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Guarding Your Glow: Essential Tips for Sun Protection

Sun Tips | Private Medical Insurance

As the warm rays of sunshine beckon us outdoors, it's important to remember that soaking up the sun comes with responsibilities. While sunlight offers numerous benefits, such as boosting our mood and providing essential vitamin D, it also carries potential risks – primarily in the form of harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause skin cancer.

UV Radiation: Understanding the Basics  

The sun emits various types of UV rays, categorised by UVA, UVB and UVC. As mentioned above, exposure of UV radiation can be harmful, with the impact ranging from premature skin aging to skin cancer. But what do these terms mean, and what’s the difference?

UVA rays are the weakest, and can make our skin age faster. Too much exposure might lead to the formation of wrinkles, fine lines and age spots. They can even play a role in the development of skin cancers.

UVB rays are stronger. They can cause our skin to turn red and burn, and likewise can contribute to skin cancers over time.

UVC rays are the strongest, but luckily, they mostly get blocked by the Earth’s air layer before reaching us. UVC rays can be used to kill harmful germs, but are very dangerous to our skin and health.

Taking precautionary measures enables you to enjoy the summer sun without running the risk of harming your health.

Essential Tips for Sun Protection

1. Using Sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or Above

Sunscreen acts as a protective barrier between your skin and the sun's harmful UV rays. Sunscreen should be considered a healthcare essential, and opting for one with an SPF of 15 or above is your first line of defence.

So how does it work? SPF indicates the level of protection a sunscreen offers against UVB rays. Applying a generous amount about 15 minutes before sun exposure can significantly reduce your risk of sun damage.

Another good factor to look out for is the UVA star rating on the label. The system has been adopted by a number of countries, particularly in the EU, to indicate the level of protection provided by the product. Try looking out for anything that’s 4 stars or above, as this indicates very high protection.

2. Seeking Shade for Added Protection

While the allure of a sunny day is hard to resist, spending extended periods in direct sunlight can increase your risk of skin damage. Whenever possible, seek out shady spots, especially during peak sunlight hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

3. Wearing Protective Clothing

Clothing serves as a physical barrier against UV radiation, and choosing the right attire can greatly enhance your sun protection. Opt for lightweight, tightly-woven fabrics that cover as much skin as possible. Long-sleeved shirts, wide-brimmed hats, and sunglasses with UV protection can shield your skin, scalp, and eyes from the sun's damaging effects. Don't forget to pay attention to clothing colour – darker colours tend to offer better UV protection than lighter shades.

4. Reapplying Sunscreen

Applying sunscreen once at the beginning of the day is a good start, but it's not enough to provide all-day protection – make a habit to reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you've been in the water or sweating. Be thorough and make sure you cover all exposed areas, not forgetting your lips and scalp.

Basking in the sun's warmth and light is one of life's simple pleasures, but safeguarding your skin from its potential hazards should be a top priority. If you experience severe sunburn and symptoms, such as a blistered skin or a temperature, it’s important to give your GP a call.

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Did you know that when you take out a Private Health Insurance policy with us we include free 24/7 Health and Wellbeing support, offering a range of great services? So, you have access to support whenever you may need it. Click the link for your free quote.

This content is subject to our Disclaimer.

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