IF there is one lesson we should all have learnt from the heatwave spell, it’s that lobster-red skin is never a good look.
The sun has certainly put his hat on, but we’re not all following suit with our sun protection.
In a recent survey, a shocking 9% admitted they never apply sun protection, exposing themselves to dangerous levels of UV rays and putting themselves at risk of skin cancer.
Whether you’re a sun or shade seeker, don’t crash and burn this summer. Here, experts shed light on some burning suncare questions.
Q: Can you still use a sun protection product after its expiration date?
A: “All sun protection products degrade in time so it’s not advisable to use a sun protection product after its expiration date,” advises consultant dermatologist Dr Jonathan Bowling.
“The protection delivered may not be reliable, increasing the potential for burning or adverse skin reactions, so check the label first.”
TRY: A spray solution, which is less exposed to air than a tube of cream, like Nivea Sun Protect & Refresh Cooling Mist SPF20/30/50, €10.49; or Ambre Solaire Clear Protect Transparent Protection Spray SPF10/15/20/30/50, €10.49.
Q: I swim a lot on holiday. Should I reapply every time I leave the water?
A: “One of the crucial times to apply sunscreen on holiday is immediately after leaving the water,” advises consultant dermatologist Dr Sue Mayou.
“It’s all too easy to get out of the sea or pool and wait to dry before reapplying sunscreen, during which time you’re in danger of burning.”
TRY: A fast-absorbing and non-greasy formula, like Piz Buin Wet Skin Transparent Sun Spray, €23.99; or Soltan Active Dry-Touch Transparent Suncare Aerosol Spray SPF30, €10.19.
Q: What’s the difference between UVA and UVB rays?
A: “The SPF refers to the UVB protection and is vital to protect you from the burning rays of the sun, however, it’s UVA rays that age the skin and cause long-term issues,” says Abi Cleeve, director of Ultrasun.
“You will find UVB protection in most foundations and day creams protecting you from burning, however they don’t protect your skin from ageing. Signs of premature ageing include pigmentation, enlarged pores and slackening of the skin.”
TRY: Broad spectrum suncare with both UVA and UVB filters, like Soltan Protect & Tan Ultra-Light Texture Suncare Lotion SPF30,€ 8.99; or Formula High Protection Sun Lotion SPF50, €8.99.
Q: How can I protect my face on a day-to-day basis to prevent premature ageing?
A: “To get the ultimate protection for your skin during the day apply a good quality anti-oxidant serum,” suggests advanced skincare specialist Debbie Thomas. “This helps to combat UV and also infra-red light damage, and boosts against pollution and stress.
“Then use a sheer oil-free suncream that protects but doesn’t irritate, block or congest skin, and follow with make-up containing a high SPF — either a tinted moisturiser, BB/CC cream or mineral powder.”
TRY: An SPF cosmetic that becomes part of your morning routine, like SkinCeuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defense SPF50 Tint, €43; or Eau Thermale Avene SPF50 tinted compact, €25.41.
Q: I’m pretty lazy when it comes to reapplying SPF. Is there a short cut?
A: “Don’t skimp on sun protection but in terms of products available I would recommend a ’once’ lotion that provides up to six hours of SPF protection in one application,” suggests consultant cosmetic surgeon, Paul Banwell.
“If you’re not as diligent about reapplying sunscreen regularly, look for a non-greasy formula that’s quickly absorbed and is sweat and water resistant for a good all-rounder.”
Riemann P20 Once A Day Sun Protection Spray in SPF15/30/50, €26.39 or Ultrasun SPF50+ Face Formula, €30.
Q: What’s the best way to protect kids from harmful rays?
A: “Make sure it’s water resistant — a good choice for toddlers who won’t sit still,” recommends Comfort Zone founder Dr Davide Bollati.
“Don’t forget to protect those forgotten areas. Apply sunscreen to all parts of the body, including ears, eyelids, shoulders, and tops of feet that can burn easily on delicate skins.”
TRY: Water resistant high factor protection formulated for sensitive skins, like Nivea Sun Kids Pure & Sensitive Spray SPF50, €10.69 or Green People Organic Children Sun Lotion SPF 25 ‘no scent’, €21.50.
Q: How should I treat my sunburnt skin to prevent pain and peeling?
A: “If skin has become over-exposed to the sun aloe vera is my favourite treatment for sunburn,” advises skincare expert Ole Henriksen.
“Aloe’s full of naturally healing steroids and humectants. The steroids work incredibly well to lift the redness out of skin, and replenish moisture. Camomile is also great to help calm and soothe the skin.”
TRY: A calming aftersun containing soothing aloe vera, like Hawaiian Tropic cooling Aloe Gel, €13.95, or St Tropez Aftersun lotion for face and body, €17.
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