We love summer; especially the warm glow of the sun and tranquil beach holidays. However the sun can also be damaging, so skin protection is vital.
Most of us know that sunscreen is an essential when jetting off to a tropical resort. However a lot of people don’t realise that sun protection is just as important back here in the UK .
Sleeping Beauty Director, Lilac Miller, recommends ‘sunscreen should be a staple in your everyday beauty routine, as it is the most powerful tool against skin cancer and premature skin ageing. People often assume they are only at risk in hot counties but UV rays are just as damaging on overcast days in the UK.’
Before you reach for your trusty bottle of SPF, it might be worth considering if it provides enough protection for both your holiday and daily needs.
UVA, UVB and SPF Explained
The important component in sunscreen is the SPF. SPF is the Sun Protection Factor against UVB radiation and the higher the number, the longer you can stay in the sun without burning. For instance SPF 30 enables you to stay in the sun 30 times longer than you could if you were not wearing protection.
UVA rays also pose a danger. Whereas UVB rays are the cause of skin cancer, UVA rays contribute to premature skin ageing, pigmentation and wrinkles. UVA rays also penetrate the skin more deeply, so a broad spectrum, high factor sunscreen is required.
Sun protection essentials:
- Study the packaging carefully to ensure both UVB/UVA rays are targeted
- Look for the phrase ‘broad spectrum’ or a circle containing ‘UVA’
- UVA star rating – choose products with a minimum of 4 stars
‘Remember to follow the application instructions and be sure to apply at least 30 minutes before you plan to go out in the sun, then again just before you leave, to allow enough time for it to get to work’ says Lilac.
The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) and the Met Office have developed the World UV App. This free app provides live UV ratings anywhere in the world, so you and your family can safely prepare for the sun. Download it here.
Skin Cancer Facts
Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in the UK.
According to the British Skin Foundation ‘at least 100,000 new cases are now diagnosed each year and the disease kills over 2,500 people each year in the UK - that's seven people every day.’
As well as using a high quality sunscreen, regularly check your skin for any changes including moles and pigmentation.
Here are the British Skin Cancer guidelines:
- Check your skin regularly for changes to moles or a patch of skin.
- Ask a friend or family member to check areas you can’t see easily such as ears, scalp and back.
- Look out for moles or patches of skin that are growing, changing shape, developing new colours, inflamed, bleeding, crusting, red around the edges, itchy or behaving unusually.
- If in doubt get it checked by your GP or dermatologist.
It is also vital that you pay attention to your skin type; fairer skin tones with freckles and red or light hair or those with lots of moles are more at risk than those with darker skin and hair. However that said; all skin types require a level of protection, even if you tan easily.
Sunbeds damage skin and cause premature ageing
‘Sunbeds are incredibly damaging for skin. This is mainly due to the concentrated levels of UV radiation, which can be more harmful than natural sunlight’ advises Lilac.
‘BAD also advises that sunbeds and sunlamps should not be used by anyone as they can lead to skin cancer and premature skin ageing.’
6 Top Tips for Healthy Skin
Lilac's top 6 tips for preventing skin damage:
1. Avoid the midday sun
Stay out of direct sunlight between the hours of 11am–3pm; this is when the sun is at its hottest and strongest.
2. Sunburn is damaging
Avoid sunburn at all costs; red inflamed skin is a sign that your skin is already damaged.
3. SPF 30 or above to prevent premature ageing
Use a high SPF (minimum 30) broad spectrum sunscreen. Ensure you study the packaging carefully and follow the application instructions. Reapply regularly, especially following swimming, towel drying and sweating. I particularly like Elizabeth Arden Pro Triple Action protector SPF 50 as it provides very high protection but also has a slight tint which is perfect for holidays.
4. Sunscreen is not always enough
Do not rely on sunscreen alone. Wear protective clothing also such as a wide-brimmed hat, t-shirt and sunglasses. This is particularly important for children.
5. Ditch the old bottles
Have a sunscreen clear out. Just like make up, sun protection also has an expiry date, so each year have a rummage through your cabinets and discard old bottles.
6. Check skin regularly
Check skin regularly for changes, pay close attention to moles and skin pigmentation. If in doubt consult a doctor.
Dr Paw Paw for dry flaky skin
For skin that is already dry and starting to flake we recommend Dr Paw Paw’s range of multi-purpose moisturising balms, which provide targeted relief for dry and irritated skin. The balms can be applied to skin, lips, cuticles and dry areas such as heels, hands and elbows plus are available in three shades. Purchase yours at any of our 5 Sleeping Beauty salons for just £6.95.
Fun in the Sun
The sun can be enjoyed by all, as long as sensible precautions are taken. Sun safety ensures you can relax on that exotic beach break, ski holiday or picnic in the UK countryside without the risk of cancer or wrinkles later on in life. Slather on the sunscreen – your skin will thank you for it.
For more information check out the following links: