Rain or shine, it pays to protect your skin – confessions of a sunburn victim

·Lifestyle Editor
·4 min read

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The nineties was a very different time from now. Contrary to the obsession for fairer skin in the past two decades, tans and tan lines were de rigueur then. And I, as an impressionable kid, was made fun of for being so fair that I look "transparent like a ghost". I kid you not; classic classroom bullying led me to seek a darker skin tone even though I was barely eight.

And no thanks to my fair genes (thanks, mum!), I remember two bouts of painful sunburn episodes growing up. One was when my parents brought us to the beach. I probably had a field day, playing in the waters and picnicking with the extended family. But what I remembered more was the pain and skin peeling that followed. When school started the next day, I used tissue paper to shield my face while the teachers conducted their classes. If only I had access to face masks then!

Being tanned was still very ‘in’ when the 17-year-old me attended a three-day canoeing course. Well, it appears I never learnt from the previous episode. True to my adventurous spirit, I scoffed at the seniors who wore long-sleeves, wide-brimmed fishermen hats and long pants. I also bravely declined well-meaning friends who wanted to share their sunscreen with me. And when the day was up, after a good eight hours out in the rocky seas, I was heartbroken when I came down with a high fever and could not complete the course.

The blisters on my body were much larger than these!
The blisters on my body were much larger than these!

That fever made me stay in bed running a high fever for the next two weeks. Plus, the exposed parts of my body – the arms, back, thighs developed into large areas of blisters! It took months for the blisters to subside and the new skin to reveal itself. After recovery, I had to live with the newfound moles and pigmentation on the sunburnt areas of my body. It was then that I became a fervent advocate of the beloved sunscreen. And thus began my love affair with sunscreen.

You may think that skipping sunscreen on a cloudy or rainy day is no big deal. I have no intention of coercing you into taking better care of your skin with statistics on skin cancer. However, if my personal story has inspired you to do so, do take note of the following five pointers:

1. Never skimp on suncare even on cloudy days and even when staying indoors

UV rays are present at all times during the day and can penetrate through the clouds and windows. That’s one reason why drivers tend to find one side of their arm and face darker than the other. The same for those who work beside a clear window. Be it a sunny or rainy day, suncare should be part of the skincare routine, applied after your moisturizer and before your make-up. Most sunscreens also perform the double function as a make-up base.

2. Give sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes to start working

Doing so allows the active ingredients to absorb into the skin and work from within.

3. Layer up rather than mixing sunscreen with skincare

Mixing your skincare with sunscreen may dilute the active ingredients and lower the efficacy of both products. It is better to apply them in layers.

4. As with skincare, sunscreen has an expiry date

Active ingredients can break down over time. Using sunscreens past the expiry date means you are leaving the skin unprotected.

5. Remove sunscreen with make-up remover

A clean face is the foundation to good skin. Because the active ingredients in sunscreen are oil-soluble (hence the sweatproof and water-resistant properties), we need to give our skin a proper cleansing at the end of the day with a make-up remover. As with leftover make-up, sunscreen residue can bring about clogged pores.

Here’s a list of quality sunscreens for both adults and kids from iHerb, Sephora, Lazada and LookFantastic. Look out for promotional codes and discounts below!

Save 20% with promo code “WONDER”

PHOTO: LookFantastic. PIXI Sun Mist
PHOTO: LookFantastic. PIXI Sun Mist

PIXI Sun Mist, 80ml, S$32.50

Save 20% with promo code “WONDER”

PHOTO: LookFantastic. Eucerin® Sun Allergy Protection Sun Creme-Gel 50 High, 150ml
PHOTO: LookFantastic. Eucerin® Sun Allergy Protection Sun Creme-Gel 50 High, 150ml

Eucerin® Sun Allergy Protection, S$24 (was S$35.50)

PHOTO: LookFantastic. The INKEY List SPF30 Sunscreen 100% Mineral UV Filters, 50ml
PHOTO: LookFantastic. The INKEY List SPF30 Sunscreen 100% Mineral UV Filters, 50ml

The INKEY List SPF30 Sunscreen, S$27

Save 20% with promo code “WONDER”

PHOTO: LookFantastic. Ultrasun Tinted Anti-Pigmentation SPF50+ Face Lotion, 50ml
PHOTO: LookFantastic. Ultrasun Tinted Anti-Pigmentation SPF50+ Face Lotion, 50ml

Ultrasun Tinted Anti-Pigmentation Face Lotion, S$65

Save 20% with promo code “WONDER”

PHOTO: iHerb. Aveeno, Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin, Sunscreen, SPF 50, 88ml
PHOTO: iHerb. Aveeno, Positively Mineral Sensitive Skin, Sunscreen, SPF 50, 88ml

Aveeno, Sensitive Skin, 88ml, ₱591.72

PHOTO: iHerb. Badger Company, Baby Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30 PA+++, Chamomile & Calendula, 87ml
PHOTO: iHerb. Badger Company, Baby Sunscreen Cream, SPF 30 PA+++, Chamomile & Calendula, 87ml

Badger Company, Baby Sunscreen Cream, ₱896.02

PHOTO: iHerb. Think, Thinkbaby, Sunscreen, SPF 50, 177ml
PHOTO: iHerb. Think, Thinkbaby, Sunscreen, SPF 50, 177ml

Thinkbaby, Sunscreen, SPF 50, 177ml, ₱885.47

PHOTO: Sephora. Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++
PHOTO: Sephora. Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 40 PA+++

Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen, ₱2,050

PHOTO: Lazada. Sunscreen Spray Unisex UV Protection Moisturizing
PHOTO: Lazada. Sunscreen Spray Unisex UV Protection Moisturizing

(BUY 1 TAKE 1) Sunscreen Spray, ₱97.02 (was ₱199)

PHOTO: Lazada. AHC Natural Perfection Double Suncare Shield Stick 14g [SPF/Brightening/Wrinkles Care]
PHOTO: Lazada. AHC Natural Perfection Double Suncare Shield Stick 14g [SPF/Brightening/Wrinkles Care]

AHC Suncare Shield Stick, ₱939 (was ₱1,249)

Suncare on Lazada

Suncare on iHerb

Sunscreen from Sephora

Suncare on LookFantastic

Input “WONDER” and take advantage of LookFantastic’s sitewide 20% off (exclusions apply). Also, get up to 35% off when you use promo code “BACK”. Key in promo code “BACK342” for 3 for 2 deals on LookFantastic.

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