         Avoid sunbeds.

·         Choose sun protection with a minimum of *SPF15 that has broad spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

*SPF measures how long a sunscreen can protect against skin reddening (erythema) from UVB rays. If it takes you 10 minutes to burn without a sunscreen, an SPF 15 will protect your skin for 15 times longer – it is not necessarily stronger!

·         Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours (in general).

·         Reapply sunscreen immediately after swimming and perspiring.

·         Always wear a hat and avoid direct sun exposure for long periods at a time.

·         Remember to apply protection to the hands, feet, back of neck and ears (these areas are often neglected).

·         There is no such thing as ‘all day protection’ / ‘total block’ – don’t be fooled by misleading product packaging!

There is a wide range of sun care products on offer locally, but one should choose carefully and make sure to research products beforehand. Several new, more technologically advanced options are available to consumers that have been formulated by top international medical experts on skin care.

For example, the QMS range includes the QMS Medicosmetics Cellular Sunblock, which is a broad spectrum UVA and UVB protector and contains a DNA repair enzyme to protect and repair damage from UV exposure. This product repairs up to 76% of DNA and increases the skin’s immunity to environmental damages. In addition, the QMS Cellular Marine (Stem Cell Line Eraser) is an advanced moisturiser with Marine Fennel Stem cells that help to encourage the production of new, healthy stem cells. It also contains ingredients that treat and prevent sunspots and irregular pigmentation. The QMS range is formulated by Dr. med. Erich Schulte – an aesthetic surgeon and international authority on skin ageing. These products are based on research-led, collagen enhancing technology to create a bespoke regenerative system of skin care.

By combining a healthy respect for the sun and high quality skin care products, we can easily protect ourselves from the many environmental dangers while still enjoying lazy summer (and winter) days under our beloved African sun.



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About The Author

Paola Chellew

I am Italian by birth, but passionately South African. I specialize in copy-writing, writing press releases,editing and proof-reading . I have10 years experience as a publicist (PR) in diverse fields such as dance and theatre, art, the travel industry, fashion, lifestyle and events.I write many reviews for travel destinations, events in and around the city, theatre productions and beauty products.

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