Staying safe in the sun

There ain’t a cloud in sight – and that means it’s time to break out the Factor 50 to beat the ‘Big Burn’

The sun is a pretty cool dude for something that’s the hottest ticket in the sky. But then it hasn’t got a lot of competition for star billing. The sun accounts for more than 99 per cent of the mass of the solar system. It’s so big, one million Earths could fit inside its near- perfect spherical shape. And it’s a flaming scorcher, comprising 75 per cent hydrogen and the rest mostly helium.

OK, science lesson over. Most of us only appreciate the sun when it’s time to break-out the barbie, visit the beach, laze around the pool or settle down in the garden or on the terrace with an iced drink. Perfect! Except, what sounds idyllic can quickly turn into a nightmare without the right kind of protection against the sun’s harmful rays.


We, for one, haven’t forgotten the desert-like summer of 2018 and the sight of too many friends and family looking like they had stood behind a jet engine on full throttle! Don’t face the pain and make the same mistake again, guys….

Far from making us healthier, the golden tan which so many of us seem to crave actually causes premature ageing of our delicate skin. And in the worst cases, it can cause skin cancer – which continues to be on the increase here in the UK.

Here’s what the experts say you must do to enjoy the summer sunshine, safely.

DO use lots of sunscreen: Apply it liberally and at regularly. (This applies even to water-resistant creams – they’re only water-resistant, not water-proof!) Cover all areas of exposed skin, including ‘unseen’ areas at the back of the neck, top of the ears and the scalp. Unless you’re double jointed, you’ll need someone to help apply but it is worth the effort. Remember, UV rays from the sun are reflected from sand and sea and any other bright surfaces onto your skin, whether you’re in the shade or not.

DO choose a sunscreen with a high SPF which prevents damage from the sun’s rays: The higher the SPF number the more protection there is from burning caused by UVB radiation. While sunburn is mainly caused by UVB, research now shows that UVA rays may be just as important in causing premature skin ageing and skin cancer.

DON’T go for the Full Monty! Besides looking a bit of a plonker, flashing too much flesh is asking for trouble. Wear a T-shirt or lightweight robe/kaftan to cover your chest/shoulders on the beach, plus a hat and sunglasses will give you extra protection. Simply using sunscreen alone doesn’t make you burn-proof!

DO act shady. We all want to enjoy the summer weather but sit, lie or relax in the shade rather than being directly in the sun. It’s a good idea to take a sunshade or parasol to the beach to sit under at the height of the day.

DO work it! It’s not just at weekends or on holiday when you need protection. Remember to take sunscreen to work with you and apply before sitting outside on your lunch break.

DO keep a watch on your skin. If you have any moles check them for any changes in colour, size or shape. If you’re worried something’s not quite right, get it looked at by your GP. Better safe than sorry…

DON’T expect a fake tan to protect you. There’s nothing wrong with giving yourself a bronzed look from a bottle but most self-tanners offer no protection against harmful UV.

DON’T think using a sunbed is safer. Experts say there’s a 20 per cent increase in the risk of melanoma no matter how infrequently you use a sunbed.