Protecting your skin from the sun is one of the most important things you can do for your health, both in the short term and in the long term. Spending too much time in the sun can cause burnt, damaged skin that can be flaky, red, and sore, this is known as sunburn. The painful side effects of sunburn usually clear within a few days, however, sun damage to the skin can be long-lasting. Aging skin, skin cancer, and other skin diseases are just some of the health problems that can occur due to long term exposure to the sun.
Although we can’t avoid exposing ourselves to the sun, we can protect our bodies from the sun’s damaging rays, particularly our skin. Sun care involves preventing sun damage but also caring for your skin after sun damage if this is the case. Here at Doctor 4 U, we have a range of products to provide durable protection against the sun’s harmful rays, UVA and UVB, so you can enjoy the sun without worrying about its damaging effects. Browse our range of sunscreens to prevent sun damage.
Our Health Care Team
"Protecting your skin from the sun is one of the simplest and most important things you can do for good health. Although the sun provides vital nutrients, burning your skin is serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly. Premature aging of the skin and skin cancer are some of the serious consequences of sun damage, but this can be prevented by taken simple precautions when you’re out and about in sunlight. What people don’t know is that we should be protecting our skin all year round even on the dull, cloudy days as we’re still exposed to harmful UV rays. "
Why is sun care important?
We need a certain amount of sun exposure to get vital nutrients such as vitamin D. The sun is the best source of vitamin D and when absorbed through the skin it gives us strong, healthy bones, and boosts our immunity, as well as many other health benefits. While the sun has its benefits it’s important not to overexpose ourselves to it, and instead protect our skin so that we still absorb its benefits but also avoid the damaging rays.
If we don’t protect our skin in the sun, we run the risk of developing serious health complications in the future. The immediate effect of sun damage is sunburn, this happens when the skin is exposed to the sun without any protection such as clothing or sunscreen, as a result, the sun’s harmful rays burn the skin causing it to be red, hot, sore, flaky, and sometimes blistering. Sunburn can be really uncomfortable and painful but it should clear within 7 days.
Repeated exposure to the sun without protection further damages the skin causing it to wrinkle, dry, and discolour, essentially it ages the skin prematurely. The biggest danger of sun damage is skin cancer. Certain skin cancer types such as basal cell carcinoma are caused by ultraviolet light (UV) radiation that is emitted from sunlight which penetrates deep into the skin’s layers to the skin cells and damages your DNA. According to Cancer Research UK, if you were to have sunburn every 2 years your risk of developing melanoma skin cancer is tripled. These are staggering statistics that show the dangers of exposing ourselves to the sun without protection, and this also applies to the use of sunbeds that emit artificial UV radiation.
Whilst protecting your skin from the sun it’s also important to be aware of the signs of skin cancer and regularly check your skin to spot symptoms early on. The most common sign of skin cancer is any changes to a freckle or mole, this includes changes to the shape or colour. It’s important to get to know what any of your existing moles and freckles look like and regularly check them so you can easily spot changes. Other signs of skin cancer include:
- You’ve developed a new growth or a sore that isn’t healing
- A bleeding, crusting, or scabby mole or growth
- The mole or growth may be sore and itchy
How to protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays
It’s vital to practice sun safety at all times to prevent serious health problems in the future. There are a number of ways you can protect yourself from sun damage, one of the most important things you can do is to make sure you never burn. Covering your skin with clothing and wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes is effective, but if it’s hard to avoid baring skin then you should always wear sunscreen. Your sunscreen should contain SPF (Sun Protection Factor) to defend against the two harmful UV rays from the sun, UVA and UVB. UVB rays can burn the outer layers of the skin and UVA rays can harm the skin at a deeper level by changing and damaging DNA and causing premature aging of the skin and skin cancer.
The SPF number is a measurement of the level of protection the sunscreen provides, and it’s recommended that we use a sunscreen with SPF 30 and UVA rating of 4 out of 5 stars. Look out for these stars and the factor number on sunscreen bottles so that you’re of the level of protection you’ll be getting.
You should also make sure you regularly reapply your sunscreen at least every 2 hours and particularly after you’ve been in water. Some sunscreens are water-resistant but always read the instructions on when and how to apply so you get the most protection from the product.
You can still enjoy the sun while in the shade so ensure that you spend time in the shade particularly between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is at its highest and you’re more likely to burn.
How should sunscreen be applied?
For the sunscreen to be effective it’s important that you apply it properly and each product will tell you how best to apply it whether it is a cream or spray. You should be applying more than you think, so if in doubt apply some more to be on the safe side.
Generally, adults should apply around two teaspoons of sunscreen for the head, neck, and arms, and around two tablespoons for the entire body. However, if it is applied thinly the amount of protection you get is reduced so always apply it generously. Apply the sunscreen to any skin that is exposed, paying particular attention to vulnerable areas such as shoulders, chest, nose, ears, and feet, and your head if you have thinning hair or are bald as these areas are highly likely to get sunburnt. Even if the sunscreen is water-resistant you must reapply if you’ve been sweating heavily or have dried yourself with a towel after being in water as you may have rubbed the sunscreen off.
What is the best sunscreen to use?
There are so many sunscreens to choose from that provide effective sun care for you and your family. Choosing the best sunscreen for you depends on your needs and the level of protection you need, however, most sunscreens have SPFs that range from 15 to 50+. Doctor 4 U recommends the Riemann P20 range if you’re looking for a long-lasting, high quality, water-resistant sunscreen that can be used by the whole family. Riemann P20 exceeds EU recommendations on UVA rating and SPF, it’s highly durable, provides up to 10 hours of protection from the sun, and is water-resistant. Using a sunscreen like Riemann P20 lets you enjoy the sun and have the peace of mind that you’re also protected against it.
How to treat sunburn
Preventing sunburn at all costs is vital, but if you have unintentionally for burnt buy the sun then there are ways of treating it and easing the pain. Firstly, if you thinking your skin is burning or you have burned, don’t spend any more time in the sun and get in the shade as soon as you can. You’ll need to cool the skin as it will feel hot, you can do this by dabbing your skin with a clean towel that is dampened with cold water, or take a cool bath or shower. It’s important to rehydrate your body after sunburning by drinking lots of water to avoid dehydration, this will also help to cool your body temperature. Apply an aftersun lotion or aloe vera gel or lotion to soothe the skin and continue to moisturise the skin to stop the peeling which may occur a few days later.
The purpose of treating sunburn is to ease the pain and discomfort but it won’t necessarily heal or reverse the damage of sunburn. Take painkillers if the sunburn is particularly painful but you must see your doctor if you’re experiencing heatstroke with symptoms such as very high temperature, shivering, tiredness, dizziness, blistering or swollen skin, and headache and muscle aches. If your baby or young child has sunburn you must see your GP as soon as possible.
Again, treating sunburn shouldn’t be necessary if you’ve taken the correct steps to protect your skin in the sun and prevent this from happening.
Sun care products at Doctor 4 U
Doctor 4 U has a range of sun care products available to keep your skin safe, healthy, and youthful in the sun. Browse our range to find the best product for you, and by selecting next day delivery you could have sun care products by tomorrow.