We all love to see the sun shining in Ireland and limited exposure to sunlight (5- 15 minutes on hands, face and neck three times a week) can help increase our vitamin D levels.
Skin cancer is now the most common cancer in Ireland and most cases are caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Therefore, it is important that we protect our skin from April to September, even in Irish weather.
If we over expose our skin to the sun’s UV rays it becomes red and painful – sunburned. Severe sunburn can cause blistering, swelling of the skin and heatstroke (dizziness, headaches & nausea). Exposure to UV radiation can also lead to eye damage, skin drying and premature wrinkling.
How do I protect my skin against the sun?
You should protect your skin against the sun’s UV rays regardless of skin type. If you have fair skin, you will need to be extra careful as this skin type burns easily. Try to keep the following in mind to ensure maximum protection;
- Seek shade – especially when the sun is at its hottest (around 11am to 3pm).
- Slip on some clothes – wearing light, long sleeved or long-legged clothing will help protect your skin against harmful UV radiation and is very important where children are concerned.
- Slap on a hat – A wide brimmed hat or other styles that give protection to the face, neck, heads and ears are best. Be a good role model for children by wearing a sunhat and encouraging them to do the same.
- Sunglasses – Make sure to choose glasses that offer UV protection. Wrap around styles are ideal.
- Sunscreen – Use a sunscreen that feels good on your skin. It should offer a broad spectrum of protection against the various UV rays. UVA ratings are usually indicated by the presence of a star rating or UVA symbol. UVB protection is indicated by the product SPF (sun protection factor). Always aim for high protection and choose child specific varieties to protect your little ones.
What is SPF?
The sun protection factor or SPF is a measure of the strength of the UVB (ultraviolet B radiation) protection. SPF’s can be seen rated on a range of 2 – 50+ offering a broad range of UVB protection. In Ireland a minimum of SPF 30 is recommended.
What is star rating?
The star rating is a measure of the amount of UVA protection. The higher the star rating, the stronger the protection. When choosing a star rated product always choose one with a minimum of 4 or 5 stars. The letters “UVA” inside a circle is a European marking. This means the UVA protection is at least one third of the SPF value and meets EU recommendations.
- Always apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure
- An average adult will need 35ml of product to cover their whole body
- Re-apply products every 2 hours and after swimming
- Water-resistant products are useful for water sports or if you will be sweating
- Take extra care in the sun if you have fair skin and always protect children and infants on sunny days
- Remember to drink extra water during hot weather
Remember that a sun product that feels pleasant on your skin means you are more likely to apply it when necessary. At Hickey’s Pharmacy, we have a range of quality sun products in store, for example, the La Roche Posay Anthelios range which offers a range of SPF 30 – SPF 50 products. This range is dermatologically tested and easy to apply. A variety of creams, fluids and gels are available to suit all product preferences as well as children’s varieties and pocket versions.
Other products that can be of benefit include:
- Thermal Spring Water – cools and refreshes skin that is sensitive and/or irritated by outside factors including the sun.
- After-sun – like La Roche Posay’s Posthelios range of cooling after-sun gels for the face and body.
Don’t hesitate to ask one of the team in store for advice on the right product for you or your family.