Chill factor: Look sizzling

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In this sultry weather, dressing up in body-hugging clothes may not be good for your health.

Instead, wear something light and loose-fitting to stay well ventilated, says Dr Wong Soon Tee, medical director and consultant dermatologist at Assurance Skin, Laser & Aesthetics.

He also suggests wearing brightly coloured clothing as bright colours can reflect heat and absorb ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

Exposure to UV light can lead to acute sunburn in the short term, and pigmentation, freckles, wrinkles and skin cancer in the long term, says Dr Wong.

So cover up as much as possible or stay indoors if possible.

Dr Georgia Lee from TLC Lifestyle Practice, who specialises in aesthetic medicine, suggests wearing clothes made of fabrics that dry quickly. This material is often used in sportswear.

She says: "They are made of a special weave which creates space for ventilation and pulls the moisture away from the body."

Moisture tends to make a fabric less protective against UV radiation.

She adds: "Fabrics soaked with perspiration and in prolonged contact with the skin increases the risk of heat-induced skin irritation and body acne."

Dr Eileen Tan, a dermatologist at Mount Elizabeth Novena Hospital, suggests wearing sun-protection clothing which comes with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) label.

This is a rating system used to gauge a fabric's effectiveness to block ultraviolet rays.

For example, a shirt with a UPF of 50 allows just 1/50th of the sun's UV rays to reach the skin. For effective sun protection, choose garments with a UPF of at least 30, says Dr Tan.

Fashion labels such as Uniqlo carry this type of sun-protection clothing.

Doctors also advise applying sunscreen diligently, even if you are indoors. Says Dr Lee: "As long as there are windows, there will be UV radiation in the day."

A suncreen with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 15 is sufficient for use indoors, but a suncreen with SPF 30 is needed when outdoors, she adds.

Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours or whenever you perspire heavily.

She adds that a sun-protection mist should be sprayed on the face and it is best not to wear any make-up.

"In this weather, it would be difficult for make-up to stay matt and well blended and not cause clogged pores."

When the temperature goes up, skin pores tend to open up to allow perspiration to flow out.

If you wear make-up, the moisture secreted by the pores may cause the make-up to become cakey as the skin cools, and it will get trapped in the pores.

This can lead to bigger skin problems such as acne.

But if you must wear make-up, Dr Lee says you should choose make-up with SPF and use a water- based sun-protection mist on the face rather than an oil-based one to allow for easy touch-ups.

Lea Wee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 27, 2016, with the headline 'Chill factor: Look sizzling'. Print Edition | Subscribe