We quizzed a doctor to get the lowdown on skincare in the desert
One of the many perks of living in Abu Dhabi is the year-round sunshine, but that also means you need to constantly protect yourself from fierce rays. Angela Beitz finds out how to best save your precious complexion.
Spending time out in the sun can be harmful, so it’s important to keep your skin protected, youthful and healthy all-year round instead of baking like a rotisserie chicken. We quizzed Dr. Mohamed Dallah, dermatologist at Kaya Skin Clinic, to find out how we can prevent sun damage and repair our skin.
What common skin issues do you see from people who have had too much exposure to the sun? The common skin problems which result from over exposure to sunlight are melasma, freckles and darkening of existing freckles and darkening of uneven skin tone.
What mistakes do you see people making in terms of over exposure to the sun? Sunlight can cause harmful effects on the skin such as premature aging, discolouration problems and skin cancer. These effects are seen more frequently and in a more severe way with fairer skins but people with olive complexions still need be careful.
Some people like the bronze colour of the skin, and mistakenly over-expose themselves to the sun or artificial sunlight. Other people may be not aware of the harmful effects of the sun on their skin, and they do not protect it properly. In addition, others apply sunscreen only one time during the day thinking that once is enough, which is wrong.
Is the risk of skin damage in the UAE worse compared to elsewhere in the world? A lot of people in the UAE have a pigmented and darker skin tone, which means that their melanocytes (the skin cells producing the melanin, which gives the skin its pigmented colour) are more active than in pale skinned persons. Because of that, skin discolouration problems are seen more frequently than in those with lighter skin colour. On the other hand, pigmented skin tolerates the carcinogenic effects of the sunlight better than white skin. Therefore, skin cancer cases are less.
Should you avoid the sun at any particular time? One should avoid sun exposure during the peak hours from, 11am-4pm.
How can you look after your skin? People are advised to protect their skin from the harmful effects of the sunlight by applying sunscreen product on exposed areas 20-30 minutes before stepping out in the sun, and repeat the application every two or three hours if they continue to be outdoors. Sunscreen needs to have a minimum SPF of 30+. Wearing protective clothes and carrying an umbrella are recommended.
What treatments or facials or good to have if you have a large amount of sun damage? Some treatments to improve the skin condition include microdermabraision, chemical skin peeling or rejuvenating laser skin treatment. Hydrating and anti-ageing facials will also work well if you don’t want anything too harsh. Kaya Skin Clinic, numerous locations www.kayaskinclinic.me.
Are fake tans as good as the real deal?
If you want to play it safe then we recommend the St Tropez spray at Sister’s Beauty Lounge for the perfect glow.
The St Tropez tan promises a natural looking glow that will last a week. We are told to exfoliate and to avoid using moisturiser or deodorant before the appointment to ensure there is no streaking.
On arrival we are given the option of wearing underwear or going nude and we choose the latter so there are no tan lines. We decide on the natural brown bronze colour. The therapist sprays us for about 35 minutes and then we’re left to dry in a fan for ten minutes. We’re told to avoid showering for six hours to get the best results.
The tan is not at all patchy as the therapist spent a good amount of time ensuring she covered problem areas including the knees, ankles and elbows. We look like we have a summer glow and although the process is lengthy, our skin feels better, less dried out and doesn’t wrinkle like it would in the sun. The perfect option for a nice tan without the nasty rays. Dhs175. Sister’s Beauty Lounge, 28th Street (02 222 2502).