Exposing your skin to the sun can cause damage and sunburn, even here in Scotland.
In the UK the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm from the months of March through to October. The safest way to protect your skin is to cover up, stay out of the sun and wear a sunscreen with a factor of at least SPF15.
Sunscreens have two different protection ratings on them. These show how effective the product is at protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for something that has at least a four star UVA rating. This is usually shown on the back of the packaging with the letters UVA inside a circle. This indicates that it meets EU standards for UVA protection. The higher the star rating the better. The SPF rating shows how well your product protects against UVB rays. SPFs range from 2 to 50+. Even once you have a tan always use a product with an SPF of at least 15 to protect your skin from harmful rays. Products that have both a high UVA and UVB rating are sometimes referred to as broad spectrum. These are the best products to protect your skin. Sun cream needs to be reapplied frequently especially after swimming or sporting activities. Check the expiry date of your cream as most only have a shelf-life of two to three years.
Remember to protect the skin on your scalp by either applying sun cream there or wearing a hat.
Don’t forget that you need to protect your eyes from the sun too. Try to wear sunglasses which wraparound or ones with wide legs. Always choose sunglasses with the CE mark and European standard EN 1836:2005 to ensure you are getting the best protection.
Where possible wear clothes and hats that will reduce your skin’s exposure to the sun. Choose long-sleeved tops and wide-brimmed hats to get the best protection.
Remember that young children’s skin is much more sensitive to the sun. Children under six months should be kept out of direct sunlight. Ensure that young children are covered with suitable clothing and hats. Apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 when they are exposed to the sun.
- Wear sunscreen all the time, not just when you are sunbathing
- Even if you don’t usually burn you should wear sunscreen, not all damage is visible
- Tanned skin can still burn
- Fake tan or sunbeds won’t prepare your skin for sun exposure
- Don’t be fooled into thinking you can’t get sunburned when it’s cloudy, UV rays penetrate clouds
- If you do get sunburn or prickly heat speak to your Pharmacist about how best to treat it