What’s your summer style? Golden goddess or burnt-to-a-crisp babe? Everyone’s skin reacts differently to the sun but you don’t have to be lobster-red to be at risk of skin damage. Even the perfect tanners out there amongst you need protection from UV rays, even if you’ve already got a base tan.
When we sunbathe, we’re exposing our bodies to two different types of rays; UVA and UVB. UVA make up most of the sun’s rays and can be responsible for all sorts of skin problems from premature aging and wrinkles to dangerous melanomas. UVB rays are even more dangerous and cause sunburns, eye damage and skin cancers.
Wearing sunscreen protects us by scattering and absorbing UV rays before they have a chance to penetrate the skin and cause damage but you need to make sure you’re using the right one. Choose a broad-spectrum lotion that will protect you against both UVA and UVB rays and go for a SPF of at least 20 (some specialist even recommend a minimum of SPF30 to really protect your skin). A water-resistant brand is a good idea if you’ll be swimming, as is as topping up every two hours or so to make sure your lotion hasn’t worn off.
Sadly for sun worshippers, sun lotion by itself isn’t enough to prevent skin damage and it’s also recommended to stay out of the sun during the hottest midday hours or to cover up if you’re out and about (that includes UV-protective sunglasses to stop eye damage too!).
“But what if I tan really well or already have dark skin?” We hear you cry. We’re afraid that’s no get-out-of-jail-free card either. While fair people do have to take extra precautions in the sun, those who tan well or have dark skin aren’t immune to UV damage and should make sure to protect themselves too.
If that all sounds like a lot of hassle, remember that you don’t have to lay out in the sun to achieve a golden glow. Instead of putting your skin at risk, why not stay out of the sun and try fake tanning instead? Alternatively, if you simply must sunbathe this summer, try using a tanning accelerator to get the same colour with less time in the sun. Easy!