We know, we know, after months of cold and drizzle, nothing feels as good as basking in the sun when it finally makes an appearance. It feels somehow … healthy.
Of course it is healthy — to an extent. We all need a few rays of strong summer sunshine to top up our depleted levels of Vitamin D and the occasional rays we get during Spring just aren’t going to cut it. However, as the red faces (and redder shoulders!) of our recent heat wave prove, it’s far too easy to get too much of a good thing.
And there is nothing healthy about sunburn and peeling skin. Ouch!
So, in the hope that recent temperatures haven’t been a fluke and summer really is on the way, I’m going to share my top tips to help you stay safe in the sun, while still enjoying every last drop of the British summer time.
Wear a hat.
One of the best things you can do at this time of year is pop a hat in your bag. You never know when a dull day will turn to glorious sunshine, leaving your poor scalp burning to a crisp as you enjoy your lunch in the park. If you can find a wide-brimmed sun hat that will protect your neck, face and ears too, then all the better but even just a bandana or scarf to cover the top of your head is better than nothing (unless you want to try smearing sun block along your parting!).
If you’ve planned a day at the beach, or you’re somewhere exotic on holiday, when it comes to hats, the bigger the better. Think French Riviera chic and you’ll be on the right lines.
Remember your ears.
This is especially important if you’re wearing your hair down. It’s far too easy to miss your ears when you’re applying sun cream if they’re covered by your hair. Then when you’re out enjoying the sun, you push your hair behind your ears and by the time you’re on your way home they feel like they’re on fire!
Unfortunately the skin on your ears is only one cell thick, so they’re far more delicate than you’d think, and while sunburn is bad enough, it could be the least of your worries if you leave your ears exposed to the rays.
The ears are one of the most common places for people to get skin cancer and not realise it — since they don’t know what they’re looking for it spreads and becomes a bigger problem before they know it. The easy solution is to always include your ears when you’re applying sun cream to your face and neck then it doesn’t matter so much if you tie your hair up or forget to put your hat on.
Don’t be a slave to the weather.
We’ve all done it — sweat is pouring off of us, we’re panting, and we just want a cold shower but how often do we get a bright, sunny day? We’re going to enjoy every last second of sunshine even if the mercury is tipped at 29 degrees and we’re sweltering. After all, it’ll probably be raining again tomorrow, right?
So here’s this week’s public service announcement: it’s okay to go back inside for a while!
It really is. In fact, it’s recommended. We’re all advised to stay out of the sun between the hours of 11am and 3pm so let this be an excuse to find a nice shady tree to relax under or have a cheeky siesta, and enjoy the glorious weather when the sun isn’t quite so strong.
Know your sunscreen.
This sounds like a strange addition to the list but sunscreen really can be a complicated beast. For example, lots of people (understandably) think that the SPF number indicates the strength of the sunscreen but it actually indicates how long it lasts, as measured in 5 minute increments. So, if you left a child out in the sun for 5 minutes without protection, they’d start to burn. However, if you apply SPF 30, they could stay out for 3 hours (or 5 x 30 = 150 minutes, or 3 hours; apologies for making you do maths).
Once you’ve figured out which factor you’ll need, it’s important to remember that not all sun protection is made equal; this is definitely one of those occasions that you get what you pay for and keeping your skin safe is not something you want to skimp on! A good quality SPF 30 will always offer better protection than a cheap SPF 50 from the high street. We swear by Vitage’s sunscreen which is non-greasy and won’t leave you with that weird sunscreen smell you usually have to put up with all summer.
Don’t be stingy.
Now you’ve figured out which sunscreen to buy, don’t forget to actually use it regularly. A quick application in the morning is not enough to last you all day, particularly if you’re swimming or doing anything to work up a sweat. We get why you would’ve been reluctant if you’re using a greasy high street lotion — we don’t blame you for not wanting to walk around smelling like cheap coconut all day! Luckily there are some great high quality formulas available, like the Vitage lotion I mentioned earlier, that actually work like a makeup primer, leaving your skin protected without the grease and the horrible smell.
Another great option is a water-resistant, sweat-proof roll-on block that you can actually apply OVER your makeup without messing it up, perfect for your face as well as the back of your neck and those delicate ears. Now that’s beautiful!
Whether you’re jetting off somewhere tropical or your fingers are firmly crossed for some home-grown summer sunshine, pop into the salon and we can talk you through the best options for your skin type.
See you soon,