There’s nothing quite like the feeling of stepping off the plane when you’ve reached your summer holiday destination and feeling that blast of gorgeous warm air hit you as you soak up your new surroundings which you’ve exchanged from grey clouds and rainy skies for a well deserved week or two. The temptation to rip all your clothes off and run to the nearest beach, slathering yourself in cooking oil as you go is only too great, you’re only there for a week and how much damage can you really do in that time anyway? Well the quick and easy answer to that is – A LOT. It’s never a good idea to sunbathe with no SPF protection and sometimes it’s easy to be seduced by old wive’s tales and urban myths about tanning and prepping your skin pre holiday.
We’re here to debunk those beach beauty myths that could leave you looking like a lobster this summer — Love Summer is here to help you be less lobster and more bronzed beauty!
1. “Burning is fine because after that it will turn into a tan…”
No you didn’t! This is just plain untrue because the best safest suntan comes from well hydrated skin – which is basically the opposite of what sunburn is! Keeping your UV protection high will allow your healthy, tanned, hydrated colour to develop and glow through naturally.
2. “My skin never burns so I can’t have damaged my skin, so there’s no need for me to bother with suncream.”
The sun emits Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays which was skin-ageing and Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays which cause skin to burn. Yes – you can have the type of skin that doesn’t burn from UVB rays however thinking you don’t need to protect your skin overall is lulling you into a false sense of security. Severe damage can be caused by UVA rays which won’t burn your skin however accumulation of this damage can lead skin cancer. So always cream up! Even if you have darker skin it’s important to stay protected and keep checking moles on your body for any changes.
3. “I’ve already put suncreen on once this morning so i’m good to go for the day…”
As a rule of thumb to keep you safe, re-apply your sunscreen every two hours and after each time you get out of the water – and this is regardless of whether or not it says that your sunscreen is ‘waterproof’ on the label. Remember bronzed bunnies – prevention is better than the cure (or feeling really burnt and sad on the plane home.)
4. “I’m wearing a hat today and staying in the shade all day so I don’t need to bother with suncream today.”
UV rays are crafty little buggers and will cause you damage without you even knowing it or sitting outright in the shade. Think of them as those annoying holiday bugs that you can’t see and yet manage to devour your legs / arms in the night. Slap on to stay safe!
5. “SPF 60 is twice as good as SPF 30″
The highest Sun Protection Factor potions can actually give false confidence. In America, the FDA (Food and Drug Adminstration) recommend slapping on a minimum of SPF15 (which blocks 92% of UVB) and a maximum of SPF30 (which blocks 97% of UVB) If you go higher than this and ramp it up to SPF60, you’re actually only blocking out 1% more and yet slathering on more and more chemicals which can lead to irritation of the skin. However with many specialists believing that people don’t apply nearly as much suncream as they should, by applying a SPF60 less than the others, at least you’re increasing your safety margin. Avoid the complication by going for an SPF between 15-30 and just keep slapping it on!
N.B. Forget standard maths – when it comes to SPF ‘layering’ i.e. SPF 20 of one brand + SPF 20 of another brand, there’s no such thing….this still equals SPF20!
6. “A few sunbed sessions before going on my hols will help prepare my skin for sun exposure so it’ll minimise the risk of me burning and the need for me to wear sunscreen”
Just NO! Sunbeds emit UV exposure (the majority are of a UVA nature) – and this is just as damaging to your skin in the first place as sun is. Sunbeds can cause skin cancer so it really is a wonder to understand why people still use them. It’s just not a good idea. If you do want to hit the beach / pool on your first day with a subtle hint of tan then consider using a gradual tanning lotion with high moisturising properties daily, in the week before you jet off to the sun.
7. “One bottle of suntan lotion will last me for a week’s holiday.”
Most people don’t apply sunscreen thickly enough. The recommended amount works out for women at around a teaspoon per ar. If applied correctly you could actually go through a bottle of sunscreen in far less time than a week, so definitely bear this in mind. The best thing to do here is to apply one layer, let it dry and then around 20 minutes later add another layer – this will ensure you’re applying and reapplying at the recommended rate.
8. “The only thing I need to pay attention to on the label is Sun Protection Factor – SPF”
Computer says no! SPF actually only refers to the level of protection given against UVB rays. In the UK we use a star rating system, advising on protection against UVA rays, with four stars as the highest. The trick is to read the label carefully and ensure it says something along the lines of ‘provides broad spectrum protection against UVB and all UVA rays.’
So go forth and rock those bikinis / swimshorts sparkly summer sunshines, but pay attention to your sunscream routine and make it on integral part of your day on holiday. You’ll thank us in the long run!
Happy Sunbathing! Love, Summer x