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09 Jul 2015

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Sun care should mean just that - taking care in the sun. Whether it's taking a holiday abroad, in the UK or enjoying a sunny day in the garden, it's great fun, so you'll want to make sure nothing spoils it!

Our skin always needs protecting when exposed to the sun, whether at home or abroad, so we've pulled together the ultimate guide for staying safe in the sun. Consider the following to enjoy a happy and healthy burst of sunshine.

Slowly Build Up the Amount of Time You Spend in the Sun

If you are determined to have a tan then it's a good idea to gradually build up time spent in the sun and to use a higher Sun Protection Factor (SPF) from the start. Acclimatisation to UV rays is necessary if the risk of sun damage is to be reduced. By allowing the skin to acclimatise slowly, over the first few days, the skin is less likely to burn and for those wanting a tan, it is likely to last longer.

Match Your Sunscreen to Your Skin Type

It is essential to choose the right sunscreens. The SPF indicates the level of protection against harmful UVB rays and indicates the multiplication of your skin's natural protection. This is dependent on skin type. The effects of UV light are cumulative over time so select a high SPF from the start. No sunscreen can reverse damage or protect skin that has already started to burn.

Everyone has different skin, each with their own specific sun care requirements. So choosing suitable sunscreens will depend on skin type, the strength of the sun and the amount of time spent in the sun. The face, neck and torso are 2-4 times more sensitive than the limbs. There is a wide range to choose from, so select wisely and don't skimp on the amount.

Take Care When Applying Your Sunscreen

Application-of sun care products is one of the key factors to effective protection in the sun. Apply before sun exposure enough to give a visible layer before rubbing in, let it dry then reapply to ensure adequate coverage and no missed areas.

  • Liberally reapply at frequent intervals and always after swimming or towelling.
  • Apply generously and often to ensure skin appears and feels evenly covered.


The average adult needs to apply 30mls of sunscreen each application. Apply a visible layer before rubbing in so that you do not miss bits. Using insufficient sunscreen can halve the Sun Protection Factor. Repeated application of a lower factor does not provide the same protection as a higher factor, e.g. 2 applications of SPF10 does not provide the same protection as SPF20.

Make After Sun Part of Your Sun Care Regime

Play a part in a good sun care regime, counteracting the drying effects of the sun and wind. They are specifically formulated to cool, soothe and moisturise the skin, and so help to prevent peeling. Some contain self-tan ingredients to help keep a tan for longer.

Protecting Children and Babies in the Sun


Keeping them completely out of the sun can be almost impossible, therefore, SPF 50+ sun lotion is designed for protection from reflected light which is almost impossible to avoid. All babies under one year should be kept out of direct sunlight at all times. Children under the age of two should be encouraged to stay in the shade.


Children's skin needs extra protection. As it is difficult to stop them playing in the sun, the use of high protection sun products is essential if children are to be protected from over exposure in the sun and to reduce the risk of long term skin damage.

  • T-shirts and brimmed hats should always be worn.
  • Encourage children to play out of the sun. Rowlands recommend NIVEA Sun Baby for babies and toddlers, and NIVEA Sun Children's for 3 years upwards.

Rowland's Pharmacy's 5 Top Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun

Rowland’s Pharmacy’s 5 Top Tips for Staying Safe in the Sun

  1. Avoid the sun when it is at its most harmful between 11.00am and 3.00pm.
  2. Clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreens should be used to protect the skin and eyes.
  3. It's worth knowing UV rays can penetrate light clothing, if you are sensitive to the sun, choose a denser material to give you extra protection. Some fabrics are specially designed to protect the skin from the adverse effects of the sun.
  4. Sun screens with low factors can only provide low protection for tanned skin, people with naturally darker skin and skin acclimatised to the sun.
  5. If minor sunburn does occur, it may help to use an after sun product to cool and soothe the skin. But, if the symptoms of sunburn are painful or if there are any other symptoms like headaches or nausea then a doctor should be consulted.

Unfortunately the effects of sunburn do not become obvious until it is too late and the damage has been done. People are often fooled into thinking the sun is not too hot if there is a cool breeze or light cloud. When redness and tingling occur the skin has been over exposed to the sun and it is a sure sign that the skin has been damaged.

Sensible precautions and protection can reduce the risks to you and your family from sun damage. Certain medications can increase your sensitivity to the sun, so check with your pharmacist or GP if you have any concerns.

Why not visit our Sun Safety Pinterest board for some more unmissable sun safety advice?

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