How to enjoy the sun safely

Using sunscreen every day is essential all year round. Whether the sun is shining or it’s cloudy outside your skin needs protection from harmful UV rays that are always present. This is especially important during the summer months when we often spend more time outside enjoying the sunshine. It’s easy to forget to re-apply your sunscreen or not apply enough to begin with and end up sunburnt. Even mild sunburn is bad news for your skin—and the more often it happens, the more long-term damage to your skin is likely to occur.

At Paula’s Choice our goal is to help you have the best skin of your life, and being safe outdoors, rain or shine, is always at the top of our list. Read on to discover our top tips for staying safe outdoors.

Why Do I Get Sunburnt?

There are several factors that contribute to the risk and severity of sunburn, including skin colour, the type of sunscreen you use, how much you apply, how often you reapply it, the time of day that you’re outside, whether you’re swimming or sweating and whether you’re sunbathing or staying in the shade. Even if you apply and reapply what you consider to be the right amount of sunscreen, it is still possible to get sunburnt, usually for one of the following reasons:

  • Only applying sunscreen once you get to your destination rather than applying it before you leave the house.
  • Not applying sunscreen correctly or understanding how much counts as a ‘liberal application’.
  • Relying solely on sunscreen to protect your skin. Sunglasses, UV-rated clothing, a hat and seeking shade are just as important as sunscreen.
  • Bathing or exercising in the sun and thinking that sunscreen is enough to protect you (it isn’t).

Enjoy the Sun Safely

While the easiest way to avoid sunburn and sun damage is to not go outside, that isn’t practical or fun! Here is our definitive list of how to protect your skin from the sun during the summer months when you are outdoors and more exposed to the sun.

  • Liberally apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater to all areas of exposed skin at least 15 minutes before heading outside. ‘Liberal’ means you can see a fairly thick layer of sunscreen, which you then massage into skin.
  • If you’re going to be swimming or sweating heavily, use a water-resistant sunscreen. You’ll still have to reapply it because sunscreens don’t last very long when you’re wet. Sunscreens labelled ‘water resistant’ will last 40 minutes when you’re wet.
  • If you’re going to be outdoors in direct sunlight, the recommendation is to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. We know that’s not always practical, but just do the best you can. Your skin will thank you for it!
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat to protect your face and neck.
  • Wear UV-rated clothing for long days out in the sun, especially at the beach. Wearing practically nothing (especially on a hot day) may be more stylish and sexy, but red, sunburnt skin is never in vogue.
  • Wear UV-rated sunglasses to shield the delicate skin around your eyes and the eyes themselves. Not wearing sunglasses can lead to long-term damage to your eyes.
  • Avoid being in the sun during the peak hours when UV light is most intense, usually between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  • Stay in the shade whenever you can - sunbathing is never a good idea (although we know this is often the hardest advice to follow because being in the sun can feel so great).
  • The moment you see your skin turning pink, get inside as quickly as possible. Even if you have reapplied your sunscreen.
  • Finally, while prevention is better than cure, if you do accidentally experience sunburn, make sure that you give your skin the extra care that it needs by applying hydrating and soothing products.

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