All skin types can be damaged by UV exposure but those with fairer skin need to take extra care!
Almost all skin cancers are caused by overexposure to Ultraviolet Radiation from the sun/artificial sunbed.
A study in the British Journal of Cancer (2011) estimated that up to 90% of Skin Cancers in the UK were linked to too much sun exposure and sunbed use. Damage is permanent, irreversible and increases with each exposure.
Our top 6 tips for staying safe in the sun!
1. Sunscreen – Sun protection Factor (SPF)
Always wear a SPF of 30 or above
The SPF is a rating of the time it takes for the skin to burn using that product. No sunscreen blocks 100% of the sun’s rays. At SPF 30, 97% of the rays are blocked.
Ensure it’s a broad spectrum sun cream
A broad Spectrum sun cream will protect against both UVA and UVB Sunscreens come with protection against UVB rays. Sunscreens come with SPF rating and UVA rays expressed as a star rating.
Apply a generous amount
It is recommended that adults should apply 2 tablespoons (35ml) of sunscreen per full body application. Imagine an amount ‘equivalent to a shot glass’. If you are using enough sunscreen, a 200ml bottle would last 6 applications.
Cream or spray?
Research suggests creams provide a more effective coverage as people are less likely to spray the right amount of SPF to effectively protect the skin.
The recommendation is at least 2-3 hours depending on your activity in the sun. If you are in water or sweating profusely, recommendations are to reapply every 40 – 80 minutes.
Apply before exposure
Apply 20 minutes before exposing the skin to UV light.
All sunscreens display an expiration date when the active ingredients will become inactive. Direct sunlight can interfere with the active ingredients.
2. Sun protection clothing!
Clothing can be one of the most effective barriers between the skin and the sun and should cover as much exposed skin as possible. The shoulders, neck and chest can easily burn and should be covered as much as possible. A close weave fabric will provide better protection as it will reduce the amount of UV light penetration. UPF rated fabric is designed to provide the best protection against UV ray penetration
3. Wear a hat!
Wear a hat with a wide brim to shade the face, ears and neck. A legionnaire style hat which has a flap covering the back of the neck is most effective and particularly recommended for children. Again, a UPF rated fabric is designed to provide the best protection against UV ray penetration.
4. Wear Sunglasses!
UV light can be damaging to the eyes. It is important to wear sunglasses with the European CE mark which indicates a safe level of protection. Those labelled with a high EPF (ranging from 1 – 10) will provide the best protection. When choosing sunglasses, they should be close fitting and wrap around the eyes to minimise UV light entering the sides and top of the glasses. Price and darkness of the lenses do not have a bearing on the quality of protection.
5. Seek Shade!
Shade can provide our skin with a good barrier from the sun. Seek shade whenever possible but especially between the hours of 11am – 3pm. Keep babies and young children in the shade as much as possible!
Never rely 100% on any single sun protector, we recommend a combination of all measures to stay safe in the sun.
6. Keep Hydrated!
Prolonged exposure to the sun or lack of fluids can cause your body to dangerously overheat. Avoid it by drinking water regularly, not just when you feel thirsty. The young and old are at risk, so it’s crucial to rehydrate them promptly – and if you’re playing sports or other demanding activities, your fluid needs will be much higher.
Drink extra fluids. It’s generally recommended to drink at least eight glasses of water, fruit juice or vegetable juice per day. Because heat-related illness can also result from salt depletion it may be advisable to substitute an electrolyte-rich sports drink for water during periods of extreme heat and humidity.
Take additional precautions when exercising or working outdoors.
Avoid fluids containing either caffeine or alcohol, because both substances can cause dehydration and worsen heat exhaustion.