I think most of us like to get a “healthy glow” in the summer. After months of dark winter days, the summer months are welcomed with open arms. The feeling of sun on my face whilst lounging in the garden or sipping a glass of cold wine encapsulates just why I love summer but it’s safe to say I often do this without considering SPF.
I’m not going to tell you to wear full length clothes at all times or never sunbathe again – it’s just not realistic. We all love going on holiday and it’s normal to want to make the most of our time in the sun whilst we have it. That said, there are a few simple things you can do which won’t feel like your sacrificing your holiday for your skin and may just prevent skin cancer in the future.
In the summer I often use fake tan to give me a healthy glow on holiday. Not only does it make me feel more confident in swimwear but it takes off the “pressure” of getting a tan too. I’ll sunbathe for a while to enjoy the feeling of the sun on my skin but as soon as I get hot and bothered I’ll head for the shade. Having a tan already means I’ve got the glow I’m looking for and don’t need to be a slave to the sunbed. My freckles come out with just a hint of sunshine so I still go home with that post- holiday glow. It’s a win win situation.
AVOID THE STRONGEST RAYS
Between 11 am – 3pm the sun’s rays are at their strongest and will do the most damage. Try to seek shade during this time- have a long lunch, grab a drink or amble around the shops before heading back to the beach in the late afternoon.
BE LIBERAL WITH YOUR SUNCREAM
I’m as guilty as anyone when it comes to applying suncream regularly but it’s something I’m going to be more conscious of this summer. To read more about which suncream to choose have a look at this earlier article in The Skin Series to guide you.
You should apply suncream 20-30 minutes before going in the sun and apply it to all areas that are going to see the sun. Don’t forget areas like your ears and your hands & feet. I find it works best to apply it over your whole body before going outside- trying to negotiate your swimwear and your dignity by applying it on the beach always ends in a few burned patches at the end of the day in my experience. Girls, think groin and under boob! Ouch.
You should reapply your suncream every 2 hours (I know, right?) and after going in water, sweating a lot or towel drying. Now covering up doesn’t seem like such a bad idea…
Fortunately, covering up can be rather glamorous. Think wide-rimmed hats, big sunglasses and a floating kaftan and suddenly avoiding the sun doesn’t seem so bad.
Wide rimmed hats are great as they shade your face, ears and neck- common places for developing skin cancer.
Make sure your sunglasses are UV protective before you buy them- if you don’t check you may end up just wearing tinted plastic which isn’t going to be good for your eyes!
Whilst on holiday in Italy recently I loved covering up in a loose white shirt. As well as looking good, it meant I could sit out in the sunshine without constantly worrying if my shoulders were burning or feel like I was applying suncream every 2 minutes.
LOOK AFTER YOUR SUNCREAM
Like anything, suncream has a shelf life. Suncream should be replaced every 2-3 years, so if you find some at the back of your bathroom cupboard check whether it’s in date, and if you’re not sure you should probably replace it.
Suncream can also “go off” if left in direct sunlight for too long, so try and keep it somewhere cool and shaded. If you’re buying suncream abroad steer clear of suncreams that are on display outside or in the window. Who knows how long they’ve been sitting there…
BEWARE OF CLOUDS AND WATER!
I’m sure we’ve all been unexpectedly burned while swimming or on a cloudy day. Unfortunately, it’s still possible to burn in water or through clouds so be sure to take extra care. If you’re going for a long swim, apply your suncream before going in the water and similarly on a cloudy day either cover up or lather on more of that suncream.
AND JUST REMEMBER…
That there is no such thing as a healthy tan. I’m afraid that any tan is a sign of skin damage, however good it looks 🙁
So, I’ll be faking it from now on, how about you?
ALSO IN THE SKIN SERIES: