The summer weather has reached England and I can finally go outside and soak up some Vitamin D! They say that being outside in the sunshine boosts your happiness levels from the increase in serotonin levels in your body, helps you slim down due to a certain level of loss of appetite in the heat, creates healthier looking hair and clearer looking skin. Who could pass that up?
But with these awesome positives comes the other side of the spectrum; people dismiss sunburn, skin cancer or heat stroke as actualities because they think they know it all, or more commonly that it won’t happen to them. But one should be responsible and protect themselves from excessive exposure to the sun’s rays and research the real implications. There are three different categories of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation with increasingly dangerous consequences: UVA causes visible changes on the face such as wrinkles and discolouration, UVB damages proteins in the skin and can result in sunburn and skin cancer, and UVC (which according to WHO does not reach the earth’s surface) can cause mutilations in DNA. Some of the tips websites give people such as wearing long-sleeved tops and long trousers, avoiding the outside, and wearing UV resistant swimming costumes are unthinkable. So whether you are going on a sun-packed holiday or just lounging in the garden, here are some tips on protecting yourself so that we can get as much as we can out of the sunshine as possible!
- As we can’t be expected to wear long-sleeved shirts and long trousers, we can wear clothes with varying places of exposure to the sun. For example, if you wear a sleeveless top one day, wear a t-shirt the next day, or if you wear a low cut top one day, wear one with a higher neckline next time. This will stop the sun shining on the same place a number of days in a row
- Although it’s the most obvious, sunscreen is something some people avoid due to the myths surrounding it. But sunscreen is a must, especially on shoulders and chest areas. You can still get a tan whilst wearing sunscreen, and if you have naturally tan skin you are not immune to sun burn or skin cancer. Use and reapply sunscreen regularly for maximum protection, even if its waterproof
- Many say that sunscreen breaks their face out, so, for your face, face moisturisers and bb creams that contain SPF are perfect, because they are designed for your face and have measures of protection against the sun’s UV rays. For BB creams, see Vogue’s top ten here: http://www.vogue.co.uk/beauty/2012/06/29/10-best-uk-bb-creams—beauty-benefit-balms-with-spf
- Not everybody likes to wear hats, but a wide-brimmed hat not only covers your face and eyes but also your scalp which can become very itchy if it burns – if you really cannot deal with hats, but a bandana or scarf-type accessory around your head and make sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes
- Wear shoes that are open, such as flip flops, or bigger than your normal shoe size – feet tend to swell in extreme heat, and with the sweat, we don’t want uncomfortable blisters forming
- Moisturise everything – your hair, your lips, your hands, your skin etc. etc.! Not only will they be smooth but hydrated too!
- For your hair, you can deep condition hair once a week with a product containing keratin or protein, avoid heat-styling, and even find hair products that have SPF or UV protecting ingredients in them. Nobody wants their hair to be dry, brittle or frizzy!
- To drink plenty! – again, it sounds obvious, but it can be easy to forget. One of my favourite summer drinks is lemonade topped with strawberries and ice: cool and refreshing
- Exercise in the mornings, because it is cooler at this time than midday or late afternoons
- You don’t need to be in direct sunlight to get a tan – even in the shade, we can catch sunrays due to the reflection from water or concrete whilst being safer because the shade blocks off direct sunlight and a significant amount of UVB radiation.
- Tans are a gradual process: there is no reason to but your skin under intense exposure because you won’t get a tan in a day. Therefore, the key is to do nothing extreme. Tanning beds apparently emit 2 to 5 times more UVA radiation than the sun. Is it really worth it?: http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/tanning-beds
- My last tip would be to research anything you are unsure about. Research effects of UV radiation, research different skin products, different hair products. Don’t be lazy!