It’s May bank holiday and chances are you are digging out the shorts and flip flops and heading off to the beach. But this means you need to make sure you are protected from the sun. Sun protection is essential; it needs to take priority within your skincare routine.
Spending time outside in the sun can increase the risk of skin cancer and premature ageing. Here are our tips for ultimate sun protection, so you can care for your skin while enjoying yourself outside.
Limit your time in direct sunlight
The sun is at it’s most intense between the hours of 10 am and 2 pm, this is where you should opt for shade or take a break inside, as this is the time when you are most likely to burn. If you are at the beach, pack an umbrella for shade and if you are going to the park, find a spot under the trees.
There are areas of our bodies which are more liable to burning and being caught by the sun. For some people, this can be their shoulders, arms, nose, the back of the neck or feet. To protect these areas, picking an outfit that will allow you to cover those areas. If your shoulders are always burning, wear a short sleeved t-shirt, if it’s the back of your neck, a wide-brimmed hat can help protect you.
It is recommended that you apply two tablespoons of suncream, 30 minutes before heading out to your entire body. It’s important not to skimp on it and allow enough time for it to soak into your skin. Pay attention to the areas you may miss such as feet, hands, necks, ears, nose and lips. If you are planning to be swimming or playing sports outside, pick a suncream that is going to be water-resistant, or it may be washed or sweated off.
Broad-Spectrum sunscreens protect your skin against two types of sun rays. UVA are the ones which can cause signs of ageing and UVB which can cause the sunburn on the surface of your skin.
Suncream’s labelled as water resistant will maintain their SPF level for approximately 40 to 80 minutes after exposure to the sea, after this time you need to reapply.
SPF 15 – Best for daily use if you are only outside for around 20 minutes at a time
SPF 30 – Better protection than SPF 15, recommended if you are spending more than 20 minutes outside a day.
SPF 50 – The highest level, SPF 50 can absorb 98% of UVB rays.
Reapply every two hours (at least)
Applying suncream in the morning and then heading out for the day isn’t enough to keep skin protected for the whole time. Make sure you pack your suncream with you, so you can aim to reapply every two hours, or more if you feel you need it. If you are swimming or sweating from outdoor games, reapply straight after as the suncream may have rubbed away.
How to care for sunburn
Even the most careful person can become sunburnt at some point. It’s essential to know how to care for sunburnt skin effectively.
- Put a cold, damp towel on the affected area for 15 minutes a few times a day.
- Take frequent cold baths or showers to help relieve any burning;
- Regularly apply moisturiser as this can help prevent any dryness or skin peeling.
- Lotions with aloe vera can help soothe skin. You want to avoid creams that contain lidocaine, benzocaine or petroleum as these can keep heat within the skin.
- Drink extra water to avoid dehydration or sunstroke
- Leave any blisters alone and allow these to heal without popping them.
- Wear loose-fitting fabrics so as not to irritate the burn and keep it covered if you are heading out again.