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5 ways to protect against pigment on your next holiday

 

 

By Dr Chung Wan Ling

Photography by Dr Chung Wan Ling at Sossusvlei, Namibia

 

Ever return from a holiday with more facial pigmentation than before you left? As an avid hiker and explorer of extreme conditions, I understand the challenge to protect against sun damage while enjoying the great outdoors. Here are my top tips to reduce the risk of pigment on your next holiday.

 

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1. Book airplane seats wisely

Window seats are great for the scenery but not so good for the skin. UV rays are more intense high up in the sky. And the mesmerizing cloud cover can actually reflect UV rays and intensify skin damage – all through your airplane window! Choose an aisle seat if possible, and pull down the window shades whenever you can.

 

2. For those prone to pigments, prep early

Two weeks before a sunny holiday, I prep my face with cysteamine cream. This cream helps to prevent new pigments and reduce existing pigments. Cysteamine is very safe and occurs naturally in the body. If fact, the highest concentration of cysteamine is found in breast milk. Yes, the beauty property of breast milk is not old wives’ tale after all.

 

3. Prepare for the plane

Well-hydrated skin is more resilient and hence less likely to form pigments. So pack travel-size portions of your favourite moisturizing products in your carry-on bag. I like to mix a little White Lotus Intensive Oil with Hydrating Soothing Essence and apply it just before boarding the aircraft. This locks in moisture and prevents the skin from drying out during your flight. For a lighter feel, you may apply Stem Cell Sleeping Mask to your face. Don’t forget to bring along at least SPF 30 sunscreen and reapply every 3 to 4 hours, even if you are on a red-eye flight. Those window shades are bound to come up sometime after the breakfast service.


4. Protect yourself from the inside out

It’s very easy to forget to re-apply sunscreen when you are busy having fun. That’s why oral sunscreen is so useful. I take Heliocare Ultra Oral Sunscreen in the morning and then again four hours later on sunny holidays. For those with existing pigments, I recommend taking Heliocare Pure White Radiance, too.

 

5. Pack sun protective clothing

Sunscreen is a must, but it isn’t a free pass to sit all day in the sun. Wear sun-protective clothing in light colors to reflect the sun’s rays. For example, this is what I wear when I go on safari:
- Broad brim hat or visor
- Sunglasses
- Face mask
- Arm sleeves

 

A face mask and arm sleeves help to protect against reflected rays and slanted mid-morning and afternoon light that hits your face right at your cheeks. Ask the doctors or staff at IYAC for online resources for sun-protective apparel; we are happy to help.

 

Remember: skin damage isn’t a given as long as you prepare and pack right. Bon voyage!