Exposing your skin to the sun periods of time without protection causes damage to the skin. Wear sunscreen all year round to protect against UV rays.
UV radiation that comes from the sun can cause sunburn in a surprisingly short time if you are outside and you have not protected your skin. Sunburn shows when the skin turns pink/red.
It is particularly important if you are very fair or have red hair and white skin, to protect all exposed skin. Do not go out in the sun without sun protection and clothes to cover exposed areas e.g. legs and arms, also wear a hat that provides protection for face and neck.
If you have a darker skin, you are less likely to burn but it is still important to use a sunscreen.
It is now recognised that people are not applying enough sunscreen and not frequently re-applying. The critical hours for exposure are between 10am and 4pm. Water, sand, snow and concrete reflect the sun’s rays. Advice is that sun protection is necessary all year round – even if the sun is not out it does not mean that you will not be affected by UV radiation.
UVA, UVB, UVC
✔ UVA – least amount of energy rays – skin ageing and skin damage
✔ UVB – rays emit more energy than A and direct damage to DNA in skin cells – sunburn
✔ UVC – largest number of rays, but they don’t reach the ground – not normally a risk factor.
Exposing the skin over the long term are the causes of skin cancer to emerge later in life. Dark skin, while it may not burn is not exempt from skin damage. #Brown spots and wrinkles are indicators of too much sun exposure.
You will recover from the effects of sunburn, but lasting damage can emerge later in life. Take advice given to have a yearly skin check. Even if you don’t burn your skin will experience some damage through the UV rays.
If you do get #sunburn cool down quickly by taking a shower or in a pool, or the sea. If there is pain, take a pain relief product e.g. Ibuprofen or Asprin. If the skin peels do not pick the skin off. Moisturise the skin while it is damp, but don’t use an oil-based ointment. Drink water and sports drinks to replace electrolytes.
Severe blistering, headache, nausea, chills, confusion and be aware of infection – advisable to see a doctor. If you have children or grandchildren check advice about the effects of sun on young children, e.g. babies under six months should not be in the direct sun.
Do not get your tan from a tanning salon. I apply a tanning gel to give a natural tanned colour. The sunscreen I use, after considerable research is now 50+.
It is recommended to apply sunscreen 20-30 minutes before going out to allow it to ‘set’. Advice from one source indicated a second application just before going out, i.e. to make two applications.
Remember to re-apply every two hours if outside for a long period.
Do remember that if you are using sunscreen with 50+ it doesn’t last for the day and you still need to reapply regularly. Be lavish in your application of sunscreen.
Some products indicate water resistance but if you have been in the water and you towel down to dry off you are removing what sunscreen there is and you need to re-apply the sunscreen. Watch for sunscreens which say they include insect repellent – it is advisable to use a separate insect repellent.
Wear a wide brimmed hat to shade your face and neck, sunglasses, sunscreen, long sleeves and long trousers or long dress. It is important to provide adequate protection to children.
If visiting Europe, and need to buy sunscreen, look for one that meets EU Standards against UVA rays. Some products may show a star rating: 1 to 5 – with 5 being the highest. UVB, SPF30 and minimum 4-star protection, 50+ is preferable.
Enjoy your time in the sun but take precautions to protect your skin!
• https://www.dermetnz.org (from topics select sunburn)
• https://skincancer.org (check for risk factors – select “S” for sunburn)
Link to ‘Consumer’ article (comparing the Top 20 sunscreens):