There has never been a better time to talk about sun protection than now. Northern Ireland has not seen so many days of sunshine in years. We are experiencing proper summer days, like the ones we normally pay money to go sit on a sunny beach or sunbathe by the pool in another country. Sometimes you cannot beat sitting in the garden at home with a good food and glass of wine. I was listening to the radio a few days ago and the presenter was asking people to phone in with their holiday experiences, most people were saying they would rather stay at home when the weather is this good.
Is it just me, but I tend to think that home sunshine is not as strong as when we are on holiday, well I used to think that, now I know I have to protect at home as well as on holiday.
In the UK the sun is strongest between 11am and 3pm from March to October. On the NHS website the sun safety tips are:-
- Spend time in the shade
- Take measures to ensure you never burn
- Use suitable clothing to cover up
- Wear Sunglasses
- Use a minimum of factor 15 sunscreen
- Take extra care with children and babies
The sun protection factor or SPF as it is better known is the measurement of ultraviolet (UVB) protection. SPF’s are scaled from 2 to 50+ with 50+ offering the strongest UVB protection. The star rating measures UVA protection and should be at least four star.
Sun protection during many sports activities include golf, water sport, yachting, skiing and many more. A study investigated the behavior of 418 Dutch adults who planned a skiing holiday. Each was asked to complete a questionnaire before and after their ski trip. The questions included knowledge, risk perception, worry, attitude, social influence, self efficacy and intention. Results showed that despite their high intention 40% did not use sunscreen adequately during their ski holiday. Furthermore, one-fourth of the respondents reported at least one sunburn during their ski holiday. Men and younger respondents used sunscreen less frequently and were sunburnt more often. Sunscreen use was predicted by a positive attitude, high self-efficacy levels, high intention, high knowledge and high perceived risk. The background and psychosocial variables explained 32% of the total variance of sunscreen use.
Extra care should be taken in the sun if you have pale to fair skin, freckles, red or fair hair, moles or tend to burn easily or have a family history of cancer.
Babies skin is very sensitive and damage caused by repeated exposure could lead to skin cancer developing in later life.
Always remember sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer.
Clothing & sunglasses
Clothing is the first line of defense against the sun as well as using SPF, wearing long sleeved tops and trouser with a close woven fabric to block the sunlight getting through is ideal during the hottest parts of the day.
A wide brimmed hat that covers face, neck and ears and also keeps you cool. Wear sunglasses with wrap around lenses or ones with wide arms that have the CE mark and European Standard EN 1836:2005
Sun hazards in your car
I never thought about sun exposure whilst driving my car, but dermatologists in the USA observed that patients had more sun damage on one side of the body, resulting in wrinkles, leathering, sagging, brown age spots and even cancer. Research points to UVA radiation penetrating through car windows.
Remember UV exposure is cumulative, and skin that is exposed to sun shinning through window glass, even in the office, can over time lead to significant skin damage. Therefore use sun creams on arms, hands, neck and face, use the sun visors in your car and if you have tinted windows keep them closed and use the air conditioning.
For your eyes
The skin around the eyes is the thinnest skin on our body and should be protected with UV blocking sunglasses. By not wearing suitable protective sunglasses the sun can cause a temporary but painful burn on the surface of the eye.
It is estimated that 90% of ageing skin is due to sun exposure. If we want to keep those wrinkles and fine lines at bay wear a suncream and reapply often.
And finally ………Have fun in the sun
Protecting your skin from the sun doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself, do what you normally do, if its jet skiing, paddle boating, tennis, just reapply your SPF often ( about every hour).
We sell Environ and Dermalogica SPF’s in salon, please pop in for advice.