After a cold winter, it’s no surprise that as soon as we see some sun, we bask in it – for hours! It is important to spend some time in the sun so we can get our dose of Vitamin D (essential for good bone health). But it is important to take care in the sun – we all know the dangers of prolonged exposure in raising our risk of skin cancer. Us Brits don’t get enough sunshine, so often when we do finally get some we overdo it – this can lead to dehydration, sunburn, heat rash and sun stroke.
When you go on holiday, gradually build up the time you spend in the sun. It is important to know your limits, overexposure to UVA and UVB is only part of the problem; dehydration and light headedness and avoid alcohol.
Use regular sun protection and wait 20 minutes before you go out in sun, as the chemicals take this time to take effect. To help protect skin from the sun’s rays try increasing your beta-carotene intake; research shows that carotenoid found in yellow, orange and green fruit and vegetables help protect the skin after supplementing for 10 weeks prior to exposure.
- Be sure to put sunscreen all over your body. This includes some places you might not think of, like the tops of your ears, the back of your neck, the parting in your hair, your face, and the tops of your feet. Get help if you can’t reach everywhere by yourself!
- Ensure the sunscreen is not past its expiry date.
- Your eyes need protection from ultraviolet rays, too – always wear sunglasses in the bright sun, and make sure they have a label saying that they block UV rays.
- Wear a wide-brimmed hat that shades the face, neck and ears.
- Drink lots of water – it is important not to wait until you are very thirsty.
- Try to avoid the midday heat and remain hydrated.
- Take frequent breaks from the sun by going indoors or moving into the shade.
- Reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours Do this more often if you’ve been swimming or sweating a lot — even if the sunscreen is waterproof.
- Use after-sun lotion to re-moisturise the skin and rebalance it.
- Aloe Vera gel is wonderful as it soothes sun burnt skin (pop it in the fridge for extra cooling relief).
The good news is that the sun doesn’t have to be your enemy if you wear your sunscreen, wear a hat, drink your water, wear sun glasses and take breaks when you start to feel too hot.
Have a safe and happy summer.