Sun Care

Looking after your skin is important year-round but particularly in the sunny weather! While most people enjoy a heat-wave or holiday to a hot destination, it's important you protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays in order to ward off dangerous diseases later in life (like skin cancer).

Protect your skin from damage with our wide product range including a variety of SPF levels and products that you need only apply once a day.

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Although most people love nothing more than sunbathing and trying to get a tan, the sun doesn’t actually do our skin much good. Sure, it triggers the synthesis of vitamin D in the body, which then helps with our immune system and good bone health. But other than that, most of the effects of the sun on our skin and bodies is harmful rather than beneficial.

The sun radiates UV rays, which are damaging to the skin; not only do they cause sunburn but they also cause premature ageing. This is because they damage the elastin fibres in the skin, producing more wrinkles and fine lines.

Even though most people enjoy having a tan and feel that it looks great, exposure to the sun can actually cause a plethora of health problems. It can cause serious issues like pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions, as well as benign tumours. It’s also responsible for more cosmetic issues such as freckles, wrinkles, skin discolouration and sagging skin.

The sun’s UV rays can be split into two specific categories; UVA and UVB rays. The main difference between the two is how deeply they are able to penetrate the skin.

UVB rays only reach the top few layers of skin, so these are the ones responsible for any immediate effects. This means that a tan, or indeed, sunburn is caused by UVB rays, as are free radicals and cancer. This type is the more intense of the two and they are much stronger between 10am and 4pm and during the summer months (apart from on the equator, where this differs less).

UVA rays penetrate much deeper into the skin, as they have the longest wavelength. They are less intense than UVB rays, hence why they don’t cause immediate effects (like sunburn) but they are still damaging. Prolonged exposure to UVA rays can have an ageing effect over time and can cause wrinkles, a loss of skin elasticity and damage to collagen.

Sun Cream / Sun Tan Lotion

While you may enjoy time spent in the great outdoors, it’s important to ensure you do it safely. Thankfully, there are a vast number of sun care products available that all promise to protect your skin in the sun for a varying amount of time.

An indicator of how well any given product will protect you in the sun is the SPF. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) is given as a number on any product and this indicates how much longer it will protect you in the sun than what you would be naturally.

So if you use an SPF20 product, it will protect you in the sun for 20 times as long as what it would normally take your skin to start burning, if you weren’t wearing any protection. If you use an SPF50 product, it will protect you for 50 times as long.

When choosing a sun care product, you should do this based on your own skin type; if you have fair skin, a lot of moles or very freckled skin then you should choose a much higher SPF than someone with naturally dark or olive-toned skin.

Most people know that they should protect themselves from the sun in hot, sunny climates (like on a summer holiday or during a heatwave) but you should actually be using an SPF product every day. Even though UV rays are at their most intense in summer, they are still penetrating the skin on days that it doesn’t feel particularly hot. UVA rays are present in all daylight and as these are the ones that cause long-term damage (such as ageing), it’s one that you won’t notice the effects of until it’s too late.

It’s especially important to protect your skin in the heat but for healthy skin, you should be using products with SPF year-round (you can get a lot of makeup and skincare products with this built-in) and paying extra close attention in times where the sun is strong but the heat isn’t (like when skiing). You should also avoid any unnecessary exposure to additional UV rays by avoiding the use of sunbeds.

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Content author

Scott Weaver

Medical Content Writer • Bachelor of Arts Degree

Scott is an experienced, skilled content writer dedicated to creating helpful and accessible medical content for UK Meds.

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