Written by: Cally Worden
If slapping on a bit of Factor 15 is your nod in direction of sun safety, then take a moment to read on. While a good SPF cream is an essential part of your sun-protection armoury it’s easy to get complacent. Faffing about with slippy creams and sunhats may not be high on your agenda once you hit the beach, but keeping the following sun safety tips in mind will ensure you and yours finish the summer with a happy glow.
That old song ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen Go Out in the Midday Sun’ had a ring of uncomfortable truth about it – the key word being MAD. The sun is at its strongest between the hours of 11am and 3pm, and even die-hard sun worshippers would be wise to limit their exposure during this time. If fear of a watchstrap mark drives you to leave you timepiece at home, then take a cue from the shadows. If your shadow is shorter than you then the sun is at its strongest. Time to find some shade.
Check your SPF
If you’re anything like me your sunscreen stocks get shoved in the cupboard at the end of the summer and there they rest, gathering dust, until that yellow orb makes an appearance in the sky the following spring. But twelve months down the line they won’t offer you the protection you expect – or need. Creams lose their SPF effectiveness over time, so always refresh your stocks each year. Cancer Research recommends a minimum of Factor 15, preferably one with a high star rating. Reapplication is important, as sunscreen rubs off when you change clothes, go for a swim, and sweat.
Set your Own Style
Sunglasses, a wide-brimmed or Legionnaire-style hat, and shoulder-covering garments are very best sun protection you can find. Beware, however, especially in hot climates -not all clothing is created equal, and some cheaper fabrics can allow harmful UV rays to pass through them more easily than others.
Young children, old people, and those with certain sensitive skin conditions are far more vulnerable than others in the sun. A responsible and consistent approach to sun protection is required for these individuals, especially kids, who have no clue about the dangers that the lovely warm sun can cause.
Ditch the Holiday Mentality
The sun’s harmful qualities don’t just exist when you’re on holiday. An sunny afternoon at home tending the garden exposes you to just the same risks as an afternoon by the pool in Portugal – the sun may be a little less strong, and its appearance less predictable, but still – if you’re outside when it’s in the sky you need to take care wherever you are.
Hot Tips for Staying Cool
If a prolonged heat wave hits then an action-plan for sun protection may be needed. Consider the following handy tips:
- Stock up on sun cream so you don’t run out
- Stay in the shade during the hottest part of the day
- Choose light, loose-fitting clothing
- Eat normally to keep your energy up, and consume fruit and salads as much as possible for their hydration properties
- Don’t let your skin go red – exposure of more than 10 minutes requires sunscreen – putting it off can be a painful mistake
- Drink a lot – at least 6-8 glasses of water a day
- Don’t ignore dehydration symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and cramps – stay cool and still, and drink plenty of water until the effects wear off