On a Lovely Sunny Day...
don't underestimate how strong the sun is in the UK
If you are planning a summer holiday don't let the sun ruin your holiday or health.
I am definitely a very sensible sun worshipper these days, and you should be too if you are planning a summer holiday. You may love the outdoors but the sun is harsh to your skin. Wrinkles and age spots are the least of it. The sun can aggravate medical conditions, interfere with prescriptive drugs, and cause skin cancer.
When you have kids it's vital for you to protect their skin from the sun too. Little babies should be kept out of the sun completely. It's much harder to keep the toddlers out of sun, so we need to be vigilant and never worry about being over protective.
Obviously, staying inside is the best way to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays but not very realistic. Minimize your exposure and still enjoy the outdoors by avoiding the sun between the hours of 10 and 3p.m. when the sun's ultraviolet rays are the strongest. Try to schedule outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon when the UV rays are weaker.
A good rule to follow: if your shadow is shorter than you, stay out of the sun. The shorter the shadow, the stronger the sun. Stay out of the sun when the UV index is high in your area. Check the UV index every day on Met Office websites, Newspapers, TV and radio weather reports.
Use the sun cream - You will still tan I can assure you and save yourself looking like a lobster in the meantime!
Be prepared, buy and pack the sun cream before you leave for your holiday. You can buy sun cream at any pharmacy, grocery store or supermarket.
You must apply sunscreen every time you go outside. It rubs or washes off and must be reapplied regularly.
My favourite suncream is the Sunsense. It is also waterproof for 4 hours. The best bit is that it protects against UVA and UVB - both of which can cause skin cancers. On normal daily basis I use SunSense tinted face moisturiser/sun cream as it's not greasy and gives my skin a nice tone and feel.
Which? Have found that some of the cheap sun creams have far lower levels of sun protection than is claimed on the label. It's more pricey but without doubt it's worthy to stick to well-known brands (or, for good value for money for the same level of protection, own-label chain-store products).
Choose a cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of between 15 and 30. The SPF must be clearly displayed on the label. Many sun creams aimed at children will have an SPF higher than 30, but don't rely on them actually giving your child total protection, and remember to reapply regularly. www.medterms.com
Wear a hat...
The sun hat is essential for sun protection. You will probably have to 'wrestle' the babies to keep the hat on their head. It's a good idea to buy a hat with ties or elasticated fit that will help to resist the little hands. The 'army legionnaire' style hat with a flap at the back is probably the most effective at protecting the whole of babies head and neck. Wide-brimmed hats are a good alternative.
A 20-point increase in the SPF doesn't give a corresponding increase in protection. There is concern that buying sun creams with a higher SPF than 30 leads parents into a false sense of security about how long their children can be exposed to the sun.
Wear UV rated sunglasses...
Wear proper sun protection for your eyes. Because our eyes are so sensitive, sunglasses need to be UV rated to block 99-100% of UV rays to be effective. I would advice everybody to buy sunglasses from the optician or pharmacy. I wouldn't trust the protection I would get from sunglasses bought for £3.00 at the beach shop. You should also buy UV rated sunglasses for your kids. Lots of opticians have funky colourful selections of children's sunglasses these days.
Wear a Sun-safe clothing...
Summer clothing doesn't provide much sun protection.
Often, too much skin remains exposed and summer weight fabrics and clothing actually lets through an astonishing amount of the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. Wear clothing that is lightweight, loose fitting and made of tightly woven fabric. Remember, if you can see light through the fabric, you can burn. Wet clothes allow the sun to pass through even more easily! Did you know that a cotton T-shirt has a UPF rating of 5 to 8. To be sun protection effective, the fabric should have a UPF rating of at least 30 or above.
If you want to be sure of maximum protection, you can buy special clothes that guarantee to let through only the tiniest amounts of UV rays. Look for clothes with the label 'prevents sunburn'. Clothes with this claim will have reached British Standard 7949, which sets a strict sun protection standard for children's clothes.
Remember it really is important to take the steps needed to allow your whole family to enjoy sunny summer holiday.
By Lucie Nedvedova
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