Advice on sun safety

Your pharmacists’ advice for taking care in the sun over the summer holidays

The summer is a great time of year when we can all really enjoy the heat of the sun and make the most of the great outdoors. However if we are not careful the sun can be harmful and the ultraviolet radiation from the sun can age the skin prematurely, and cause sunburn as well as skin cancer.

To protect against sunburn:

  • Slip on some protective clothing, such as long sleeves, trousers or skirts
  • Slop on sunscreen, SPF30 or higher and apply to all areas that haven’t been covered up
  • Slap on a wide brim hat
  • Wrap on a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes
  • Stay in the shade and out of the sun, especially when the sun is strongest

What sunscreen should I choose?

Broad spectrum sunscreens protect from both UV A and UV B radiation and is recommended as are sunscreens with higher sun protection factors (SPF) e.g. SPF30. If you have sensitive skin try different sunscreens until you find one that is suitable for your skin type.

How much sunscreen do I need to use?

Self Care Pharmacists recommend at least one teaspoon for each arm and leg and half a teaspoon for your face, nose, ears and neck. More people get sunburned on their face and neck than any other part of the body, so apply well in these areas and don’t forget the ears! Apply sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before going outdoors and re-apply often (every 2 hours). This needs to be done even if it isn’t sunny, as the sunscreen gets worn off, or rubbed off and comes off after swimming.Look after your sunscreens.Just like our skin, sunscreens ‘age’ in the sun and heat, and their UV-protecting properties can be destroyed.So don’t leave them in the sun, or in the car’s glove box for too long.Also, don’t keep them past their ‘use by’ dates as they do lose their effectiveness.