How to enjoy the sun safely

Summer is finally here! There’s something about sunshine that just makes everything better, doesn’t it? Everyone’s in a better mood, everything looks nicer, and you spend all day dreaming of your weekend off at the beach.

Living by the seaside my entire life, I have seen a lot of lobsters walking around after a weekend at the beach. I have been one myself, and I look back and think how stupid I have been in the sun when I was younger. I can’t change the damage already done, but I can change how I can enjoy the sun now and educate others to do the same.

Here are my top tips for staying safe in the sun this summer, following 5 simple sun strategies of Slip, Slop, Slap, Slide and Shade:

1. SLIP on protective clothes

Clothing is the most effective barrier between the sun and our skin, and yet most people completely forget about clothing to prevent burning.

2. SLOP on the sunscreen

Always use a broad-spectrum SPF. This means it protects you from UVA (the ageing rays that are present every single day, even when its cloudy and raining), and UVB (the burning rays that are present when the sun is out). Also look out for sunscreen with ingredients like Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, as these will reflect rays rather than absorb them, which can cause heat rashes and irritability on the skin. Always apply sunscreen every 1.5-2hours.

3. SLAP on a hat

In my opinion, the bigger and floppier the better! Try to avoid baseball caps as they do not cover enough of the ears and neck.

4. SLIDE on sunglasses

Solar UV can be damaging to the eyes, so wear quality sunglasses. Look for the European CE mark, which indicates a safe level of protection. Those labelled with a high EPF (which ranges from 1-10) will provide the best protection.

5. SHADE from the sun

Find shade from the sun wherever possible, however this alone is not enough to protect you from UVA and UVB rays and you should still re-apply sunscreen regularly.

If you follow these 5 steps, you will be able to enjoy the sun safely and reduce your risks of skin cancer and developing skin pigmentation dramatically.

After all, prevention is better than cure.