You may be wondering, what is sun protection and why do I need it? Here is a truck driver, guess which side of his face was exposed to direct sunlight over 30 years. If this is not a poster child for sun damage i don’t know what is.

Despite living in a perpetually sunny country, sun protection is not something that most people think about. Those aware of the possibility of sun damage may believe a dark skin tone offers adequate protection against the sun’s rays. While this is partially true research suggests that dark skin provides an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of approximately 13.4. While much better than white skin it still does not provide enough protection from the sun, especially with increasing exposure to UV rays (Ultraviolet) from the depleting ozone layer. The effects of constant exposure to sunlight may not be as dramatic as in the picture but will take its toll over time. Exposure to sunlight and UV (ultraviolet) rays can cause premature ageing and skin cancer. Although skin cancer is a minor problem with darker skinned people, I am sure we would prefer to keep wrinkles and signs of ageing away for as long as possible. There are two types of UV rays which cause damage to the skin: UVA rays and UVB rays. UVA rays penetrate to the deeper layers of skin, causing premature ageing and wrinkles while UVB rays cause sunburn and darkening of the upper layers of the skin.
The most effective way to protect the skin from UV rays and prevent premature ageing is by using sun protection every day.

 

Sun protection factor, SPF is a measure of how well a sunscreen protects your skin against ultraviolet B rays. The SPF rating is usually found on the bottle and sunscreens with higher SPF ratings block more UVB rays, however, none gives 100% protection. Since the SPF number does not account for UVA rays which penetrate deeper into the skin, it is important to use a broad spectrum sunscreen which protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Now we know why we need to use sunscreen let’s talk about the types of sunscreens available. There are two types of sunscreens physical and chemical Physical sunscreens act as a physical barrier between the sun and your skin and work by reflecting the sun’s rays before they penetrate your skin. Because these form a physical barrier on the skin, they often give a white or greyish cast which is visible on the black skin. However, since it does not penetrate the skin it is unlikely to your clog pores, is ideal for acne prone skin and effective immediately applied to your skin. Most physical sunscreens are broad spectrum so protect from UVA and UVB rays but may become ineffective when you sweat since they are not water resistant.

 

Chemical sunscreens on the other hand work by absorbing UV radiation, preventing them from penetrating the skin releasing heat as they break down. Chemical sunscreens can cause irritation to sensitive skin since they are able to penetrate the skin. However unlike physical sunscreen are appear colourless on the skin but are effective 20 minutes after application. Physical sunscreens typically contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide while chemical sunscreens contain Avobenzone, Octisalate, Oxybenzone, Homosalate and Helioplex.

 

The effectiveness of sunscreen depends on ensuring that you use it daily.


Sunscreen Recommendations

Available from Hilarysays.com, Amazon and Jumia.com

  •  Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence SPF50 (my personal favourite)
  • EltaMD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46,
  • COOLA Eco-Lux 8oz Sport SPF 50 Guava Mango Sunscreen Spray
  • La Roche-Posay 60 Melt-In Sunscreen Milk
  • La Roche-Posay Anthelios Clear Skin Dry-Touch Sunscreen SPF 60
  • Nivea Sun Protect Super Water Gel SPF 50 PA
  • Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 100+
  • Neutrogena Sunscreen Lotion with Broad Spectrum Spf100+
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Chizo is a skincare and makeup enthusiast who likes to travel and explore new places. When not working, she is browsing skin care and beauty sites looking to try new products or binge-watching series online.

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Instagram @Chiripse

If you had told me a couple of years ago that I would be rubbing snail goo on my face, I’d have laughed you out of the room. ‘Snails are for eating hot and peppered,’ I might have said. But alas, here we are. I found this product late last year when I was looking to kick my skincare routine up a notch. You see, I have oily combination skin which is prone to congestion and I had reached a bit if an impasse where my skin seemed to be getting oilier but also felt taut and dry. I discovered that my skin was in fact dehydrated, and this is something that we oily girls often neglect to notice. My oily skin was just thirsty.

 

photo source: iherb.com

 

Okay but what is this stuff exactly? It is an Essence.

Essences are basically water based, light gel textured products that are packed with active ingredients to hydrate skin on a deeper cellular level than a moisturiser can. They are very popular in Korean Beauty skincare regimens which are very trendy right now.

I use this AM and PM immediately after my toning step and right before moisturiser or serum.

 

 

If I can attribute the overall improvement in my skin’s health to any one product, I daresay it might be this. Used consistently, I have seen that my skin stays plump and hydrated for longer, which means it produces less oil to compensate and for me that’s a win. No more break outs or dry patches. It has calmed the temper tantrum my skin was throwing right down. I noticed that this has also greatly helped heal my pigmentation and scars. It feels a little tacky at first, but sinks in quickly and because it is odourless, it doesn’t feel as gross as it sounds. Once it is absorbed, I slather on my moisturiser and then my spf, and then my make up. Because it has helped to tame my oiliness, I find my make up is also staying put for longer – another win!

Apart from the snail slime itself, which makes up an impressive 96% of this product, there are some other foodie ingredients that contribute to its efficacy. Panthenol aka Vitamin B5 is famous for binding moisture. Arginine, a protein, encourages skin cell renewal which has an anti-ageing effect; and Allantoin, a compound which comes from garlic skin and/or comfrey, is responsible for soothing inflammation.

Repurchase? Definitely. I love the fact that it it not just a gimmick – it actually works!


Ingredients: Snail Secretion Filtrate, Betaine, Butylene Glycol, 1,2-Hexanediol, Sodium Hyaluronate, Panthenol, Arginine, Allantoin, Ethyl Hexanediol, Sodium Polyacrylate, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol

Product Claims: Formulated with 96% Snail Secretion Filtrate (Mucin), this essence protects the skin from moisture loss while keeping the skin texture smooth and healthy. This essence is created from nutritious, low-stimulation filtered snail mucin in order to keep your skin moisturized all day while bringing back your skin’s vitality. The filtered snail mucin replenishes and revitalizes nutrients with looking healthy skin. It’s suitable for all skin types. For best results, use together with Advanced Snail 92 All-In-One Cream.

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Minjiba is a creative African food blogger, TV cook and content creator based in Lagos and her cooking show ‘Minjiba Entertains’ airs weekly on The Africa Channel in the US & the Caribbean. In addition to developing exciting recipes from local ingredients, she is a sworn skincare addict and loves to explore products that use active food ingredients.

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Instagram: @minjibacookey

Twitter: @minjibacookey

Website: www.minjibacookey.com

What exactly is Natural Skincare? This term has been used loosely. Natural skin care deals with the application of topical skincare products made of ingredients available in nature (plant or animal derived), extracted, refined, unrefined or cold pressed. In this article I am NOT advising you completely discard every skincare product you own that isn’t natural. I am certainly not that extreme, still use my medical grade Retinols, Sunscreen, Alpha and Beta Hydroxy acids any day, when treating a skincare concerns. However, I am saying try out some natural alternatives too, they aren’t all bad and some actually produce significant results. So here are 5 reasons why you may want to consider natural skincare products as a part of your routine.

 

1. Skinfoods

I usually ask myself- What are you feeding your skin? The skin is the largest organ of the body. Think of skin and body care products as good treats for your skin and it is necessary to feed your skin right.  Most mass-produced non organic skincare products lack nutrients. This is because there are more fillers than actives. These products are intended to help boost the health of your skin or hair but they are filled with chemicals and synthetic ingredients that ends up masking any real issues you might have but natural skincare products area rich in ingredients used when formulated the right way.

 

2. Chemicals

There are chemicals in everything to be frank but what you might want to do is separate the good from the bad. Natural skincare products contain less harmful chemicals. I’ll explain, when the ingredients and actives (which are plant derived or animal based) are sourced from organic products and undergo any form or distillation, extraction or steam process to obtain the useable ingredients, they are further preserved using chemicals that would support the shelf life of these products (some ) and for stability; I consider these safe. Mainstream products go further to add more chemicals which could be harmful for the purposes of preservation or colouring and texture. For instance, parabens (in all forms), Nitrosamines, Phthalates and the list is endless, these disrupt hormones and are linked to cancer as well.

 

3. Simplicity of Ingredients

 

Why buy products with ingredients you just can’t decipher? Natural products typically have a simple ingredients list, makes it much easier to decide if it’s good for you or not. We tend to layer skincare products, from cleansers to moisturisers, even makeup, so it’s imperative that you are not causing damage by adding on multiple toxic ingredients into the skin.

 

4. Gentleness and longterm effects

Natural skincare products are gentler on the skin. Although progress and results might be slow, it is definitely worth the wait. Most mainstream ingredients work quicker with fantastic results, however overtime you may experience adverse reactions.

 

 

5. Environmental impact

We know of the pollution in the air all around us and sometimes, we accept that it is a way of life. Natural skincare products help mitigate these. I often ask myself these: Are my skincare products eco-friendly (I tend to use skincare products more than anything else). Are the ingredients safe? Were they grown with fertilisers? Are they synthetic? When it is all washed up, how does it affect the eco system and the local water supply?


Having said all this, please remember to be very cautious when purchasing Natural skincare products, be sure they’re reliable and from a good source.

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Sheila is a UK trained Lawyer and Procurement advisor at Exxon Mobil. She's also passionate about formulating and retailing natural body butters for babies and women, and blogs over at: www.youraurora.co.uk

You can find her:

Instagram @auroraswand

Twitter: @geminigirl03

Email: olabisi@thatgeminigirl.com

photosource: pinterest.com

After years of impulse buys, product hoarding and a dressing table filled with a large collection of random ‘stuff’, I realized I was a product junkie. A trip to Boots for toothpaste invariably turned into a wander down the face care aisles searching for nothing in particular but purchasing plenty. Did this teach me anything? No! Certainly not discipline, which is important in truly discovering your skin’s needs, likes and wants. Fast-forward several years and relocating to Nigeria, where Boots was no longer down the road, I was forcibly taught to simplify. During this process – I promise it wasn’t as hard as you might think – I learned a few things that I will share with fellow product junkies. You may or may not be seeing results, you may or may not really know your skin, but you certainly are spending a lot of money.

1. Simple is better

We’ve all heard about the 10 step Korean skincare regimens and quite frankly if you have the time and dedication and its working for you and your pocket, go right ahead. But for the rest of us, here is my advice. The key steps you need in your skincare regimen are Cleanse, Tone, Treat, Moisturise and Protect. I will add that my treatment step doesn’t always happen in my AM routine because I like to keep things really simple for daytime. You may have guessed that ‘simple’ is the buzz word for this article.

 

2. Learn about your skin

After all these years of spending so much money, there are a few things you should know about your skin. A few examples are, your skin type, triggers for breakouts, ingredients your skin responds to and how and your skin’s tolerance level (tolerance for acids and high strength vitamins for example). Once you know these things you can make more informed decisions when purchasing skincare products. Please note that you should use a new product for 6-8 weeks before concluding on its effectiveness, unless it causes you to break out. There is a difference between breaking out and purging, but that’s for another article.

 

3. Topical is important but so is what goes in Watch your diet!

Do your research and you’ll find that a lot of the vitamins that are good for your skin can be found in easily accessible fruit and vegetables (e.g. oranges and limes have high vitamin c content and green tea is loaded with antioxidants). If you can’t commit to eating enough of the right stuff, you should consider supplements or vitamin injections. Don’t forget to drinks lots of water, at least 1.5 litres a day.

 

4. Sun Protection, Sun Protection, Sun Protection

This is paramount and dare I say detrimental to everything else you are doing with your skin. You should invest in a really good sunscreen. This is sub-Saharan Africa and the sun is angry. Even when it’s not, don’t leave your house in the daytime without this. In fact even if you are indoors all day, I assume there are windows in your home and UVA rays can penetrate. USE SUNSCREEN! SPF 30 and above is ideal and research has found that sunscreens containing anti-oxidants are more beneficial to your skin.

 

5. Fight the temptation.

Anyone that has spoken to me asking for advice on products to purchase will tell you that I don’t advocate buying for the sake of buying. I will first ask you what you already use and if it’s working for you. So, lets assume you have followed steps 1 to 4 and figured out what works for you and you are sticking with it, then out of nowhere this new cult product comes out and everyone is raving about it. Don’t be swayed by new trends and fads! I’m a believer in, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”


 

So there you have it, the lessons I have learned along the way and the key to spending less on products that I don’t need. So, give steps 1 to 5 a go and feel free to reach out to me for moral support or to tell me how it’s going.

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Fikayo da-Silva, is the Founder and CEO of boutique beauty retailer SK Beauty. SK Beauty is an online (soon to be brick-and-mortar) collection of carefully curated products from around the world, providing effective and innovative beauty solutions for the Nigerian consumer.

You can find her:

Instagram @MySKBeauty

Email: fikayo@simplykayo.com