Truth is that any changes to skin pigmentation due to sun exposure is damaging. However, getting out in the sunshine is great for vitamin D production which has many roles in the body for example it instructs your gut to absorb calcium and phosphorus which are essential for maintaining strong and healthy bones (National Institutes of Health, 2018). Here are some tips on how to say sun safe this summer.
At all costs, this isn’t a drill! Sunbed’s are no safer than the sun, with some even giving out greater doses of UV rays than midday tropical sun.1 It can even be more harmful depending on different factors, for instance; the strength of the UV rays used, the length of sessions, your skin type, and your age. Continued use of sunbeds can even increase your risk of skin cancer later in life.2
Take care of your skin
If you take care of your skin, it’ll take care of you. There’s so much our skin already does for us: protects us from harmful things in the outside world, prevents dehydration, helps regulate our body temperature 3 – that it’s only fair we make sure it’s well cared for, especially in summer when there’s higher risk to damage.
Exfoliate the night before
Exfoliating the night before helps you to achieve the best possible tan as it removes the dead cells from the uppermost layer of skin; evening out your skin tone and unclogging your pores. This allows for a long-lasting, even tan.
Keeping your skin moisturised and hydrated – both before and after you tan – will help you tan better and faster than having dry and ashy skin. This is as simple as moisturising the night before you plan to sunbathe, as well as putting on after-sun or a hydrating cream once you’ve been exposed to the sun.
The right sun cream
Not only should you opt for a high SPF sun cream, whether you choose SPF30 or SPF50; you should also always look for the term ‘broad spectrum’ or the UVA logo with the word ‘high’ or 4/5 stars, making sure you reapply every couple of hours for maximum protection.
Apply sun cream 30 minutes before going out, and regularly top up every couple of hours whilst out in the sun, especially if you go swimming and wash off any protection that’s on your skin (even if it says water resistant).4
The right diet
Your skin has its own nutritional needs and if your diet is poor then it can be reflected onto your skin condition. Rob Hobson, Head of Nutrition says, “You are what you eat and the foods you choose to include in your diet can have both a nourishing and protective effect on your skin. Nutrients that act as antioxidants are particularly important as they help to protect the skin from the damage caused by excess free radicals that can build up when exposed to environmental conditions, such as too much sun.”
Certain nutrients and phytochemicals like lycopene (found in tomatoes, pink grapefruit and watermelon), vitamin E (found in wheatgerm, avocado, nuts and seeds) and selenium (found in Brazil nuts) can help protect the skin against sun damage by contributing to the protection of cells from oxidative stress. However, if you struggle to get all the right nutrients into your diet, you can always supplement; Tan & Defend contains carefully formulated vitamins, minerals and natural extracts that are designed to protect the skin from the inside and out. Paired with sun cream, it’s the ultimate safer tanning duo.
Overexposing your skin to the sun can leave you with sunburn, while it’s generally short lived it can increase your risk of developing skin problems later in life.5 The best way to avoid burning, aside from keeping topped up on sun cream, is being safe in the sun 6 – recommends switching to shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest.
If you feel like you’ve gotten too much sun, actively move into the shade, putting your health before your golden skin is key!
1 NHS (2018). Sunburn.
3 Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) (2016), How does skin work?
Nhs.uk. (2016). Sunscreen and sun safety - NHS.UK.
National Institutes of Health (2018). Office of Dietary Supplements - Vitamin D.
Nhs.uk. (2018). Are sunbeds safe? - NHS.UK .