Nobody wants to spend the entire summer indoors, and indeed some sunshine, below sunburn level, can be good for us, helping the body to create vitamin D and giving many of us a feeling of general wellbeing, as we enjoy taking walks in the sunshine and enjoying outdoors summer activities.
However, all too often we over-do our sun exposure which can lead to a range of skin problems, the most serious of which include skin cancer.
Ultra Violet radiation from the sun is in three wavelengths – UVA, UVB and UVC.
- UVA causes the skin to become leathery and wrinkled as well as causing skin disease
- UVB, causes sunburn, which has strong links to skin disease
- UVC does not penetrate the earth’s atmosphere, so we don’t need to worry about that so much.
When you are buying suncreams or sunglasses you should check what they are supposed to protect against – UVA or UVB or both?
When you are buying a sunscreen cream you should look to see what sun protection factor it offers. This is called SPF. New labelling will state whether the SPF is low, medium, high or very high:
|Low protection||6 to 14 (i.e. SPF 6 and 10)|
|Medium protection||15 to 29 (i.e. SPF 15, 20 and 25)|
|High protection||30 to 50 (i.e. SPF 30 and 50)|
|Very high protection||50 + (i.e. SPF 50+)|
Exactly what sort of protection you need will depend on your skin type
But there are other things you can do to stay safe in the sun and protect yourself from skin disease:
Wear loose, cool clothing
Spend time in the shade – especially between 11 and 3 – the hottest part of the day
Drink plenty of water
And how about those words? How are they supposed to help? The messages they are designed to prompt give good sound advice as shown below.
- SQUIRT on some sunscreen
- SLURP some water
- SLIDE on a hat
- SEEK the shade