7 ways to keep your skin safe this summer!

What is dangerous about the Sun

Sun safety

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a form of non-ionizing radiation that is emitted by the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds. While it has some benefits for people, including the creation of Vitamin D, it also can cause serious health risks and premature ageing of the skin.

  • Our natural source of UV radiation:
    • The sun
  • Some artificial sources of UV radiation include:
    • Tanning beds
    • Some halogen, fluorescent, and incandescent lights

Risks of UV

  • Sunburn is a sign of short-term overexposure, while premature ageing and skin cancer are side effects of prolonged UV exposure.
  • UV exposure increases the risk of potentially blinding eye diseases, if eye protection is not used.
  • Overexposure to UV radiation can lead to serious health issues, including cancer.

What can protect us

Sun Protection Factor or SPF is a measure of how effectively a sunscreen product can protect your skin from the harmful effects of the suns uv radiation.

SPF is a fairly recent innovation, however people protected themselves over the years with hats, veils and umbrellas.

SPF ratings as we know it, was founded by a chemist in 1962. It is rated in numerical value such as SPF 15, SPF 30 etc. This is based on MINIMAL ERYTHEMA DOSE (MED) which means how long it takes to make the skin turn red (burn).

I am white, with blonde hair and naturally pale skin, I don’t burn straight away, but if I went in the direct sun with no protection my face would redden in about 10 minutes. If it takes your skin 10 minutes to burn a factor of 30 (SPF 30) would mean I would be protected for 300 minutes which is 5 hours before I burn.

This is assuming I have applied the correct amount, as in my clinic I ask clients how much they use on their face and sometimes a thin smear all over the face will not amount to the SPF!!

How much SPF do I need to put on?

A lot! It is important to apply suncream liberally and not to rub it in.

Ideally 15-30 minutes before going into the sun. UV rays are around even if the sun isn’t shining and not just in summer.

If you sweat, swim, or use a towel it will come off so it needs to be reapplied.

As above check the SPF for your sunburn/skin type for example I would need to reapply SPF 30 after 5 hours of exposure.

SPF application

7 Ways to protect yourself from UV radiation:

  • Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs.
  • Consider options to protect your children.
  • Wear a wide brim hat to shade your face, head, ears, and neck.
  • Wear wraparound sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Use sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) 50 or higher, for both UVA and UVB protection.
  • Avoid indoor tanning. Indoor tanning is particularly dangerous for younger users; people who begin indoor tanning during adolescence or early adulthood have a higher risk of developing melanoma.

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