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Staying Safe in the Sun

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Summer has officially come to Hong Kong and it is time to go out and enjoy the heat! But before you reach for your bikini and towel, it is worth taking a closer look at the sunscreen you are using. We all want to be protected from harmful rays however some sunscreen contains damaging chemicals that can actually do more harm than good and even increase the chances of skin damage. To help put your mind at rest, we've created a handy guide to staying safe and chemical free in the sun.

What to avoid

For starters, look for a sunscreen product with broad spectrum protection. This means that you will be protected from both UVA rays, which cause premature skin aging and damage and UVB rays that cause sunburn.

Sun protection factor (SPF) on the other hand, is a bit of a numbers game. While opting for a high factor appears to be most sensible, it can tempt you to stay out in the sun for longer. What's more, studies have also shown that sunscreen's effectiveness plateaus after 50 SPF and will also cost you more money. It is best to opt for a product with 15 - 50 SPF and reapply regularly.  We recommend ECO Tan's SPF 30 Natural Sunscreen, it works and smells heavenly of coconut!

Once you have selected your broad spectrum protection product with the right SPF, you will need to check the label carefully to ensure there are no nasty chemicals lurking within. The ingredients to watch out for include oxybenzone, dioxybenzone and butylmethoxydibenzoylmethane, which can irritate skin and even break down the body's natural defense against sunlight. Oxybenzone in particular is a synthetic estrogen that can affect hormones.

Sadly, it doesn't end there... Chemicals known as cinnamates, including cinoxate, octocrylene and octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC) are also skin irritants and should be avoided. In fact, a New Scientist study recently showed that cinnamates can cause cells to die prematurely. Definitely not something worth risking!

Other ingredients worth avoiding are retinyl palmitate, retinol or Vitamin A. This may come as a surprise to some but while Vitamin A is great for the body, applying it to the skin may not be. In fact US government data shows that lesions and tumours develop quicker on skin affected by heavy use of Vitamin A creams.

Top five tips for staying sun safe

Now that you've selected the right sunscreen, it's time to take note of our top five safe sunning tips. Pen and paper at the ready!

  • 1. Cover up: As well as wearing sun protection products, be sure to wear the right clothes - wide brim hats, long trousers and long sleeves where possible.
  • 2. Cream up: Research shows that creams tend to offer more all over protection for skin compared with sprays.
  • 3.Timing matters: As the old saying goes... only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, so you shouldn't either! Try to go out after 4pm or before 10am.
  • 4. Find shade: You can still enjoy the sunshine from the protection of the shade, so try to picnic under a tree, grab an umbrella for the beach and get the gazebo out for BBQ's.
  • 5. Apply and reapply: When applying sunscreen be sure to use about two ounces of lotion which is approximately a shot glass full and reapply regularly, especially after swimming.

Now go out and enjoy the sun safely!


About Us

At Nature and the City our range of harsh chemicals-free products is the perfect antidote to your busy life, restoring your skin’s health and improving overall well-being. It’s time to leave the city and get back to nature! We are also a distributor of ECO Tan and ECO by Sonya in Hong Kong.


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