As sumer has finally arrived in the UK, it made me think about how to stay safe in the sun, i am forever seeing burnt people wandering around in the summer, and I’m always shocked at why people are so bad at applying sunscreen.
I have to admit that when i was in my late teens and early 20’s i did worship the sun a little too much, i did always use sunscreen but probably a little low on the SPF- 15/20! Now in my 30’s and as a mother of 2, i am more careful about sunscreen in fact just before i dropped my 2 off at school this morning i covered them in an 8 hour water resistant SPF 50 and i sent the bottle into school with them along with a hat each.
I think the reason some people don’t use sunscreen is because they get confused about safe sun exposure.
The British Skin Foundation is a fantastic charity which helps to fund research skin disorders and disease’s, obviously one of these is skin cancer, Dr Anjali Mahto, Consultant Dermatologist & British Skin Foundation spokesperson has answered some myths about sun exposure
“I can’t get sun damage on a cloudy summer day” Even if you can’t see any blue sky, a significant amount of UV rays can still get through the clouds, so it’s best to apply sunscreen if you’re out and about during the summer.
“My skin is only damaged if it turns red.”
Sunburn and skin peeling is the extreme end of skin damage from UV rays. When the skin ‘tans’ this is damaging your skin and putting you at risk of skin cancer in the future.
“My sunscreen says it’s water resistant, so I don’t need to reapply regularly.”
Despite what the packaging promises, swimming, sweating, rubbing, or towelling down means you will end up removing the sunscreen from your body. Always reapply after sporting activity or at least every two hours.
What are the most common mistakes people make around sun protection?
- People often miss areas and forget to apply suncream to the tip of the nose, ears, and hairline, and scalp.
- Ensuring you get the right sunscreen for your skin type; many are greasy and unsuitable for oily or acne prone skin which require lighter formulations
- Those with olive or pigmented skin often think they don’t need sunscreen. Skin of colour is also sensitive to damage caused by UV and requires protection
- Not using enough – you need about a quarter of a teaspoon to cover your face
- Incorrect layering of products on the face – moisturiser first if you use one then sunscreen afterwards followed by make-up if you choose
- Check expiry dates as sunscreens lose their potency over time
- Body parts most often missed are eyelids, back of knees, ears, tops of feet, scalp, hair and lips.
I know first hand what it is like to burn badly in the sun! When i was 16 i went on a school trip to Italy and on our last day we were sat on the beach, it was very cloudy so none of us put any sun cream on, on our journey back home i started to show signs of sunstroke and my skin was on fire! it was awful, really sore and i felt so sick! after that i was always careful to apply sunscreen before going out in the sun, however in my early 20’s i was in Greece and i decided to try an all day filter- sadly i didn’t apply it correctly and the sun filter cooked into my skin! i ended up in a pharmacy having blisters popped and drained and spending quite a bit of cash of creams to sort the burn out. These areas still now are more likely to burn so i have to use a strong SPF on the old burn areas.
I know it can sometimes be a pain to keep reapplying sun cream but it is so important to do this! If your good at a skincare routine then get yourself into a SPF Routine, my sun safe tips are:
Find a suncream that works with your skin Different skin types require different lotion formulations, so find one that works with your skin, the last thing you want is a heavy creamy which makes your skin oily, or a light cream which doesn’t nourish dry skins, try and test till you find one you like.
Re-apply regularly You can never have to much Sunscreen on! if your lazy like me go for a strong all day filter all you need to do is top up if your active or wet, but at least you won’t have to keep applying every hour!
Carry a handbag size suncream with you at all times I have been caught out more then once on a day out with the kids, so now i always keep a cream in my car and a pocket size in my handbag.
Get your children used to having suncream on You can get some great clothing that protect from UV rays however it is still important for children to wear SPF, i know it can be a chore to cream a slippery and fidgety 2 year old but the more they get used to it the less of a challenge it becomes, try getting them to cream your arms or legs and make sun cream application fun- you can also sing songs about the body whilst applying cream.
Ensure your using enough suncream Less is definatly not better, some brands do state how much to use but if in doubt slap another dollop on!
Stay sun safe and enjoy, i just hope your not struggling to sleep in this heat wave like i am
If you would like to donate to the British Skin Foundation click the link below