When going on holiday, everyone usually remembers to pack sun cream. This check list will help you make sure you’re picking the right sun cream and making the right decisions, and also give you some top tips to avoid sun burn.
There’s a difference between UVA and UVB
UVB rays are the burning rays that cause sun burn; they damage the superficial layers of the skin.
UVA rays however penetrate your skin much deeper, and these are the rays which can cause skin cancer.
You need a ‘broad spectrum’ sun cream
This means that you need to check the UVA star system which can be found on your sun cream bottle. The star rating ranges from zero to five, and this measures how much of the UVA rays are absorbed by the sun cream. So it’s really important that you use a sun cream with a high UVA rating to get full protection – a UVA rating of 4-5 is considered a good standard, coupled with an SPF of at least 30.
A higher factor doesn’t always mean a higher protection
Higher SPF’s do not always offer greater protection than the lower SPF’s, and this can lead people into a false sense of security. For example, SPF 30 offers a 97% protection from UVB rays, and SPF 50 protects against 98% UVB rays, so there isn’t much in it, that’s why it’s important to always re apply and keep an eye on your skin.
You must reapply your sun cream
Even if your sun cream states that it is water resistant, you are only protected for a certain amount of time once wet, so you will have to reapply your sun cream after getting wet. When on holiday in the sun you also sweat a lot, and this also affects the level of protection your sun cream provides as the sweat breaks down the sun cream, so again, even if you just lie on the sun bed and don’t move for hours, you must reapply your sun cream every couple of hours to maintain protection.
Spray sun creams aren’t always the best option
Aerosol sun creams can include a lot of alcohol, and this can dry out your skin and hinder the protection your sun cream gives. This means when buying sun cream, check the label for alcohol in the list of ingredients. If the sun cream does include alcohol, then go for a different option as this cream is likely to dry out your skin and increase your risk of sun burn.