Spring is here, the sun is shining, and we’re finally allowed to socialise with friends – but how do you keep you and your family safe when enjoying this glorious weather? In this blog we talk all-things suncare, from what SPF actually means to how you should really apply your sunscreen.
What does sunscreen do?
First thing’s first, let’s get to grips with what sunscreen actually does. Depending on the SPF and ingredients, sunscreens are used to help minimise the amount of UVA and UVB rays that reach your skin.
What are UVB & UVA rays?
UVB rays are pretty harmful - they can cause sunburn and play a big part in many skin cancers.
UVA rays cause the type of skin damage that leads to a tan, but also premature ageing and wrinkles.
What about SPF?
So, what does that all mean to you? Well, if you regularly reapply a suncream with SPF30, you’re allowing just 3% of UVB rays to reach your skin. However, if you use a cream with SPF50, you’re only allowing 2% of UVB rays– that’s a huge difference between the two SPFs. So if it’s looking like a sunny day, grab the factor 50!
How do I apply sunscreen?
For a start, you should wear sunscreen everyday – even when it’s cloudy. Always try to keep at least an SPF15 in your bag or cupboard ready to apply before you leave the house. It might not feel sunny, but your skin will thank you later.
Secondly, don’t just apply protection to your bare arms, face or legs. You should apply it to your whole body, even under clothing, for optimum protection.
How much should I apply?
Based on expert advice, you should aim to apply around 2 tablespoons of suncream per square centimetre of skin – or until you see a sheen.
When should I apply sunscreen?
You should apply sunscreen around 30-minutes before you plan on heading outside, and then reapply every 2 hours for prolonged protection. However, if you’ve been out exercising or been for a swim you should reapply as soon as you’re dry, as water and sweat will reduce its effectiveness.
How long does sunscreen last?
If you’re applying your suncream correctly, you’ll probably use a bottle at least once a year. But, if you do ever discover some unopened, hiding in your cupboards, just remember that your sunscreen should last up to 3 years, after then it won’t be able to properly protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
However, if you discover an opened suncream, be sure to check the PAO symbol on the bottle for more info on how long it lasts.
Does sunscreen stop you from tanning?
Because sunscreen reduces the amount of UVA reaching your skin, it will prevent tanning to some extent. Tanning is caused by your skin’s natural reaction to inflammation. When inflammation is reduced, so is your tan.
But don’t worry about missing out, you can still achieve a gorgeous glow with a fake tan.
Best time to enjoy the sun
Although we’d all love to spend every second of the day outside in the sun, this isn’t always the best idea. To keep your skin healthy, you should always to try to make the most of the weather before midday, when the sun is at its brightest and hottest. If this can’t be helped, always come prepared with plenty of suncream and try to find a spot with shade – especially if you’ve got fair skin!
Soothe the burn
Sun burn can still happen, even when you’re super-careful. To keep your skin nourished and feeling healthy, always treat it to an after sun, preferably one with soothing aloe vera.
Ready to enjoy the sun safely? Keeping your skin safe 365 days of the year is what’s important and luckily for you we’ve got plenty of suncare options. From suncream for your kids to SPF-infused foundation, it’s time to get prepped for the sun.