Pippa Lynch offers stylish ways to protect yourself from summerâ??s harmful rays on the beach or at the pool.
We as Africans understand the sun â?? it beats down on our continent all year round.  But as much as the sun can be a life-giving source, it can just as easily destroy.  Here are some stylish ways to protect yourself and your loved ones from the sunâ??s harmful rays â?? especially as we get closer to the height of summer.
But first â?? Why is the sun so dangerous?

•    Sun exposure at any age can cause skin cancer
•    UV radiation in particular can cause premature ageing and wrinkles
•    Anyone with moles should be especially wary as the sun could exacerbate that skin condition.
Hats are a fashion piece this summer and offer great sun protection

We as South Africans arenâ??t really hat wearers, but they will indeed be a key fashion piece this summer â?? from trilbies to cowboy hats, there is a style in there somewhere to suit you.  Not only will it help you make a style statement, but it can also protect your face, neck and shoulders from direct sunlight.
Wear stylish sunglasses and protect your eyes form sun damage

Donâ??t be fooled into buying those cheapie sunglasses that they sell on the side of the road: yes you might be able to save some bucks, but they donâ??t afford you that UVA or B protection that your eyes require.  Rather invest in a great pair of slightly more expensive eyewear: your eyes will thank you later on in life.  PIPPA LYNCH tip: Brightly coloured glasses will be very trendy this season.
Colours and fabrics to keep you cool

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Wearing lighter colours will help to reflect light rays â?? darker colours will absorb all of the heat.  Also wear lightweight, loose fitting clothes with longer sleeves and pants or skirts.  This will help to give your skin added protection from direct sunlight.

Tight weaves will absorb light and radiation, while see-through and wet clothing will not provide you any protection whatsoever from the incessant summer rays.
Sunscreen tips

Apply sunscreen 15 â?? 30 minutes before you go out into the sun and not as you sit on your beachside lounger. Use a generous amount of sunscreen, and donâ??t forget to reapply it every 2 hours, and even more regularly if you are swimming.

Also keep in mind that the higher up in altitude you go UV radiation increases, so take along a higher SPF factor with you.
Give yourself a head start on your tan

If you are like me and lily white, stepping out for the first time after a long, cold winter without any type of preparation could leave you looking a little translucent…  Give yourself a head start by doing a spray tan at a local salon.

If that leaves your wallet a little bare, try a self-tan at home.  But remember: these spray tans arenâ??t a substitute for sunscreen.  And please please please, donâ??t ever indulge in a session on the tanning bed: it can be just as harmful as sitting in the sun itself.
Other tips:
•    Avoid reflective surfaces: They can reflect up to 85% of the sunâ??s rays.
•    Shadows donâ??t act as good respite from the heat, rather seek out the shade (under trees or an umbrella).
•    The sun is at its hottest between 10am and 2pm.  If you can help it â?? stay away from the sun during this time.
•    Keep hydrated.
•    Your childâ??s skin is thinner than yours so get the highest SPF you can find if they are frolicking in the sun.  Children under 6 months should not be in the sun at all.
•    Apply sunscreen specifically to any moles or sun spots that you have.