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A guide to suncream

A guide to suncream

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With the better weather finally coming in and many of us jetting off to sunny lands on holiday, sun cream is a vital addition to your family’s collection of lotions and potions. However, looking at the rows upon rows of different sun creams available in the chemist it can be difficult to know exactly which one you should be investing in.

Why do I need sun cream?

We all know that sunburn can be nasty and sun creams help to avoid getting burnt. But they also have a range of other benefits such as helping to prevent skin cancer and reducing the signs of aging. They also helps to decrease skin discolouration and blotchiness. If you have tattoos you may find that the ink fades, draining the colour and vibrancy of your tattoo if you soak up too many rays without using sun block.

What factor should I use?

The paler your skin is, the more protection it’s going to need. People with very fair skin should always use cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above during the summer months. Others should opt for at least SPF 15. Children, however, need a little more protection and so should use a sun cream with a high SPF.

What do the stars on the bottle mean?

SPFs relate to the protection offered against the sun’s UVB rays. However, we also need protection from UVB rays and this is measured by a star system in the UK. Look for a sun cream with four or five stars to ensure the best protection. A good sun cream will help block both UVA and UVB rays.

How much should I use?

A guide to suncreamSun creams only work if you use the correct amount and reapply it regularly but few of us use enough to benefit from the full protection advertised on the bottle. The average adult needs around two tablespoons of lotion to cover their body. For the best protection you should apply sun cream 15-30 minutes before you’ll be exposed to the sun then again just before you go outside. Some brands have tinted versions that go on coloured and dry clear so you can see if you’ve missed a bit. Cream should be reapplied every two hours. Always reapply sun cream after getting out of the water, even if you’ve chosen a ‘waterproof’ bottle.

Can I use the stuff I left over from last year?

Providing sun cream is kept out of high temperatures and direct sunlight it should have a shelf life of around two years. However, to be on the safe side you should probably buy new every summer, especially if your sunscreen was sitting out in the heat next to you at the beach last year! Before using any sun cream check the expiry date printed on the bottle as you won’t be protected from harmful rays if your lotion is out of date.

Remember it’s important to use sun cream when you’re out and about doing daily activities and not just when you’re on the beach!



About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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