Everyone wants to come home from a holiday with a gorgeous tan, but without the right sun protection, you’re risking your health and ageing your skin at a much faster rate. I have put together this guide to help you know what to look out for, as well as some of my favourite sun-proof products perfect for long summer days and beach trips.
Fake tan is your best friend – why would you damage your skin for the sake of a tan when you can achieve the same results safely with fake tanning? Discover which products I recommend and why I love them.
Suncream – what to buy
Suncream is a necessity, but how much do you actually know about it? SPF stands for ‘sun protection factor’ and is a measurement of the amount of ultraviolet B radiation protection (more commonly known as UVB). But when shopping for a suncream, you must also be aware of its UVA rating.
The UVA star rating is a measurement of the amount of ultraviolet A radiation protection. Look for creams with at least 4 stars (the higher the better, up to 5 stars). There are suncreams that offer both UVB and UVA protection and these are sometimes called ‘broad spectrum’ suncreams.
- Suncreams with a minimum of SPF 30 (UVB protection)
- Suncreams with a 5 star rating (UVA protection)
Suncream – when to apply
You should make sure you apply a good amount of suncream 30 mins before going out in the sun. Always apply to your face, anything sticking out like your shoulders and any moles – though best to just cover everywhere in suncream! If the layer is too thin, the amount of sun protection will be reduced.
Suncream needs to be reapplied frequently and liberally, including straight after you’ve been in water (even if it says “water resistant”), after towel drying and sweating. The cooling effect of water can make you think you’re not burning, but in fact water reflects UV rays and actually increases your exposure to the sun.
- Apply everywhere and reapply frequently
- Reapply after swimming even if it says “water resistant”
Clothing & sunglasses
It is possible to look cute and wear sun-protective clothing – there’s loads of beautiful cover-ups and beach dresses out there, and of course don’t forget to wear a hat. Even if you don’t wear these items all the time, make sure you bring them with you.
As for sunglasses, look for the CE Mark and European Standard EN 1836:2005. A day at the beach without proper eye protection can cause a temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye, similar to sunburn. Never look at the sun directly without protection!
- Cover-ups, beach dresses and a hat
- Sunglasses with CE Mark and European Standard EN 1836:2005
How to treat sunburn
If you still manage to get sunburnt, you need to carefully sponge the skin with cool water and then apply aftersun lotion to soothe. Stay out of the sun until the redness has gone.
You can also take painkillers to ease the pain and reduce the inflammation, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen. If the skin starts to swell or blister, or if you feel unwell with it, you should seek medical advice.
- Cool water and soothe with aftersun lotion
- Take paracetamol or ibuprofen to reduce inflammation
Who should take extra care?
If you have pale skin, freckles or red hair, you could be at greater risk of sun damage. As well as your skin type, if you have any skin problems relating to a medical condition or a family history of skin cancer, you should take extra care too.
Also, if you have any moles you must be particularly cautious in the sun. Make sure your moles are always protected with suncream, clothing and shade when possible. Keep an eye out of any changes to your skin or your moles, such as a new mole or changes in size, shape or colour of existing moles, freckles or patches of skin. If you notice any of these changes, or a new growth or lump, seek medical advice immediately.
- Pale skin types and redheads
- If you have moles or lots of freckles, always keep them protected
My favourite products
For face suncream, I absolutely love the La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra-Light Sun Cream Fluid SPF 50+. It’s really lightweight meaning it doesn’t feel cakey under your makeup.
For body suncream, it has to be the Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration Protective Sun Lotion SPF 30, because it hydrates as well as protects and leaves your skin shiny and soft.
House of CB do the most amazing everything, including cover-ups, like this sheer black maxi dress. I also really love cover-up two pieces at the moment (crop top and trousers or crop top and skirt).
I hope you found this guide to sun protection helpful! Let me know in the comments below or if you have any questions, feel free to send me a message. For more travel tips, take a look at my post on travel-friendly beauty for all budgets.