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As we move through the summer months, sun protection is more important than ever. We all know how important sun cream and shade is, but there is more than meets the eye when it comes to sun protection. Whether it’s yourself, your friends or your family, no one is exempt from the effects of the sun. Let’s take a look at how you can keep yourself safe this summer, be it in the UK or somewhere more exotic, with the right sun protection knowledge.

Sun protection basics

Sunburn and long exposure to the sun’s harmful rays can increase your risk of skin cancer, which is ultimately why sun protection is so important. Sunburn does not just happen on holiday, you can burn and feel the effects of summer heat right here in the UK, even when it’s cloudy. There’s no safe or healthy way to get a tan but there are measures you can take in the form of sun protection. Striking a balance between protecting yourself from the sun and getting enough vitamin D from sunlight doesn’t have to be difficult if you follow these simple steps.

Spending time in the shade when the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm from March to October is one of the most effective methods of sun protection; feel free to enjoy the warmth but don’t bask in direct sunlight for longer periods. You can also ensure that you’re covered with suitable and breathable clothing, use at least factor 30 sun cream and take regular breaks from the sun to cool down and hydrate. 

Applying sunscreen

Many people apply sunscreen when things start hotting up, but not always in the right way. Sunscreen is one of the best methods of sun protection and therefore should be used properly to ensure you’re free from harm. As a guide, adults should aim to apply around 2 teaspoons of sunscreen if you’re just covering your head, arms and neck and 2 tablespoons if you’re covering your entire body while wearing a swimming costume. When it comes to sun protection, it’s important to note that if sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of protection it gives is reduced. If you’re worried that you might not be applying enough SPF30, you could use a sunscreen with a higher SPF to make sure you’ve covered all of the bases.

If you have holiday plans or a long day ahead, sun protection becomes even more important. To avoid getting burnt whilst enjoying the sun, you should consider applying sunscreen twice, 30 minutes before going out and then again just before going out. Sunscreen should be applied to any skin that is left exposed to sunlight, including the face, neck and ears. When it comes to sun protection, you can never be too careful, reapplying sunscreen liberally and frequently will see that you stay safe as sunscreen can dry off your skin. The best form of sun protection is to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after you have been in the water, towel drying or sweating to make sure you stay protected against UVA and UVB rays.

Summer sun aftercare

If you do appear to be sunburnt after a little too long under the sun’s rays, it’s important that you know how to care for your skin. Sponging your sore skin with cool water, then applying a soothing aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera, will cool and soothe the sore skin. It’s important to keep sun protection at the top of your priorities after getting sunburnt by making sure that you stay out of the sun until all signs of redness have gone.

Sun protection is even more important for people who are prone to sunburn and the effects of the sun’s heat. Pale and light skin, freckles, red or fair hair, moles, skin problems and a history of skin cancer are all factors that can affect your resilience to the sun’s rays. Although no one is completely safe from the effects of the sun, sun protection is more predominantly important in people with these features. Always keep an eye on your skin for changes to moles, freckles, patches of skin and any new growths or lumps to avoid your risk of getting or developing skin cancer. Sun protection is your greatest asset, whether it’s shade or sunscreen, making an active effort with the health of your skin will keep you safer for longer.

At Protectus, we understand that sometimes illness is unavoidable. Sun protection can be carried out but can’t always keep you free from health changes such as skin cancer. Make sure that you avoid the uncertainty of the future with critical illness cover. A Critical Illness policy is designed to pay out a tax-free lump sum in the event of being diagnosed with a specified serious illness or medical condition, such as skin cancer. Get in touch to find out how you can keep covered now and for the future.