There's no argument, one of the best parts of summer is the sun! But near enough every person that’s a lover of the sun has made the same mistake... Too much sun, end result, sunburn. The immediate after effects of sunburn can be very painful and the long term damage can be very dangerous. Not to mention, the visible effects can be just as mentally painful, too!
Here in the UK, we only experience the glorious hot sun for a few precious months, so we're giving you some basic tips on how to make the most of it, enjoy it safely and avoid sunburn.
How to avoid sunburn
Cover your skin or seek shade
When you're out and about, try wearing a hat and sunglasses to keep your face covered from the sun. You can also wear light coloured clothing which will limit your direct exposure to the sun and keep you cool. If you're spending time at a park, find a nice shaded spot so you can take breaks from the sun and limit your exposure.
Check your sun lotion
When choosing the best suncream, remember to check the labels! Anything lower than SPF 30 will not protect your skin properly so be sure to go for something higher than this. You should also look for the star ratings on the labels of sun lotion — this measures the amount of Ultraviolet A (UVA) protection it has, and the higher the star rating, the better.
Remember to always wear sun lotion — this will stop you from getting sunburn, and many dermatologists even recommend wearing it every day as part of your moisturising routine. By applying sun lotion each day, you cut your risk of getting skin cancer by half.
The Green People company have a wide range of organic vegan sun creams available, starting at just £7.
What's the time?
According to Cancer Research UK, the sun's UV rays are strongest between 11am and 3pm, so plan around this or make sure that you are being extra careful in protecting your skin during these hours.
Timing your trips out on very hot days is a good way to avoid sunburn and having regular breaks inside is another great way to prevent not only sunburn but also sunstroke. The body doesn’t respond well to being stuck for hours on end in scorching temperatures, with no breaks!
How to treat sunburn
Forgot to reapply your suncream after going for a dip? Burn easily? Ignored all the advice we just gave you? It happens! If you're the unlucky person that's been there, done that and got the burn, your body will be craving TLC. Read on for tips for a speedy, pain-free recovery.
Moisturise your skin
When your skin is burned, it will be super dry so rehydrating your damaged skin and keeping it moist is a must if you want a quick recovery. Any lotion that contains aloe vera or soy will help you out as these are reported to be great for hydration and replenishing much needed moisture!
Avoid using oil based moisturisers like petroleum jelly — it might be tempting to use these and it might even feel like they're keeping the skin moist, but you'll be trapping the heat underneath the skin and making things much worse so don't do it!
If you think you went a bit far with the sunbathing, grab for the water and drink. When you're in the sun, you sweat a lot more than usual, which means that you should always drink more water than usual. If your skin has burned, damaged or is peeling, hydrating is especially a good way to moisturise your skin from the inside out and prevent sunstroke.
On a normal day, an adult is recommended to drink at least two and a half litres a day, so at times of extra dehydration, you should be drinking even more. If you happen to experience sunburn during your time of the month, make sure you're extra hydrated as your body is already losing iron from the menstrual bleeding so will need a helping hand!
As well as hydrating the inside of your body, getting a towel and soaking it with cool (not freezing cold) water and placing around the effected area as soon as possible is another way to help the body rehydrate.
If you feel like you need more all-over relief, try having a cool shower. You can also try applying your moisturiser while your skin is still wet — this will allow the nutrients to absorb into the skin better!
Depending on how bad the sunburn is, it might be wise to take some painkillers to help treat the discomfort or pain. Paracetamol or ibuprofen should help with any discomfort and the pain relief dosage would be the same you'd use for anything else, like period pain.
Taking pain relief like ibuprofen also acts as an anti-inflammatory which will help with any swelling that you might have.
Your body needs rest after sunburn trauma so ensure that you take a break, slow it down and relax. Taking time out to rest up will allow your body to fully recover. Looking after yourself whilst your body is resting up will help speed up the process so be sure to eat good healthy foods, stay hydrated, and get enough sleep.