I know that we’ve all been enjoying the sunshine and good weather, but the question I want to ask is: have you been using sun cream?
The topic of sun cream can sometimes be a prickly one amongst British people. Many of us seem to think that because we don’t get much sun, we don’t need sun cream. Unfortunately that’s not true. Up to 80% of UV rays – the ones that can damage the skin – still reach the earth even on cloudy days.
Here are a few things to bear in mind when considering sun cream.
Firstly, tanning. For most of our lives we’ve been sold the idea that having a tan is healthy. And while a little sun can be good for us, according to the British Association of Dermatology, a tan is actually a sign that the skin has been damaged and is trying to protect itself. Melanin is what makes the skin look darker. With over exposure to the sun, the skin produces more melanin to try and absorb more UV rays and stop them damaging the cells.
Secondly, ultraviolet rays. UVA and UVB rays are the two types of ultraviolet rays that can damage the skin, both having been linked to skin cancer. UVB is the one that makes your skin burn, making it easy to spot. On the other hand, UVA damages the collagen beneath the skin. Its effects are harder to recognise but over time it gives the skin that old and leathery look.
Lastly, SPF. SPF stands for sun protection factor. It is the amount of time you can spend in the sun without burning. If you can normally spend 10 minutes in the sun without burning, an SPF 15 sun cream would, in theory, allow you to spend 150 minutes in the sun. It is worth noting that most people do not use enough sun cream and therefore the SPF protection is no-where near what is stated on the bottle. Children especially should use a sun cream with a higher SPF because of the sensitivity of their skin.
Here are a few tips to help you stay protected in the sun:
- Choose a sun cream with SPF 15 or higher, and broad spectrum protection.
- Reapply sun cream at least every two hours, or after towelling/swimming if you spending the day outdoors.
- Apply sun cream 20 minutes before going out, allowing the skin to absorb it.
- Consider covering up if you are planning a full day in the sun.
To help you stay protected in the sun, visit one of our stores in Falmouth, Helston and St. Austell for advice and information on the range of sun creams we stock.
Click here to read about some common myths about sun cream.
For a fascinating video about how our skin looks under UV light, follow this link.