Sunscreen – Save Your Own Skin! Simple, Clear Advice
With summer holiday and back packing season well and truly upon us I want to take this opportunity to share with you some simple, clear advice to keep you healthy in the sun. Of course, this advice is just as relevant at home too.
You’d look after your heart, your lungs, your brain and all your other organs. So you really ought to look after the largest organ of your body as well. Your skin.
My own parents were sun worshippers for decades, jetting off each year to the sun and coming back with deep, dark tans. Now, most likely as a result of excessive sun damage, my dad has twice had pre-cancerous moles removed just in time. Now he can only go in the sun fully covered up and wearing maximum protection sunscreen.
I also know people in their 20s and 30s who have been diagnosed with skin cancer.
This post is try and ensure you protect yourself and avoid that.
Sunscreen: Two Simple Things To Remember
If you take nothing else away from this, there are only two simple things you need to look at when choosing a sunscreen – just remember my travel tip below.
- SPF (Sun Protection Factor – from 5-50)
- UVA Star Rating (from 1-5 stars)
Travel Tip: Select a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30, increasing this to 50 if you’re going swimming or are by the sea. Whatever the SPF I personally recommend you ensure it has a maximum 5 star UVA Rating.
The National Health Service (NHS) advises a minimum SPF of 15 and minimum UVA rating of 4. My personal view is, why take the chance when better protection is available?
Sunscreen: Do Not Assume Brands Are Better
Do not assume because you have purchased a leading brand of sunscreen that you have ensured the best protection for your skin.
It is quite possible, for example, to select a leading brand at a relatively high protection of SPF 30 only to find on the small print on the back of the bottle that it’s UVA rating is only 3 stars! This needlessly allows harmful UVA radiation to penetrate deep into your skin and many people are completely unaware of this.
Boots Soltan sunscreen range always has a maximum five star UVA protection rating – regardless of the SPF. It’s also an own brand, so it’s good value for money too. It’s around £6 a bottle and can often be bought on 3-4-2 offers. You can choose from different formulae and application types to suit your own preferences too.
Of course there are many other brands available, the choice is yours. The key is just to make sure you remember the two simple things above.
Harmful Radiation: In More Detail
There are two types of radiation the sun emits that damages your skin, UVA and UVB. Actually there is a third, UVC, but largely it does not make it through the earth’s protective ozone layer.
UVB radiation – this is the radiation that will visibly cause your skin to burn. UVB radiation does not penetrate far beneath the surface of your skin.
UVA radiation – this is the radiation that will penetrate deep into your skin and cause long-term skin damage, including premature ageing and damaging skin cells where most skin cancers occur.
This is why you need a sunscreen offering good protection against both types of radiation
Further information on staying safe in the sun can be found on the from the NHS. If you notice any changes in your moles or skin see your doctor without delay. It might just save your your own skin.