10 top sun protection tips

With Sun Awareness Week taking place from May 14 - 20, 2018, now’s a good time to boost your know-how of staying safe in the sun – especially if you were caught out by the recent blast of sunny weather.

Here are some of the important points you should remind yourself about protecting your skin in the sun, as detailed by the British Photodermatology Group, a special interest society of the British Association of Dermatologists.

  • Excessive exposure to the sun, particularly from a young age, is the main cause of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer, and also skin ageing.
  • If you have fair skin that burns easily with lots of moles or freckles, red or fair hair and light-coloured eyes, you have the highest risk of sun-related skin damage.
  • To reduce your risk of sun-related skin damage, limit your exposure to the sun from 11am to 3pm during warm weather from April to September in the UK and year-round in tropical areas. Even outside these hours, try to limit the amount of time your skin is exposed to the sun.
  • If you can’t avoid going out into the sun at these times, stay in the shade whenever you can, and wear close-weave, loose-fitting clothes to cover as much of your skin as possible. Don’t forget to protect your face, neck and ears with a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Any areas of skin that can’t be covered with clothing should be protected with sunscreen. Use an SPF of 30 or higher plus high UVA protection (check the label for details). Apply liberally 15 – 30 minutes before going in the sun, then again 15 – 30 minutes after your skin has been exposed and repeat the application every couple of hours.
  • Always reapply sunscreen after swimming or exercise and sweating. And remember, sunscreens shouldn’t be used as an excuse to stay out in the sun for longer.
  • Practise sun safety even if it’s cloudy, as your skin can still burn (unless the cloud cover is very dense). And remember it’s easier to burn when you’re at high altitude or if the sun is reflected by snow, white sand or white concrete.
  • Fake tan products can make your skin look darker, but they provide very low levels of protection against sun exposure, so don’t rely on them to keep your skin safe.
  • However try not avoid the sun completely, as brief sun exposure – well below that which may lead to sunburn – can help your body make the vitamin D it needs.
  • Avoid using sunbeds, as they significantly increase your risk of skin cancer. This is because most people don’t use sun protection when they’re using sunbeds. It’s also a myth that using sunbeds before going on holiday helps boost your skin’s natural protection against the sun.

Your local Careway pharmacist can also offer advice to help keep your skin safe in the sun. They will have a range of sun protection products in stock – ask your pharmacist to recommend the ideal sunscreen for your skin type.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.