Summer has finally arrived: winter this year seemed to last forever, with unseasonably cold weather stretching well into May! With the advent of BBQ weather it can be tempting to strip down and simply rush outside to soak up the rays while you can.

You need to resist this temptation at least a little! While the sunshine is warming and finally banishes the spectre of SAD, overexposure is dangerous! Sunburn is unsightly and uncomfortable, and that’s the very least of your worries. The sun’s rays can cause hyperpigmentation, dryness or even cancer.

A trip to the Putney Skin Clinic can deal with some of these ill effects but it’s safer by far to take care of yourself and try to avoid them in the first place so that’s why we’re presenting these tips for keeping your skin healthy this summer.

Don’t Forget

The areas you tend to forget to apply sunscreen also tend to be the most uncomfortable if you forget to protect them and they succumb to sunburn. 

Ensure you’ve protected your ears, your lips and your eyelids. All of these are delicate areas that will cause you considerable discomfort if they burn. Some of them, your lips for example, may require specialist products. Look for a lip balm with an SPF factor of at least 15 to keep your lips locked against the sun!

Not All Sun Screen is Created Equal

It’s not enough to simply pick the first sunscreen you find off the shelf and make do with it, especially when the sun is intense! You need to do a little research to find out exactly what you need in a sunscreen.

Firstly, you need to protect from UVB rays: these are the component of sunlight that contribute to skin cancer. For most situations an SPF of 30 will be enough to keep you safe – higher Sun Protection Factor’s make less difference but can leave you feeling falsely confident, staying out for longer and skipping reapplying your sunscreen.

Secondly, you need to make sure you are protected from UVA rays – these are a different wavelengths of light that cause sunburn, skin aging and wrinkles. UVA and UVB protection are rated separately so it’s possible to buy a sunscreen that does one and not the other. UVA protection is measured by a star system: you need to look for four or five stars to be sure you’re protected. 

Finally the sheer heat of the sun can dry your skin out, so look for a sunscreen that incorporates moisturiser to keep your skin young and happy while you’re enjoying the sun!

A Complete Plan

The most important thing to remember in the summer is not to rely simply on sunscreen. That’s not sufficient to protect your skin either from melanoma or from dryness, and the other threats that come with hot weather.

Minimise your exposure time, seek shade, cover up and make sure you’re wearing UV blocking sunglasses to ensure you’re truly safe this summer.