The blistering days of the South African summer are abating as we speak, and you know what that means – rugby season is around the corner, there are plenty of cricket matches in the works, and even if you’re not a sports guy or gal, there will be any of a hundred other reasons to light a fire, crack a cold one and get a braai going.

The Katavi team recently had an enquiry from a long-time user who wanted to know if his braai habit could be hurting his skin. We’ve got great news – no, it doesn’t. The simple act of tanning a chop and hanging out with your mates won’t hurt your skin one bit. However, there are a few things that go along with that might. Fear not, we have solutions!

The dark side of the braai
What you eat at a braai has the biggest impact on your skin. Burned meat might be the ultimate braai sin, but it also happens to be really bad for your system. Grilling meats at high temperatures results in the formation of heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which has been found to be mutagenic, i.e. it can cause changes in your DNA that make you more susceptible to cancer. AKA, go medium-rare blokes. While you’re at it, swop out the chips and dip for some crudités and hummus – the fresh vegetables pack a mean nutritional punch & your skin will thank you.

When braai leads to dry
The other aspect of a braai that might impact your skin is where and when you braai. Cold, dry conditions make for sore, irritated skin, especially when you throw some braai smoke (and second-hand buddy smoke) in the mix. The best way to keep your skin protected is to invest in a moisturising day cream and night repair formulation. Braaiing outdoors in daytime? No matter how cloudy it is, wear a sunscreen of 30+ SPF at least – you can easily burn through moderate cloud cover.

 TOP TIP: Headed on a hunting trip this winter, or doing some trail running outside in colder weather? If you have sensitive skin, it might be worth your while to invest in a hydration oil or booster serum to sooth your skin after exposure to the elements.