WELLNESS – Here comes the sun, and it’s not alright

I’m looking forward to a break in Penang with my girlfriends next weekend. We’ll be staying at the Golden Sands Hotel right on the beach which sounds fabulous but with my hyper-pigmentation, it means taking cover under umbrella and beach hat, and avoiding the outdoors at high noon.


I’ve been using Heliocare sunblock on my face for a couple of years, but it’s too precious to slather all over my arms and any other exposed skin, so I will have to shop for sunblock for the body. The problem is finding something effective and not icky-greasy. A safer option is sunblock that works from inside. Heliocare has a supplement, but the bother is going to a clinic to buy it (check the distributor’s website for addresses – www.neoasia.com.sg)


Sun damage is often not taken seriously until it shows up as blotches and wrinkles, and by then you need to be prepared to spend a fair it of money to repair it. The problem with topical sunblock as Dr Victor Wee of Kin Mun Clinic says, “We have found that direct sunlight will go through the best sunblock in the world”, so how do we protect our skin I asked Dr Wee? (The good doctor obviously takes good care of his skin – he’s a father of 3, and a grandfather of 13!)



When buying sun protection products, what should we look out for? How do we know what will work?

When buying sun protection products, try to get one with a good SPF, preferably SPF 50 plus. Be careful of sunscreens that are too oily and that can clog pores especially if you are acne prone.

I know that everyone recommends SPF 30. However to get this level in the lab we have to slap on a certain thickness which is not realistic

So I would personally recommend the use of Heliocare SPF 65 sunblock which will give you a protection of at least SPF 30. I personally use a non-oily base and apply it often in a day without worrying about blocking my pores.


Are there foods that will help protect against sun damage, and repair damaged skin? How much or how often would we need to consume these?

Eating fatty fish such as salmon, cherries, pomegranates, and drinking green tea help protect against sun damage because of the antioxidants they contain. However, more importantly, one should avoid direct sunlight, using a hat or umbrella, especially in hot countries like Singapore.


On a supplement like the Heliocare Pure White Radiance whitening supplement, how long can people expect to wait before seeing results?

From our experience, results are seen after a period of 3 months, but some patients actually see an improvement in uneven skin tone after a month. Lightening and brightening of skin is also reported after a month. The supplement is halal certified, so it’s suitable for all.

What is the advantage of Fernblock v the ingredients used in most commercial sun blocks?


Dr Thomas Fitzpatrick, discovered that Fernblock can prevent as well as lighten pigmentation, and to stimulate collagen and elastin, thus having the ability to firm up aging skin.


How high should we go with SPF? Some friends say their doctors put them on SPF 90.

For outdoor sports even higher than that would be good provided it suits your skin. For golfers and joggers I use SPF 100! Again for the same reason that nobody slaps the required thickness of sunblock.

I also remind patients that no matter what claims are made on the duration of effectiveness, studies show that after 2 hours we need a fresh layer of sunblock again. So on holiday, jogging or golfing just have to reapply every 2 hours; plus of course your hat to cut off direct sun on your face.


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