So in the UK it is getting to that time of year where (hopefully) it warms up and the sun comes out to play. It means days out and warm evenings, BBQs and outdoor swimming. And if you are lucky a holiday! But the sun isn’t all fun and games and there are important things to consider to keep yourself safe.
· It’s really important to wear sun cream regardless of your skin tone. If you are paler it will help prevent burn which isn’t fun. But even if you tan or are naturally darker you will still get sun damage if you don’t protect yourself. Sun damage includes everything from being wrinkly earlier, ‘sunspots’, to the different types of skin cancer.
· But it only works if applied properly – just in the morning isn’t enough, you need to reapply it regularly (about 2 hourly normally) and after any swimming.
And you need to apply enough, the official amount is 2mg/cm2 (so helpful I know) but about 1 teaspoon should be enough for both arms. Basically doubling what you would normally do is a good place to start. Unfortunately the factor of your sun cream works in such a way that if you use factor 50 but apply half as much as you are supposed to you actually only get about factor 7, not factor 25 as you might think.
· And you need to buy the right stuff. The factor depends on your skin tone. If you are of paler skin then factor 30 is a good bet. If you have darker skin or tan very easily then you can use a lower factor.
The other thing to consider is the number of stars. Whilst the factor tells you how much UVB protection you are getting, stars tell you how much UVA. And both types of UV cause sun damage. 4 stars is always best regardless of your skin tone.
OTHER SUN PROTECTION
· It’s not just sun cream, a great way to protect your face from the sun is wearing a hat. Mine is a big brimmed straw hat and when I wear it I feel like I am in a movie or a photoshoot (strange I know). Hats can be cumbersome but find one you like and you will want to wear it! They can but super cheap but don’t choose an ugly one just because it is, if you don’t wear it then what was the point!
· Sun cream can be annoying and if you don’t always want to wear it there are other options. Loose flowy clothing like Haram pants is great in the summer – cool and shady.
· Sunglasses is like sun cream for your eyes and can be super cute. Just make sure yours are UVA and UVB protecting (there is normally a sticker on them when you purchase them saying if they are).
· And remember to try and stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day (usually between 12 and 3), this is when the sun is at its most dangerous. It’s a good time to hunt down some shade or head indoors.
A FEW OTHER BITS
· Sunstroke or heatstroke is where your body gets too much heat for too long and can no longer maintain your ideal internal body temperature. It’s not life threatening but can make you feel very unwell (It’s really not much fun and I would wholeheartedly recommend you avoid it). Follow the tips on here and you should stay sunstroke free.
· In the summer you typically sweat more especially if doing any sporting activity. It’s easy to get dehydrated, so make sure you drink plenty of water.
Stay safe everyone and I hope you have a lovely summer.
Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers with a platform to share and help others from their own experiences while also educating others on different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all teenagers around the world and support others. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.