Don’t get sun baked this summer!
With the hot weather we've been having recently the importance of sun cream is at an all time high. Do you know how to protect yourself and your loved ones from sunburn? Do you know how to stay save in the sun? It is always a bit difficult to see the important of sun cream at home in the UK because a lot of us don't think the sun can cause much damage when we're simply playing in the garden or going for a walk or bike ride, we want you to enjoy the sun without the consequences.
We all need a little bit of sunshine, we can’t live without it; the sun represents holidays, rest and relaxation. The sun gives us energy and intensifies our good mood. Exposing your bare skin to the sun for short periods of time can actually be beneficial. This is because the sun stimulates our production of vitamin D which is important for developing and maintaining healthy bones.
However, make sure the sun doesn’t become your enemy. There are two wavebands of ultraviolet light in sunlight: UVA and UVB. UVB rays cause most of the burning effect of sunlight. UVA rays cause premature ageing of the skin, as well as some burning. It is the UV rays that penetrate deep into the skin and damage cells. These cells are then at risk of becoming cancerous. You can’t feel UV damaging your skin and it happens even when the sun doesn’t feel hot.
You can get pleasure from the sun if you take precautions using sun creams. There are two important ratings to consider when choosing a sun cream: Sun Protection Factor (SPF) and UVA star rating.
- The SPF measures how much longer you are safe to stay in the sun, for instance, an SPF 30 sun cream allows you to stay in the sun for thirty times longer than if you were not using any protection.
- The star rating measures the amount of UVA protection, you should see a star rating of up to five stars on UK sunscreens and the higher the star rating the better.
Top tips for the prevention of sun-related skin problems:
- Apply sun cream 30 minutes before sun exposure, with an SPF of 15 or more.
- Repeat sun cream application every couple of hours.
- Cover up with suitable clothing, sunglasses with UV protections and wide-brimmed hats.
- Drink a lot of water - make sure you get at least 2 litres a day. Sweating, drinking alcohol and sun bathing all deplete your hydration levels making your skin appear dry and dull.
- Applying sun cream should not be used as an excuse to stay out in the sun for longer periods of time. You should avoid direct sun exposure, if possible, between 11am and 3pm as these are the peak UV radiation hours, spend some time indoors or under umbrellas or trees.
- Make sure you are familiar with any moles or freckles you have and perform regular skin self-checks so you will notice any changes. If you do notice any changes ensure you get these checked by a healthcare professional.
- Avoid using sun beds.
- Take extra care with children.
Protect yourself and protect your family!
For more information and advice on sun cream and sun safety in the UK and abroad visit the NHS website here.