Weather that’s warmer than the Costa Del Sol is a rarity in Britain, so you’re forgiven if you basked in the garden all last weekend without proper precautions – our leftover sun cream was well out of date too. But with another sunny spell predicted for tomorrow we thought we’d prep you with the best advice for avoiding sunburn and surprising ways to heal it in case you’re still suffering from the last bout.
The UK certainly isn’t known for its sunshine, but whether the days are bright or not, those UV rays could still affect your skin. During summer in particular, it’s all too easy to get caught out when you’re wearing less layers. Of course, we always recommend wearing SPF with both UVA and UVB protection (you can still get burnt when it’s cloudy, and particularly if it’s breezy.) Some people (such as those with paler skin, freckles, moles or skin problems) are more at risk and should take extra precautions – like wearing as high an SPF as possible.
Prevention steps to take
If you know you’re going to be
outside for long periods of time, you should always take precautions
against sunburn. The risk of suffering is highest between March to
October in the UK, and particularly between 11am and 3pm. You can
minimise your risk by:
- Wearing a hat. The scalp is often one
of the first places to burn, but a wide-brimmed hat with keep it covered
and shade your face, nose and ears.
- Wearing sunglasses. Choose a
quality pair – look for the CE mark to protect your eyes from UV rays.
We’ve rounded up our favourites here.
- Keeping covered. Opt for long sleeves legs and full-length trousers in thin, breatheable fabrics to keep you cool.
- Applying sunscren twice. Once 30 minutes before going out, and again immediately prior to going into the sun.
The best after-sun buys
Pharmacies and high street stores have some great after-sun buys to invest in every year:
Aloe vera is the ultimate skin-soothing ingredient. Try an after-sun that isn’t greasy, like this Banana Boat one.
Vichy’s after-sun is rich in vitamin E and omega-3 and -6 oils, and its skin-soothing and moisturising properties last for up to 48 hours. A great option for sensitive skin.
If applying lots of lotions and potions isn’t for you, an in-shower after-sun is a great option. Nivea’s soothing lotion is affordable and gives great results.
Simple steps to treat sunburn
If you’re suffering the
after-effects of being out in the sun, there are ways to treat sunburn
to help ease pain and minimise damage. Start by knowing when you’ve had
enough sun. If your skin feels hot, it’s important to head indoors as
soon as possible. The NHS give this advice to help relieve symptoms:
the skin by sponging it with cold water or by having a cold bath or
shower – applying a cold compress such as a cold flannel to the affected
area may also help.
- Drink plenty of fluids to cool you down and prevent dehydration.
- Apply a water-based emollient or petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) to keep your skin cool and moist.
- Take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve any pain – aspirin should not be given to children under 16.
In case of an emergency
Worried that your sunburn is severe? You should seek further medical advice if you have blistering or swelling, chills, a high temperature, dizziness, headaches or sickness.