Don’t mind me, fellow Down Under-dwellers—I’m just popping by to casually ruin your day! Before we proceed, I should preface this day-ruining news by listing a few positive things that come with living in this sunburnt country: the proximity of our major capitals to our glorious coastlines; the verdancy of our nature; not being governed by an egomaniac (*cough* Trump *cough*); delicious spreadables like Vegemite; and classic Australianisms.
It’s now time to deliver the bad news: Australian women are reported to experience facial ageing at a much faster rate than their international counterparts, with one study alleging that this could be up to 20 years faster. Crikey! Despite some methodological limitations to the study—one being that it was a self-reported, Internet questionnaire—the results are very much consistent with other studies. Our country isn’t the only thing that’s sunburnt, it seems. As inhabitants, we’re exposed to higher levels of UV radiation (which is to ~thank~ for most age-associated cosmetic skin problems in fair-skinned people), and we traditionally enjoy an outdoorsy way of life.
Let’s be real: the actual issue at hand here is skin cancer. But, just as public health campaigns centering on premature ageing were used to decrease smoking rates in women, the photoaging angle is a good way to discourage us from spending exorbitant amounts of time in the sun, which will in turn reduce skin cancers like melanoma. (Lord knows I’m guilty of falling prey to bit of vanity-based fearmongering.)
Consider indoor activities
Might I remind you that Netflix still exists in summer, as does your local cinema, the nook in your house that perfectly accommodates elongated reading sessions, museums, art galleries and the like. Indulge in these activities, especially between the hours of 10am and 4pm.
When you do go out, wear sunscreen
Unless you’ve been living under a very shady rock that doesn’t necessitate additional sun protection, you will have heard (and hopefully internalised) that the wearing of (at least) SPF 30 on a daily basis is crucial. Buy a nice one that feels right for you, and it won’t feel like a chore. Our top pick: La Roche-Posay’s Uvidea XL SPF 30 Extreme Fluid.
Invest in a beach umbrella
At my request, my mum gifted me a beach umbrella last year. I can honestly say it has revolutionised beachgoing for me. Pre-umbrella, I was in a constant battle between not wanting to get sunburnt and also wanting to stay at the beach, book in hand, for the whole day. I am now free to do both. This one is good.
Buy a hat!
Bella Hadid might have been flogging the busboy hat a lot of late, no doubt meaning it’s about to be the ~next big thing~, but that doesn’t mean you have to, too. Wide-brim hats are the best for sun coverage, and are as dramatic as they are chic.
Wear a rash shirt
Not even joking. So long as places like Net-a-Porter continue to stock chic rash vests, you can bet I’ll be covering up my décolletage on the beach (not unlike middle-aged tourists).
Words, Madeleine Woon.