2 June 2016

Summer Sun 101

The summer months are upon us, and for a lot of us that means sunbathing and relaxing in the heat. We don't often get blistering heat in the UK, which can leave a lot of us open to sunburn and the likes, which is not good. In this post I thought I would give a lit round up of some of the basics for being safe in the sun and caring for your skin in this heat.

In this heat, sun cream is essential for protecting your skin from sunburn. The higher the factor of your sun cream, the more protected your skin will be. Something to keep note of if you are out soaking up the sun this summer is the expiry date of you sun cream. Sun cream has 2-3 years, unless you have been storing it at a high temperature or in direct sunlight. Sun cream should be stored in a cool, dry place, and be sure to check the expiry date when you're going to use it. Sun cream becomes less effective as it ages, so it is good to keep an eye on when it was bought and how long you've had it. Sun cream should be applied generously every 2 hours or so, and reapplied more often when swimming or sweating. Water absorbs UV rays that cause sunburn, so you need to keep your skin protected, (even if your swimming in a kids pool in your garden!). The cooling nature of the water makes the sun's heat less noticeable however you can still get burned, so be sure to apply sun cream before swimming and after you've dried off. Apply suncream under the straps of bras, tops, and the hem of shorts,skirts and dresses as when you are moving around the fabric will move. Whether you burn or tan and how easily your burn will be dependent of a few things, so it is good to know how your skin is in the sun, and the majority of people will have a basic knowledge of what there skin is like in the sun. Fair skinned people are much more prone to sunburn and sun damage than darker sinned people, so the lighter your skin the more protection you should give your skin. Anyone can get sunburned, however there are people with various physical traits that are very likely to burn easily, a few of the most common traits are:
- Fair skin
- Blue or green eyes
- Light hair (naturally, not dyed hair)
- Freckles
People with any of these traits should take extra care of their skin in this weather. I am very pale, and I have naturally light brown hair, blue eyes and freckles so I burn so easily. It is super important to take care of your skin in the sun, as sunburn could end up being the least of your worries. SPF 30 is the best for most people, and for those more prone to burning, SPF 50 is best for the skin.

Peak Heat/Sun Times
The sun isn't at its hottest temperature all through the day, there are peak times when the sun is at its hottest and these are the times that you should avoid directed sun exposure, by staying in the shade or going indoors to cool off. The sun is at its hottest between 10am and 2pm in the day which is when you should be extra careful with skincare and if you are prone to burning then you should be staying in the shade and avoiding direct exposure to the sun, as this is when you are most likely to get burned.

Clothing - dress stylish but sensible
In this heat, the last thing people want to do is cover their body which is totally understandable, why have this great weather and not be able to dress for it? Instead of covering your body up, what it is best to do is to be sensible when picking an outfit. If you want to wear shorts or a skirt but know you burn easily, apply sun cream on your legs and wear tanned tights, they're very light but protect your legs a little. If you are wearing little strappy tops or dresses, cover your arms with a light kimono when the heat is intense or during the peak hours of sun. Wear a hat to protect your face, ears and neck. It is natural to want to wear little summery outfits, just make sure you keep yourself protected.

These are essential in the sun, your eyes are very delicate and expose to very high heat will give your sore eyes. If you are in direct exposure of sunlight, or find yourself screwing up your eyes to see, put on sunglasses. Your eyes are important and you should be taking good care of them in this weather. If like me you wear normal glasses, it would be a good ideas to be very careful with your eyes in the sun, as if you need to wear glasses then chances are your eyes are already sensitive in high heat and strong sunlight. Contact lenses are a life saver in this weather as you can pop them in and wear sunglasses from anywhere, however if you don't wear contact lenses, you can opt for prescription sunglasses which will allow you to see clearly and protect your eyes.

Once you have finished being in the sun, it is a good idea to apply aftersun to your skin. After sun is exactly what it sounds like, it is applied after sun. There are a tonne of brands that sell after sun, and they all work this same. This lotion or gel is applied to skin after you've been exposed to the sun. It is especially important to apply it if you have been sunburned, as the lotion cools the burning sensation and moisturises the burned areas. Aloe vera is a really good lotion to use on sunburn. I have also found that body sorbet from The Body Shop is very good on sunburn, it cools the skin right down and it is super moisturing on the sunburn, it is very light on the skin and it absorbs very well into the burns and is very cooling on the skin.

Sunburn Dos And Donts
  • Get/stay out of the sun, sunburn takes around 72 hours to heal
  • Keep skin moisturised to prevent itching
  • Cool the skin gently eg, a wet towel or a cool bath/shower
  • Have a lot of fluids as sunburn can cause dehydration
  • Keep out of the sun/keep burns covered until the sunburn has heeled
  • Go back out in the sun without sun cream
  • Put ice on sunburn, it can delay the healing of the skin
  • Scratch or peel sunburn that is peeling off, it can stop proper healing of the skin
  • Pop blisters, it can lead to infection
  • Wear tight clothing, this can lead to akin irritation, pain and swelling
Are you enjoying the sun?
Have you got any tips for looking after your skin in the sun?

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