It only takes a few simple precautions to enjoy the sun and keep your skin healthy and happy.
Sunscreens are a must if you want to protect your skin whilst you’re out in the sun. Everyone’s skin is different and paler skins are more sensitive to sunlight, so even if you’re wearing sunscreen you might still be susceptible to the damage that UVA and UVB rays can inflict on the skin. In order to stay safe, you just need to take some care, and think about what your skin needs. UV rays can be really harmful, and sometimes the damage isn’t something you’ll notice straight away. It's useful to think about the three lines of defence when it comes to spending time in the sun.
First line of defence:
Ask yourself, should I be out in the sun at this time of the day, or should I be sitting under a shady tree? In lots of countries where the climate is warm, people have a siesta in the middle of the day; a short nap in order to avoid the intensity of the sun’s heat. It’s possible to enjoy the sun in a healthy way, as long as you are considering the dangers of long-exposure – think about your timing rather than avoiding the sun altogether.
Second line of defence:
Cover up. If you know that you’ll be out in the sun, put on a hat or a t-shirt and wear clothing that will protect your skin. If you go swimming in the sea bear in mind that your skin is still susceptible to sun damage, and the water can even intensify the sun’s rays (think of a magnifying glass). You might want to sit outside under an umbrella, or tucked safely in the shade if you’re out during the part of the day when the sun is at its hottest.
Third line of defence:
Sunscreens. If you know that your skin will be exposed to direct sunlight, apply a product with sunscreens to those areas of your body. To maintain the level of protection that you need, you should top up with sunscreen every two hours. Because of the way sunscreens work – by reflecting and dispersing the harmful UVA and UVB rays before they can reach your skin – they lose their effectiveness over time. By topping up every two hours you are refreshing your protection and ensuring that the sunscreens stay powerful. The recommended amount is 2mg per square cm of skin, so make sure you use plenty.