Is there such a thing as safe sunbathing? While we need a degree of exposure to the sun in order to make Vitamin D, it is very easy to overdo it, and we all know the dangers, even if some choose to ignore them. But our readers are smart, and I know that you want to be safe in the sun! It´s a message that Australians have taken on board. So here are some tips on how to be safe in the sun.
The first tip for safe sunbathing is to take it very easy. Be smart. Always limit your exposure to the sun to brief periods and never at the hottest time of the day. It´s far better to just enjoy the sun´s rays for a short time.
Being safe in the sun means never overdoing it. Don´t fling yourself onto the lounger at the first sign of sun and stay there for hours. Remember that you might not realise just how strong the sun is. So even if you tan easily, or have covered yourself in Factor 50, don´t stay out in full sun for too long.
Make sure that you buy a sun cream with a suitably high factor. In hotter climates, factor 30 or above is probably best. Even in cooler countries like the UK, it´s wise to wear sun cream on exposed areas, even if you don´t need a high factor. Just look at your hands, and you may well notice that they look older than other parts of your skin.
Noel Coward was spot on when he sung ´Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun´. It´s around 28C here in my part of Spain and I can tell you that the midday sun is fierce. Even a moment in full sun can be unpleasantly hot. Safe sunbathing definitely means not lying on the beach at lunchtime – leave it until later in the day.
You may not feel ´cool´ in a hat, but never go out in the sun without one. Keeping your head covered is smart in the heat, and it will help protect your face from the damaging effect of the sun. I´m not that far off 44, have always been careful about avoiding the sun, and have almost no lines (smug, me?!). We all have to age, but there´s no sense in helping it happen earlier than necessary!
Make sure that you use enough to cover your entire body, and don´t forget ´hidden´ areas like behind your ears, knees and the soles of your feet. One mistake often made is assuming that an application of sun cream will protect you all day. It won´t. Reapply regularly, especially after swimming (but of course, don´t be out there all day!)
When I moved to Spain, I quickly learnt how to adapt to living in a Mediterranean climate. Unfortunately, many visitors from northern European countries don´t even think about how to be safe in the sun and as a result I see a LOT of sunburn. So the message is this: don´t go mad on holiday and lie on the beach all day, just because it´s the only sun you´ve seen all year. You might end up with a souvenir you really don´t want.
Follow all of the above tips to be safe in the sun, and I do mean ALL. This is one occasion where you shouldn´t pick and choose. It´s fantastic to feel the sun on your skin but sunburn and cancer really aren´t pretty. Safe sunbathing is absolutely essential, and it´s equally vital to take care with ´accidental´ exposure to the sun when walking around etc. What do you think of tans and sunbathing – do you love your pale skin or prefer a fake tan to the real thing?
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