Summer is here. Long afternoons swimming and enjoying the beach, whether here or abroad, can be completely idyllic and good fun for all. The fun can be ruined, however, if we accidentally get burned by the sun. Sunburn is painful, can cause premature aging and long lasting damage to the skin and is directly linked to the development of skin cancer. A person’s risk of developing a melanoma (the most severe form of skin cancer) doubles if they have had been sun-burnt just 5 times. Furthermore, if you are swimming, you are much more likely to get sun-burnt. The breeze at the beach, combined with being in the cool sea can delude you into thinking that it’s not really very sunny. Additionally UV rays from the sun (which are what cause you to get burnt) have a more potent effect on damp skin. It’s really important, therefore, to do all that you can to avoid getting burnt whilst swimming.
Here are some top tips to help you keep safe in the sun, avoid sunburn, whilst still enjoying your time in the sea.
- Put on sun cream 20 – 30 minutes before you go into the sun Suntan lotion takes about 20 minutes to be fully absorbed into your skin after initial application. Make sure that you are covered from the moment you go outside.
- Put on more suntan lotion than you think you need – almost everybody puts suntan lotion on far more thinly than they should. Not giving a thick enough coverage means that you are not getting as much protection as it says on the bottle. You should be able to clearly see it and spread it easily. If it is absorbed as soon as you start to rub it in, you haven’t applied enough.
- Reapply your suntan lotion often – every two hours at minimum and more frequently if you are swimming and towel drying. Sun tan lotion can be rubbed off even when it appears to have been absorbed fully into the skin.
- Ensure you use waterproof suntan lotion – make sure you pay careful attention to the packaging on your suntan lotion. Some products are water-resistant which means they must maintain their Sun Protection Factor (SPF) while you have been in the water for up to 40 minutes. Products which are waterproof must maintain their SPF for up to 80 minutes. Whichever you use, be sure to come out of the water on time and reapply suntan lotion, to be sure that you are constantly covered.
- Remember that your scalp can burn too – it can be difficult to apply suntan lotion to your head and your hair doesn’t provide full cover against burning your head. Consider buying a swimming hat to cover your scalp fully.
- Be aware that not all swimwear will protect your skin underneath from UV rays, which can penetrate through some fabrics. Check out our range of sun protection swimwear, which all have a ultraviolet protection factor of 50+ (the highest rating fabric can have) meaning that it blocks 98% of UV radiation. You can find it here.
Have fun in the sun – but stay safe and don’t get sunburn!