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What sun cream should I buy and when do I apply?

14 Jun 2017

 
Woohoo, the summer has arrived! And then disappeared and then come back again! But no matter where you’re holidaying, be it Greece, Croatia or your back garden, there is something that you positively, most definitely, absolutely must not neglect to use sun cream!

Here are our dos, don’ts and other tips about which sun cream to buy and when and where to apply. 

Do wear sunscreen

If the kids wear it and the ladies wear it…gents, you have to wear it too! Sun cream, sun lotion, sunscreen, whatever you call it, holidaying without it can be the difference between a lovely tan and a few days laid-up in bed, enjoying a bout of sunstroke. Think about it.

Do lather it on

Some sun creams are more expensive than others, but protection against the sun is not something to budget about. Spread evenly and liberally. 

Do re-apply regularly

The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) does not mean that the higher the number the less you use it. If you swim, re-apply. If you take a nap – re-apply upon awakening. A good rule-of-thumb is to re-apply hourly. If you can’t remember when you applied… you guessed it – re-apply!

sunblock

Do wear a hat

Hats, light scarfs, bandanas, shirts, whatever you like – wear them. Many tourists use umbrellas to ward-off the sun’s rays. Obviously, as British people, we are generally used to the rain, so while you plan for the bronzed skin and the oohs and ahhs upon your return, remember to be careful.

Do alternate

Creams are better than sprays. FACT. They are thinker and add more protection. Sprays may be easier and lighter, but creams last longer. 

Do your homework

Look at the ingredients, check the awards and be sure the SPF is right for you. Also, some come with a free lilo or inflatable ring – that’s nice.
 

Don’t buy Vitamin A inclusive sun protection

Studies in the USA suggest that Vitamin A rich sun protection may increase the risk of skin tumours. So why is it in there at all? Vitamin A is seen as an anti-aging ingredient and most people buying any kind of skin product actively look for this element in their product. While the studies are not definitive, there are hundreds of options out there…why take the risk?

What is SPF?

SPF or Sun Protection Factor is the number that relates to the level of protection your sun cream provides. For example, if you use SPF 30 that means 1/30th of the UV rays responsible for burning your skin will penetrate the lotion you have used. A liberal squeeze on the palm of the hand and a good distribution over your forearm, calf etc., is recommended, then the same again in all other areas. Basically, if once applied you look milky-white, then you’re doing it right. Remember, skin-types differ.

UVA vs UVB

It’s written all over your bottles, but what’s the difference and why should I care?
Sunlight include two rather harmful rays – UVA (ultraviolet A) and UVB (ultraviolet B) and both can be responsible for harming your skin, causing wrinkling and premature aging, suppression of your immune system, burning and the development of cancer cells. That’s why you should care. Whatever protection you buy, make sure it includes both UVA and UVB.

Skin Type

Skin type is rated from 1-6 and carries a points system. Here is a guide to defining your skin sensitivity to UV rays and what level of protection you require. 
The lighter skinned you are, the more likely you are to suffer the effects of UV rays and incur a bout of sunburn. Sun cream should be the first thing that goes in your luggage!

Reminder: Don’t forget the back of your ears, neck and the back of your legs!
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