May 14th – 20th is Sun Awareness Week. And, although I can barely think to type over the sound of rain on the conservatory roof, it’s best to be ready for when the warmer weather finally makes an appearance! When 86% of skin cancers are preventable it’s ludicrous that we don’ take this advice more seriously!1
Protection from the sun isn’t rocket science. Here we dispel some common myths:
It’s not even that sunny, so I don’t need to wear a sunscreen.
It doesn’t have to be a cloudless sky with scorching temperatures for our skin to be exposed to the UV light. Even on a bright but cloudy day you can still get burnt, especially when on holiday and nearer the equator where the sun’s rays are hotter.
I like to sit in the shade, so I don’t need to wear sun protection.
Most people believe that the shade will protect their skin but there are many different types of shade. The shade cast from a building for example will be ‘good’ shade providing much more protection than the dappled shade from a tree. Even sun parasols do not provide 100% UV protection, the fabrics let in a percentage of the UV rays. Even when you are sat in the shade you should still wear UV protection, and don’t forget that you may have to walk to your chosen shady spot and your skin will be exposed until you reach it.
I always wear my baseball cap, I know my head is protected.
Baseball caps provide a good protection to the top of the head and some protection to the face, but they provide no protection to the neck or ears. You are much better to choose a wide brimmed hat that will protect the ears and neck as well as head and face. A brim that angles downwards is the most effective. This is particularly important for children when they are out in the sun.
I applied my sun screen this morning, so I’m covered.
Some sunscreens now claim to only need to be applied once throughout the day, while others describe themselves as longer lasting or waterproof. Any sweating, swimming and changes in clothes or rubbing of a bag across shoulders will remove some of the UV protection. It is best to reapply your sunscreen every 2-3 hours and again after swimming or sweating to be sure you are protected
I packed a full bottle of sun lotion, me and my family are all prepared.
People often do not apply anywhere near enough to cover their skin fully. If you are applying enough you might get through a full 200mL bottle in as few as 6 full body applications. Bear this in mind when purchasing your sunscreen and stock up to ensure the whole family are protected. Also, you can’t assume you will all need the same protection. Children and people with fair skin will need a higher protection than those with a more olive or darker skin.
Thought you knew all there was to know about sun protection? These are very common misconceptions that a large proportion of people believe to be true. Now you know the facts don’t take a chance with your skin. Wear protection, find shade and cover up.