Rear view of woman on folding chair outdoors applying sunblock
Most people should read the small print when buying sunscreen, ideally before the full force of the UAE summer is upon us. Getty

Sunscreen care: shedding some light on sun protection

"The phrase 'high SPF' sounds ­reassuring, it's true, but the sense of security you feel is false," Dr Barbara Sturm loses no time in telling me. The German skincare expert, who is in town to launch her Molecular Cosmetics range at Harvey Nichols – Dubai this week, adds: "SPF is a misleading and therefore dangerous term; a product with this factor only refers to protection against UVB rays, which is not quite enough."

The science behind UV radiation

The sun transmits ultraviolet radiation in three wavelengths: the creatively dubbed UVA, UVB and UVC rays. The latter does not penetrate our planet’s ­atmosphere, so it’s irrelevant to the case being put forth here. UVB is most responsible for sunburn which, by extension, causes malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma (what Hugh Jackman suffered from), while UVA is associated with skin ageing. However, because not everyone is aware of UVA’s role, and not all sunscreens have the wherewithal to help shield us from it, prolonged exposure not only leads to wrinkles, pigmentation and coarse skin, but can also cause skin cancer. What Sturm and other experts now know is that a product with solar ­protection factor (SPF) has no impact whatsoever in protecting our skin from UVA rays.

That’s not to say that you should ditch that SPF 30 ­offering completely; rather, as with most other things these days, you need to read the small print when buying your next sunscreen, ideally before the full force of the UAE summer is upon us. And it’s not just for those who are constantly out and about, either. “UVA can penetrate glass, so it can get you in a windowed office or while you’re ­driving,” explains Sturm. “It is imperative to use a sunscreen technology that offers ‘broad-­spectrum’ protection.”

A broad-spectrum solution targets both UVA and UVB rays. The latter can be monitored based on the SPF count – between 30 and 50 is recommended depending on your lifestyle: think commuting to the office versus spending time at the beach. The former is trickier, and requires a bit of calculation. Step one is to look out for the UVA star rating on a product's packaging; stars range from 0 to 5. This number indicates the percentage of UVA radiation absorbed by the sunscreen in comparison to UVB.

"In other words," states a report released by the British Association of Dermatologists, "[this is] the ratio between the level of protection afforded by the UVA protection and the UVB protection. Be aware that if you choose a low SPF, it may still have a high level of stars, not because it is providing a lot of UVA protection, but because the ratio between the UVA and UVB protection is about the same. That's why it's important to choose a high SPF as well as a high number of stars." In simpler terms, a sunscreen with SPF 30 and a UVA rating of four stars should fit the bill. Unless you spend your daylight hours out in the desert or at the beach. In that case, not only should you invest in SPF 50 and five stars, but also be very conscientious about application and reapplication.

Application tips   

The recommended amount of sunscreen works out to about 2 milligrams per square centimetre of your skin's surface. For optimum protection to the face, the amount needed would cover the palm of your hand. "Most people are quite good at slathering products on their faces, but tend to miss the neck and ear area, which then become prone to carcinogenic nodules," says dermatologist Anita Hiranandani. "And even if you're wearing a pair of shorts or a top with sleeves, it's best to use sunscreen all over the body, not just on the exposed bits." Apply the product 20 minutes before you step out, so it has adequate time to create a barrier shield, and reapply every two hours if you're under the sun for that long. "If you are outside a lot, it is critical, especially in a strong-sun location like the UAE, to reapply a broad-spectrum sunscreen regularly, particularly after sweating or swimming," says Sturm.

“Even certain fabrics can diminish the impact the cream has on the skin. It also depends on what time of the day you are outside – the sun is 150 times stronger at noon than in the morning or evening,” she adds.

She’s not a fan of moisturisers or make-up that claim to double up as sunscreen. “Active UV filters and active skincare ingredients sitting in a product together degrade the effectiveness of both. I would always use sunscreen separately. It is safer to apply the skincare first, wait a few minutes for absorption, and then apply make-up. This way you have the full protective effect, without the mineral oils of the cosmetics to clog your pores, and you don’t smudge your make-up,” she explains.

Even the most effective sunscreen, however, is unlikely to offer full protection under the direct glare of the sun. It needs to be complemented by clothing, sunglasses, caps and umbrellas. Dr Lanalle Dunn, founder of Jumeirah's Chiron Clinic, suggests rash-guard apparel, which blocks UV rays. She adds: "Stay away from chemically laden sunscreens – those that include parabens, oxybenzone, octinoxate and titanium dioxide."

Read more:

New Dubai abaya lets sunlight in to tackle Vitamin D deficiency

‘Toxic’ sunscreen warning after study finds chemical reaction with chlorine in pools

Mothers in UAE find choosing sunscreen is a conundrum

Do sunscreens do more harm than good?


Sunscreen pollution 

Sunscreen pollution is another reason to avoid strong chemicals. Many activists are now pushing to ban products made up of marine-life-harming oxybenzone and octinoxate. According to Lisa Bishop, president of the Friends of Hanauma Bay organisation: "When people put these two chemicals on and they come into the ocean, the product washes off and stays floating in the water, and the corals are being killed by it." Some eco-friendly brands that come highly recommended include Colorescience, NYDG Skincare, La Roche-Posay, Dr Hauschka and Molecular Cosmetics, which carries photostable Sun Drops.

To tan or not to tan

Both types of UV radiation contribute to skin tanning, a condition actively and, research would suggest, insensibly sought out by hordes of people. A tan by any other name is damaged skin, according to the report by the British Association of Dermatologists. The skin is made up of a pigment called melanin, which gives our skin its natural colour. Exposure to sunlight causes an increase in the production of melanin that absorbs more UV radiation, causing the skin to become darker, usually temporarily. “A tan is actually a sign that the skin has been damaged and is trying to protect itself,” ­suggests the report. 

“This is not to say that one should avoid the sun completely,” cautions Dunn. “­Research shows that non- smokers who avoided the sun had a life ­expectancy similar to smokers in the highest sun exposure group, indicating that avoidance is a risk factor for death of a similar magnitude as smoking. The cardio­protective benefits of sun exposure are partly due to nitric oxide, which aids in lowering blood pressure. Nitric oxide is only released into the bloodstream with direct sunlight exposure and not with simply taking Vitamin D supplementation.”

Tanned or otherwise ­damaged skin can be treated by getting skin ­treatments such as hydrating facials, radiofrequency to tighten the skin, ­photodynamic therapy and fractional laser treatments. However, these should be looked upon as more prevention than cure. When it comes to avoiding sun damage, a daily threat, your first port of call should be an effective ­sunscreen – one that's about more than just SPF; it's a ­product that needs research and responsible usage. After all, if Wolverine had to battle cancer six times, there's no guarantee that any of us is immune to it.


Developer: FuturLab
Publisher: Square Enix Collective
Console: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4 & 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC
Rating: 4/5

Fixture and table

UAE finals day: Friday, April 13 at Rugby Park, Dubai Sports City

  • 3pm, UAE Conference: Dubai Tigers v Sharjah Wanderers
  • 6.30pm, UAE Premiership: Dubai Exiles v Abu Dhabi Harlequins


UAE Premiership – final standings

  1. Dubai Exiles
  2. Abu Dhabi Harlequins
  3. Jebel Ali Dragons
  4. Dubai Hurricanes
  5. Dubai Sports City Eagles
  6. Abu Dhabi Saracens
Look Both Ways

Director: Wanuri Kahiu
Stars: Lili Reinhart, Danny Ramirez, David Corenswet, Luke Wilson, Nia Long
Rating: 3/5

Aayan’s records

Youngest UAE men’s cricketer
When he debuted against Bangladesh aged 16 years and 314 days, he became the youngest ever to play for the men’s senior team. He broke the record set by his World Cup squad-mate, Alishan Sharafu, of 17 years and 44 days.

Youngest wicket-taker
After taking the wicket of Bangladesh’s Litton Das on debut in Dubai, Aayan became the youngest male cricketer to take a wicket against a Full Member nation in a T20 international.

Youngest in T20 World Cup history?
Aayan does not turn 17 until November 15 – which is two days after the T20 World Cup final at the MCG. If he does play in the competition, he will be its youngest ever player. Pakistan’s Mohammed Amir, who was 17 years and 55 days when he played in 2009, currently holds the record.

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).

Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

In-demand jobs and monthly salaries
  • Technology expert in robotics and automation: Dh20,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Energy engineer: Dh25,000 to Dh30,000 
  • Production engineer: Dh30,000 to Dh40,000 
  • Data-driven supply chain management professional: Dh30,000 to Dh50,000 
  • HR leader: Dh40,000 to Dh60,000 
  • Engineering leader: Dh30,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Project manager: Dh55,000 to Dh65,000 
  • Senior reservoir engineer: Dh40,000 to Dh55,000 
  • Senior drilling engineer: Dh38,000 to Dh46,000 
  • Senior process engineer: Dh28,000 to Dh38,000 
  • Senior maintenance engineer: Dh22,000 to Dh34,000 
  • Field engineer: Dh6,500 to Dh7,500
  • Field supervisor: Dh9,000 to Dh12,000
  • Field operator: Dh5,000 to Dh7,000

Director: Jim Strouse

Stars: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Sam Heughan, Celine Dion

Rating: 2/5

Armies of Sand

By Kenneth Pollack (Oxford University Press)


Through Her Lens: The stories behind the photography of Eva Sereny

Forewords by Jacqueline Bisset and Charlotte Rampling, ACC Art Books


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The National Archives, Abu Dhabi

Founded over 50 years ago, the National Archives collects valuable historical material relating to the UAE, and is the oldest and richest archive relating to the Arabian Gulf.

Much of the material can be viewed on line at the Arabian Gulf Digital Archive -


Director: Inas Halabi

Starring: Nijmeh Hamdan, Kamal Kayouf, Sheikh Najib Alou

Rating: 4/5

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

Sweet Tooth

Creator: Jim Mickle
Starring: Christian Convery, Nonso Anozie, Adeel Akhtar, Stefania LaVie Owen
Rating: 2.5/5

UAE central contracts

Full time contracts

Rohan Mustafa, Ahmed Raza, Mohammed Usman, Chirag Suri, Mohammed Boota, Sultan Ahmed, Zahoor Khan, Junaid Siddique, Waheed Ahmed, Zawar Farid

Part time contracts

Aryan Lakra, Ansh Tandon, Karthik Meiyappan, Rahul Bhatia, Alishan Sharafu, CP Rizwaan, Basil Hameed, Matiullah, Fahad Nawaz, Sanchit Sharma


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Getting there and where to stay

Fly with Etihad Airways from Abu Dhabi to New York’s JFK. There's 11 flights a week and economy fares start at around Dh5,000.
Stay at The Mark Hotel on the city’s Upper East Side. Overnight stays start from $1395 per night.
Visit NYC Go, the official destination resource for New York City for all the latest events, activites and openings.

At Eternity’s Gate

Director: Julian Schnabel

Starring: Willem Dafoe, Oscar Isaacs, Mads Mikkelsen

Three stars

The specs

Engine: 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 with 48V mild hybrid system
Power: 544hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 750Nm at 1,800-5,000rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Price: from Dh700,000 (estimate)
On sale: late November

Company Profile

Company name: Namara
Started: June 2022
Founder: Mohammed Alnamara
Based: Dubai
Sector: Microfinance
Current number of staff: 16
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Family offices

The years Ramadan fell in May






Company name: SimpliFi

Started: August 2021

Founder: Ali Sattar

Based: UAE

Industry: Finance, technology

Investors: 4DX, Rally Cap, Raed, Global Founders, Sukna and individuals


Engine: 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder

Transmission: Constant Variable (CVT)

Power: 141bhp 

Torque: 250Nm 

Price: Dh64,500

On sale: Now

Company Profile:

Name: The Protein Bakeshop

Date of start: 2013

Founders: Rashi Chowdhary and Saad Umerani

Based: Dubai

Size, number of employees: 12

Funding/investors: $400,000 (2018)


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5

What is Folia?

Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal's new plant-based menu will launch at Four Seasons hotels in Dubai this November. A desire to cater to people looking for clean, healthy meals beyond green salad is what inspired Prince Khaled and American celebrity chef Matthew Kenney to create Folia. The word means "from the leaves" in Latin, and the exclusive menu offers fine plant-based cuisine across Four Seasons properties in Los Angeles, Bahrain and, soon, Dubai.

Kenney specialises in vegan cuisine and is the founder of Plant Food + Wine and 20 other restaurants worldwide. "I’ve always appreciated Matthew’s work," says the Saudi royal. "He has a singular culinary talent and his approach to plant-based dining is prescient and unrivalled. I was a fan of his long before we established our professional relationship."

Folia first launched at The Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills in July 2018. It is available at the poolside Cabana Restaurant and for in-room dining across the property, as well as in its private event space. The food is vibrant and colourful, full of fresh dishes such as the hearts of palm ceviche with California fruit, vegetables and edible flowers; green hearb tacos filled with roasted squash and king oyster barbacoa; and a savoury coconut cream pie with macadamia crust.

In March 2019, the Folia menu reached Gulf shores, as it was introduced at the Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, where it is served at the Bay View Lounge. Next, on Tuesday, November 1 – also known as World Vegan Day – it will come to the UAE, to the Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach and the Four Seasons DIFC, both properties Prince Khaled has spent "considerable time at and love". 

There are also plans to take Folia to several more locations throughout the Middle East and Europe.

While health-conscious diners will be attracted to the concept, Prince Khaled is careful to stress Folia is "not meant for a specific subset of customers. It is meant for everyone who wants a culinary experience without the negative impact that eating out so often comes with."

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home.

The specs

Engine: 4-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: eight-speed PDK

Power: 630bhp

Torque: 820Nm

Price: Dh683,200

On sale: now


Company name: Revibe
Started: 2022
Founders: Hamza Iraqui and Abdessamad Ben Zakour
Based: UAE
Industry: Refurbished electronics
Funds raised so far: $10m
Investors: Flat6Labs, Resonance and various others

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE


Januzaj's club record

Manchester United 50 appearances, 5 goals

Borussia Dortmund (loan) 6 appearances, 0 goals

Sunderland (loan) 25 appearances, 0 goals

Turning waste into fuel

Average amount of biofuel produced at DIC factory every month: Approximately 106,000 litres

Amount of biofuel produced from 1 litre of used cooking oil: 920ml (92%)

Time required for one full cycle of production from used cooking oil to biofuel: One day

Energy requirements for one cycle of production from 1,000 litres of used cooking oil:
▪ Electricity - 1.1904 units
▪ Water- 31 litres
▪ Diesel – 26.275 litres


Main card

Robert Whittaker defeated Ikram Aliskerov via knockout (Round 1)
Alexander Volkov def Sergei Pavlovich via unanimous decision
Kelvin Gastelum def Daniel Rodriguez via unanimous decision
Shara Magomedov def Antonio Trocoli via knockout (Round 3)
Light heavyweight:
Volkan Oezdemir def Johnny Walker via knockout (Round 1)
Preliminary Card

Nasrat Haqparast def Jared Gordon via split decision
Felipe Lima def Muhammad Naimov via submission (Round 3)
Rinat Fakhretdinov defeats Nicolas Dalby via split decision
Muin Gafurov def Kang Kyung-ho via unanimous decision
Light heavyweight:
Magomed Gadzhiyasulov def Brendson Ribeiro via majority decision
Chang Ho Lee def Xiao Long via split decision

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