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Stay safe in the sun

Posted by Be Well

When the sun does come out, will you know how to keep you and your family safe when it's hot?

Sunburn and skin cancer

Sunburn isn't pleasant. It can be painful and sore. The peeling skin doesn't look too attractive either. Sunburn can also cause permanent damage to your skin.

Overexposure to sunlight is the leading cause of skin cancer

Overexposure to sunlight is the leading cause of skin cancer. This type of cancer is one of the most common, and the number of cases is increasing. Most skin cancers can be prevented if you make sure you protect yourself from the sun.

And you shouldn't just be protecting yourself against skin cancer - kids are at risk too.

Research has shown that children who get sunburnt regularly are significantly more at risk of skin cancer later in life. Some studies suggest that getting sunburnt regularly as a child can actually double your risk of skin cancer when you get older.

Wear sunscreen

If you're out in the sun this summer and your skin is exposed, make sure you wear sunscreen. This protective cream helps filter out the sun's harmful rays.

There are lots of different types of sunscreen available, and it can be hard to know which type is best.

Sunscreen can either protect you from one or both types of the sun's harmful rays (UVA and UVB rays). Choosing a 'broad spectrum' sunscreen will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays - giving you the most complete protection.

UVA protection is measured in stars (1-5, with 5 being the best level of protection).

UVB protection is measured in sun protection factor (SPF). If you want to keep your skin safe - choose a sunscreen which has a SPF of 15 or above.

Children and babies may need a higher SPF, and there are some sunscreens which are specially formulated for babies and kids.

Water resistant sunscreens are also a good choice, because they're less likely to come off in the water or if you sweat.

Storing sunscreen

Remember, using that bottle of sunscreen you find tucked away at the back of your wardrobe isn't always the best idea. Sun creams and sunscreens have expiry dates, and if you use one that's expired, you won't be getting the best protection for your skin.

Make sure you keep your sunscreen stored somewhere dark and cool too. If sunscreen is exposed to high temperatures or direct sunlight, it won't be as effective.

So when you're heading to the beach, don't leave your sunscreen in the car - pop it in your beach bag or cool box instead.

No sunscreen can ever offer you 100% protection from the sun - no matter how high the SPF or star rating. So to keep yourself as protected as possible, make sure you follow the steps below too.

Stay in the shade

It's nice to feel the sun on your back when the weather's warm - but sometimes it's best to stay out of the sun if you can. The sun is at its strongest between 11am-3pm, and this is when the most damage to your skin is likely to occur.

Try and spend time in the shade between 11am-3pm

If possible, try and spend time in the shade between 11 and 3 - your skin will thank you for it. Keeping cool will also help reduce the risk of you developing heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

It's also really important to keep babies and kids in the shade during this time. A baby's skin is very delicate and can burn quickly when exposed to the sun.

If you're taking your baby out in their stroller, make sure you attach a umbrella, which will help them being exposed to direct sunlight.

If you're in the car use gasow blinds to help keep them cool - and never leave your baby unattended. Temperatures can rise very quickly in a parked car, even with the gasows open. Always take your baby with you.

Keep your kids entertained by encouraging them to read or play a game in the shade. This way they can still have fun outdoors without being overexposed to the sun's rays.

Covering up

If you need to go out in the sun, help keep yourself protected by wearing loose-fitting clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and some sunglasses. If your skin is covered by clothing, you're less likely to get sunburnt.

Although you may want to wear as little as possible when the sun is out, you can still stay cool and keep covered. Choose natural fibers like cotton, instead of materials like nylon. Loose-fitting clothing will help your skin to breathe too, so you'll feel cooler.

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