With summer in full swing, no doubt you have lots of fun, adventurous plans in the pipeline.
Whether it’s hiking, camping, cycling, hitting the beach or planning a picnic in the park, there’s no better time to be outside, filling your lungs with fresh air and getting some much-needed vitamin D!
And while it’s great to enjoy the warmer weather, it’s also important that you’re up to scratch on staying sun safe.
No one wants to spend their leisure time burned or with sunstroke, or worse. So, to ensure that you and your family can have fun in the sun without worry, we’ve put together a handy guide for everything you need to know about sun safety.
Sun exposure can happen even on a cloudy British day, so if you’re out and about this summer, the number one rule is to slap on the sun cream regularly!
Harmful UV rays are responsible for a number of ailments, from sunburn and premature ageing to more serious conditions such as skin cancer. That’s not to say you can’t safely enjoy the sun. Opting for a sun lotion of at least SPF30 and applying it every two to three hours if you’re outside for long periods of time can help protect you from sun damage.
When buying sun cream, you should look for one that has at least a four-star UVA protection to ensure that it meets EU standards. You should also make sure it hasn’t past its expiry date. Most have a shelflife of two to three years.
Sun protection factor (SPF) is a measure of the amount of ultraviolet B radiation (UBV) protection in the cream. This is rated on a scale of 2-50+, with 50+ offering the strongest protection and 2 offering the least. Sun creams that offer both UVA and UVB protection, sometimes referred to as ‘Broad Spectrum’, are the ones you should ideally opt for as they give you the best protection.
So, how much sun cream should you apply for the best coverage, to stay sun safe?
If you’re an adult, the equivalent of two tablespoons should do it. Although a good rule of thumb is the more the merrier, so don’t be afraid to apply it in excess!
Applying plenty is particularly important for children and babies, whose skin is much more sensitive and vulnerable to sun damage. Babies under six months old should always be kept out of direct sunlight, and all children should be covered up with protective clothing, as well as being coated in a strong lotion with a high SPF.
Whatever age you are, don’t forget to reapply lotion once you’ve been in water, even if your cream claims to be ‘water resistant’. The fact is, water washes it off, and when you’re in the ocean or a cool pool, you might not feel yourself getting burnt. Topping up your cream as soon as you’re out of water can reduce your chance of sun damage and keep the burn at bay.
Seek the shade
If you’re planning on spending the whole day outdoors, so to stay sun safe, make sure to hit the shade between 11am and 3pm, as this is when the sun is at its strongest. Even if you can’t avoid it completely, finding shady spots or shelters where you can eat lunch or take a break can help you escape the effects of sunstroke and keep you feeling cool and refreshed.
Protect your eyes
It’s super important to keep your eyes covered when you’re out in the sun. Being at the beach or anywhere that you’re exposed to bright sunshine can cause temporary burn to the eye’s surface, resulting in a painful sensation similar to sunburn of the skin.
Reflected light from water, sand or concrete is also tough on the eyes, so it helps to have a good pair of sunglasses on hand to keep your peepers protected. Opt for styles with UVA/UVB protection and make sure they cover the whole of your eyes, so there’s no room for sunlight to creep in behind them.
Know your limits
While no one is exempt from the dangers of the sun, there are some people who are more at risk than others and they may need to take more precautions to stay sun safe.
If you have pale skin, freckles, or red or fair hair, you should always wear a high factor sun cream and cover your skin with protective clothing and a hat. This is because pale skin is more prone to burning than darker skin tones.
That’s not to say that those with darker skin are out of the woods. If you have any moles, you should regularly keep a close eye on them, and always cover them in the sun. If you notice any changes such as the appearance of a new mole, or a mole that has changed in size, shape or colour, it’s always best to check in with a doctor, just to be safe.
Anyone with a family history of skin cancer should take extra care in the sun, as should anyone exposed to intense sun that their skin isn’t used to, such as when you’re on holiday.
The better you know your skin and your limits regarding sun exposure, the easier it will be to protect yourself during summer expeditions.
Sun safety and keeping hydrated come hand in hand. Dehydration and heat exhaustion can lead to a multitude of issues, including dizziness, headaches and vomiting. The key is to stay hydrated, more so if you’re out in the sun for long periods of time.
If you’re planning a hike or any similar outdoor activities, make sure to take along a reliable water bottle and keep it topped up regularly. Just make sure to steer clear of sugary drinks, caffeine or alcohol as these can lead to dehydration, as opposed to keeping it at bay.
If you do happen to get burnt after a day in the sun, the first thing you should do is sponge the sore skin with cool water, before applying a soothing after-sun lotion, Aloe Vera cream or calamine lotion.
If you’re suffering from a bad dose of sunstroke to go alongside your sunburn, make sure to drink plenty of water, and take painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen to help reduce the inflammation and ease the pain.
If at any point your skin starts to blister or swell, or you feel unwell with chills, high temperature, headaches, sickness or dizziness, go visit your doctor.
No matter what summer adventures you’re planning, staying sun safe is essential. If you want to know more about how we can help keep your whole family healthy and happy in the sun, get in touch with our team or check out what’s on offer in our sunshine-friendly range.