As many of us have been outside enjoying the hot and sunny weather in Northern Ireland, it is important that we are cautious.
There are many mistakes people make when it comes to protecting ourselves and our children from the sun.
Cancer Research UK has some tips for us on how to use sun cream properly, and how to protect our kids from UV rays.
It has told how sunscreen doesn’t protect us completely from sun damage on its own, but that it can be useful for taking care of the parts of skin we can’t shade or cover. They recommend using sunscreens together with shade or clothing.
It recommends buying sunscreens with a:
- Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 15 (UVB protection)
- High star rating with 4 or 5 stars (UVA protection)
UVA protection can also be shown by the letters ‘UVA’ in a circle. This means that it meets the EU standard.
Cancer Research UK added: “No sunscreen, no matter how high the factor, can provide 100% protection. Sunscreen shouldn’t be used to extend your time in the sun, and it doesn’t make tanning safe. In fact, you could be more likely to get sun burn and skin damage if you use sunscreen to sunbathe.”
Tips for using sunscreen properly
It’s important to use it properly to get the level of protection it says on the bottle:
- Make sure you put enough on – people often put on much less sunscreen than they need to. Apply sunscreen evenly and thickly. Make sure that you’re putting enough on if using a spray or roll on sunscreen.
- Reapply sunscreen regularly throughout the day including ‘once a day’ and ‘water resistant’ products. Sunscreen can rub, sweat or wash off – even if it’s supposed to be waterproof. It’s especially important to put more on after toweling dry. Reapplying also helps avoid missing bits of skin.
- Check the expiry date on your sunscreen before you use it. Look for a symbol with the letter M and a number that shows how many months the sunscreen will last after opening.
Cancer Research’s sun safety tips for children
Sun safety is important at all ages. Protect children’s skin using a combination of shade, clothing and sunscreen.
Encourage them to spend time in the shade particularly between 11am-3pm when the sun is strongest.
Covering skin with clothing helps to reduce UV rays reaching the skin, perhaps wearing a t-shirt in the paddling pool or a hat when at the park. Remember sunglasses and hats are a great way to protect the eyes and face too.
Sunscreen doesn’t protect us completely from sun damage on its own. However, it can be useful for taking care of the parts of skin we can’t shade or cover. Apply it regularly and use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 and a 4 or 5 star rating.
Children and teenagers might need a reminder or a helping hand but setting a good example yourself is a great way to help them learn good habits. The NHS recommends that children under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight.
To find more out about sun safety, CLICK HERE.