With a June heatwave predicted, what are the best ways to protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful rays?
With a predicted heatwave coming in June, there’s nothing quite like lounging in the sun, catching a few rays. A beer, a book, a basting session … it’s what summer’s all about, right?
Because what you do in the warmer months may well dictate how you look in later years. You may feel like a sun-kissed Greek god for a couple of weeks but, in a few years, there could be wrinkles, skin discolouration and any number of problems which could be a prelude to skin cancer.
Experts have been warning us for years that too much exposure to the sun is a danger to the skin, not only in the peak summer months but as outdoor temperatures and daylight hours start to increase. And while sunshine brings many benefits, such as an increase in Vitamin D, too much of a good thing isn’t necessarily ideal.
There are ways to look after your skin of course…
The most obvious is sunscreen. Using a lotion with a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF) provides an increased level of defence, although with children it is always best to stick with 50-plus as their skin is so much more delicate.
It is best applied at least 15 minutes before you go outside, allowing it to soak in, and should be re-applied regularly, particularly if you are sweating or have been swimming – even water-resistant creams need a top-up.
Be careful with the time of day. In the UK, the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm so limit your exposure time, or even use a higher-factor sunscreen during those hours if you need to be outside or add a thin layer of clothing.
Shades and shade: Eye protection is all-important as UVA and UVB rays are particularly threatening from light, reflective surfaces. Polarised sunglasses absorb that glare, while seeking shade will not only protect your skin from direct light but also keep you cool. It almost goes without saying that babies and toddlers should be kept under cover as much as possible.
And don’t forget to hydrate. Sweating is nature’s way of keeping the skin cool, so you will need to replenish lost fluids with lots of water. Not wine. Or beer.