5 sun safety tips for summer
It doesn't matter if you're jetting off abroad or staying closer to home this summer, sun safety is paramount.
1. Stay in the shade
With the limited sunshine we get here in the UK, it may feel counterintuitive to stay in the shade when we finally see the sun! But taking breaks from the direct sun doesn't mean you can’t enjoy the sunshine. Remember to seek out shade especially during the peak hours of the day, where the sun rays are the strongest. This is often from late morning until late afternoon, essentially the sunniest times of the day.
While at the beach, a large umbrella can provide some protection and many public swimming areas have built-in areas that are shady. This will help make sure that you don’t get too much sun on your skin, which can contribute to premature ageing as well as raise your risk for skin cancer.
2. Apply sunscreen regularly
There's plenty of choice when it comes to sunscreen. From waterproof, sweat-resistant, high protection, facial sunscreen and even lip balms with SPF, just to name a few. Ads a minimum, look for at least 30 SPF and broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection to get the most benefit.
And it's worth remembering that even if you get waterproof or sports sunscreens, that doesn’t mean you can rely on it all day. Whatever type you use should be reapplied every 2 hours or so and every time you are heavily sweating or go swimming. When in doubt, check out the instructions on the bottle.
Another important thing to note is that amounts do matter because the lotion or cream should fully coat your skin. The stereotype of the beach lifeguard with visible sunscreen actually serves as a good reminder – the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that from 25-50% of people apply too little sunscreen. How much do you need to cover a typical body? It depends on your body type greatly, but an adult would typically need at least 30 ml to cover their entire body.
3. Safety summer fashion
Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement – they protect your eyes from harmful rays and even wrinkles. Don’t forget kids and toddlers. Experts estimate that the majority of a person’s UV exposure happens already in our childhood and teen years. This means the whole family benefits from wearing shades.
Like sunscreen, read the small print when purchasing sunglasses. Whether you choose cheap or expensive sunglasses, the amount of protection should be checked. However, most sunglasses brands are safe choices. For glasses wearers, there are options of getting prescription sunglasses so you can get the best of both worlds – see well and protect your eyes at the same time. Arguably everyone looks cooler at the beach with their sunglasses anyway!
4. Take it slow – you’ve earned it
We have busy busy lives! So when we finally get some much earned holiday, slow down and enjoy it. If you really must get some heart-pumping exercise, try to limit this to morning and evening times when it is cooler and the sun’s rays are not as intense.
5. Stay hydrated
Water is central to staying healthy and recommendations of the correct amount vary. Even if you are enjoying other beverages, don’t forget to drink pure water whenever possible. The BBC explain some of the facts and myths behind hydration, showing that a set amount per day is a bit difficult to come by.
Interestingly, while you might be feeling like adding ice for a nice cold drink, it's actually more beneficial to drink water at room temperature which will help your body regulate its temperature.
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