In summer, it’s incredibly common and easy to get burnt by the sun; even if it doesn’t feel like a scorcher, there’s always a risk of sunburn. The sun provides us with sunlight for visibility, warmth and photosynthesis of the plants we love and eat. Other benefits of the sun include vitamin D synthesis, increased daytime awareness, a natural painkiller, mood enhancement, and cortisol regulation. In this article, we will look at the various effects of the sun on the skin, and most importantly, how to prevent sunburn so you can enjoy the summer holidays without risking damage to your skin.
Benefits Of The Sun
- Vitamin D synthesising – the UVB rays of the sun react with cholesterol derivatives in our skin to produce the vitamin. Without the sun, we would have to rely solely on food sources for vitamin D.
- Increased daytime awareness – it has been reported that natural light enhances alertness, drive, and focus over artificial light.
- Natural painkiller – studies have shown that light from the sun can have an analgesic effect which eases pain.
- Mood enhancing – spending time in the sun will increase your serotonin, which is the feel-good hormone.
- Cortisol regulating – research has shown the effects of natural light and dark cycles on maintaining a diurnal flow of cortisol, modulating energy, and stress.
How To Prevent Sunburn
Read these tips for safe sun exposure to prevent sunburn and keep your skin stress-free, especially over the summer holidays.
1. Limit Time In The Sun
As soon as you are exposed to the sun, the melanocyte cells start to work to produce the pigment melanin, which is what gives our skin its colour. So when you lay in the sun to tan, these cells are kicked into gear producing more melanin and giving you a summer tan. Your body reaches its full capacity of vitamin D within 20 minutes to an hour, depending on your skin tone. If you don’t already have complications with regular sun exposure, to reduce the chances of getting sunburnt, you’ll want to tan in the sun for no longer than 20 minutes a day without sunscreen.
However, to prevent sunburn, it’s best to stay in the sun for 5 to 10 minutes every day. After this amount of time, it’s best to cover up, wear white clothing, or find shade. If you are planning on spending more than 20 minutes in the sun, you must use sunscreen. Be sure to stay out of the sun as much as you can from 10am to 4pm, as this is when the sun’s UV rays are the strongest.
2. Wear Enough Sunscreen
Sunscreen is vital to protect your skin from the sun’s harsh rays. It should be used every day, because even if it’s cloudy, the sun is still there. Apply sunscreen to all exposed parts of the skin 15 to 30 minutes before heading outside, even if you are going to be sitting in the shade. You may also want to use a lip balm that is made with sunscreen, with a sun protection factor of at the least 30.
It’s best to go for a broad-spectrum sunscreen if you can, as it protects your skin against both UVA and UVB radiation. Make sure your sunscreen is water resistant and SPF 30 or more. Regular sunscreen products will help you from getting sunburnt, but they are not likely to protect you from possibly getting skin cancer.
3. Sun And Water
If you’re spending a day by the pool with your kids, be sure that they reapply sunscreen every hour when swimming, or if they’re sweating. Also, be careful around water surfaces that reflect the damaging rays of the sun, it can increase the chances of getting sunburnt. For further precaution when it comes to kids at the pool, check out these 6 swimming safety tips for parents and children.
4. Protective Clothing
If possible, wear a long-sleeved shirt and pants. Dark or black clothing with tightly woven fabrics absorbs more of the sun, making you feel hotter. Rather wear white or loose woven fabric clothing, or clothing that is rated with a UV protection factor. Accessorise with a hat that shades your neck, face and ears, and don’t forget your sunglasses. Sunglasses that have a high percentage of UV absorption provide optimal protection for your eyes and skin around your eyes.
How To Prepare Your Skin For The Sun
It’s vital to take precautions and know how to prepare your skin for the sun.
Tanning is the defensive reaction of your skin against the rays of the sun. To prevent the rays from penetrating the skin, it produces melanocytes which produce melanin, your skin’s pigment that works to absorb the UV rays from the sun. Melanin is what’s responsible for your tan.
Some types of skin contain more melanin than others and therefore less or more sensitive to the sun. But regardless of skin colour, you need to prepare your skin for the sun by wearing sunscreen of SPF 30 or more. Going out into the sun without sunscreen is dangerous as you’re more susceptible to sunburn, skin cancer, premature skin ageing and more.
Follow these tips to prepare your skin for exposure to the sun.
Keep in mind, your skin regenerates itself every 21 to 28 days, so exfoliating helps you to get rid of dead skin and helps blood circulation. Tanning on healthy skin allows the tan to stay longer and fade less quickly, and exfoliating will also help you to get an even tan.
Be careful and don’t tan more than twice a week for your body and only once for your face. Wait at least 2-3 days before exposure to the sun after a day of tanning as it can make the skin more sensitive.
It’s essential to moisturise your skin as often as possible because it dries out in the sun, making it more vulnerable to UV rays. Moisturising and nourishing your skin will make it more resistant to the sun’s rays. It will also help your skin to rebuild its protective layer.
3. Wear Sunscreen
Not only do you need to moisturise, to safely spend time in the sun, you need sunscreen as well. SPF stands for sun protection factor which indicates the protection level of the sunscreen. Generally, SPFs range from 6 to 50 SPF; the higher it is, the better it protects your skin.
It’s best to use sunscreen daily with an SPF of at least 20 on your face and skin. It’s an essential part of a healthy skincare routine. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before heading out into the sun and be sure to reapply every 1 to 2 hours.
What you eat and drink also impacts the effects of the sun on your skin. It’s vital that you drink plenty of water every day, especially while you’re out in the sun. Water helps you to stay cool during summer while offering the best source of hydration. Eat healthy to promote healthy skin, helping you get an even better tan. Add nutrients to your meals that contain vitamins A, C and E. It will help to stimulate your immune system, prevent anti-ageing, and regenerate cells. You can get these vitamins from carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, kale, broccoli, and fruits like mangos, apricots, and melons, as well as nuts such as almonds. Check out these 5 tips for healthy eating during summer for more helpful nutrition tips.
5. Apply Aftersun Products
Skin care after sun exposure is important too, almost as important as preparation before. Use an after-sun care lotion or aloe vera to soothe and hydrate the skin, and make sure to drink lots of water after a full day out in the sun.
By simply remembering these tips, if you don’t have any sort of skin-sun issues already present, you can enjoy the summer holidays without the pain and irritation after a day in the sun. Now that you know how to prevent sunburn, implement the tips given here into your everyday life for the best skin results. If you have kids, you can start encouraging and educating them about the sun and its effects, and what can be done for protection.
While you have fun in the sun this summer, let an expert SweepStar provide one of our many cleaning services both indoors and outdoors, so that your holidays are spent relaxing and not taking care of chores.