This month we're talking about sun protection - as the weather hots up, it's more important than ever to look after your skin, so read on!

I wish I had a dollar for every woman I met who spends hundreds of dollars on anti-ageing "miracle" creams, but doesn't wear sunscreen every day. You're probably thinking, "Yep, sounds like me" - right?

Well, news flash - according to dermatologists, you could probably have prevented about 85% of the visible signs of ageing and sun damage on your skin, just by making a habit of wearing sunscreen every day! All the anti-ageing creams and potions in the world won't do you any good if you don't start protecting your skin from sun damage.

I can't stress enough to you how important it is to wear sunscreen every (and I mean EVERY) day. Even on a cloudy day, the sun's ultraviolet rays penetrate through the outer layers of your skin, basically frying the collagen and elastin fibres in your skin that keep it supple and elastic. Then your skin reacts to this damage by trying to produce its own weak natural form of protection: melanin, or skin pigment.

The result? Saggy, wrinkly, blotchy skin - yuck! And that's the least of it - you're also at risk of melanoma, basal cell carcinomas, and other such cancerous nasties.

By now you're probably thinking, "Sounds like I've wrecked my skin already, why bother starting with the sunscreen now?" Not true! When it comes to sun protection, it's definitely a case of better late than never. Here are my hints for safeguarding your skin:

Wear a sunscreen EVERY day, the highest protection you can get. One with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide in it will do the best job. Try Sun 2000's Herbal Sunscreen.

If you're out in the sun, you need to reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours. Ideally, however, once you've been in the sun for a while you should really cover up or get out of the sun, as the reapplied sunscreen doesn't protect as well as the original application.

If you have trouble remembering to apply sunscreen in the morning, or don't like layering sunscreen over your moisturiser, use a moisturiser with sunscreen in it Sun 2000's Herbal Mosturiser SPF 20 won New Woman's Australian Product of the Year award in 1998). Just remember that a sunscreen still only protects for 2 hours from the time you apply it, even if it's in your moisturiser.

If you have oily skin, you probably won't need a moisturiser in addition to sunscreen - most sunscreens these days have moisturising ingredients in them anyway.

No tan is a safe tan, unless it's fake, so if you have to be brown, fake it! (More about faking it next month...)

- Kate