We all love a good tan but are you staying safe when exposing yourself to the sun? Guest contributor Oliver shares his tips on how to tan safely this season!
Summer is finally here and one thing is on everyone’s mind – getting a gorgeous suntan! Although exposure to sunlight is great for us and, along with the cosmetic benefits, will help to boost Vitamin D levels to strengthen your immune system, some of us overzealous sun worshippers can really put our long-term health at risk by spending excessive amounts of time basking in its rays. In this article we’re going to explore a few simple methods you can put into action today to ensure you and your family are tanning safely.
The first and most obvious way of staying safe in the sun is to, well, not go out in the sun at all! Of course, this is out of the question for most of us, but minimizing your exposure can go a long way to reducing the potentially harmful effects. The easiest way to achieve this is by getting smart with your timing and staying inside or under the shade during the hottest times of the day. This will significantly reduce your chances of getting burnt and will also give your skin some rest from the UV rays which can dry it out.
Remember that doing too much too soon can actually burn and dry out your skin, reducing the intensity of your tan, so there is really no need to go all out straight away; start with brief tanning sessions and adjust the duration based on how your skin responds. Taking some time out of the sun allows your skin to rehydrate so that your tan is that much richer and you’ll be more than ready to get back outside once the sun is a little lower in the sky.
When looking at sunscreen products, you should be aware that the sun protection factor or SPF is only an estimation of how long you’ll be protected for, and not a measurement of the strength of the product. Any sunscreen you use should be well within its sell-by date and, wherever possible, it’s always best to opt for uncomplicated formulas without added ingredients such as Vitamin A or PABA.
Many of the ingredients added to commercial sunscreens have been shown to be carcinogenic or cancer-promoting, so bear this in mind when you’re deciding on a product; it can often be well worth investing a little extra into an all-natural product which provides UVA and UVB protection without the harmful, and completely unnecessary extras.
We touched on your skin’s hydration levels a moment ago and this is a very important point; be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day and make sure you have a glass or bottle of water handy at all times so that you can sip on it rather than forgetting for three hour and then gulping down half a liter at once!
Foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin E and beta carotene, both of which are known for their beneficial effects on skin pigmentation and tan enhancement. Utilizing foods such as these can help to reduce the amount of time you need to spend out in the sun to achieve the tan you want.
Loose-fitting clothes and a wide-brimmed are essential summer survival items, and a hat in particular will do wonders for protecting the more vulnerable areas of your face such as your eyes, cheeks, nose, and lips.
Of course, you’ll still want to apply plenty of sunscreen to the sensitive spots on your face and neck, but a wide-brimmed hat will do a lot to reduce the likelihood of chapped lips and flaky noses. On that note, a decent pair of sunglasses is also a worthwhile investment as it will help to protect your eyes from UV rays.
The final piece of advice is to be aware of not just yourself but your children as well; all of the tips we’ve suggested for you should actually be considered rules where kids are concerned. Children are far more likely to forget about hydration and staying in the shade, so remember to think ahead for them to make sure your summer doesn’t end up being filled with teary-eyed, sunburned kiddies!
These tips are relatively simple and may seem incredibly obvious to some, but when summer rolls around and the excitement sets in, many of us overlook these precautions and end up burnt to a crisp!
Stay safe in the sun and, just as importantly, have a great summer!