Summer’s on its way, but before you hit the lounger, here’s the lowdown on protecting yourself from the dangers of the sun.

collage of three pictures showing girls smiling and laughing in the sunshine and applying suncream

1. Everyone can get sun damage

No matter what your skin tone, sun damage affects everyone. Dr Jane Leonard, GP and cosmetic doctor, explains, ‘All skin types can burn. Even though fairer skin types are more susceptible to sunburn and sun damage due to the lower levels of melanin in their skin, darker skin types can also burn.’

2. Use more product

Most people don’t use enough sun cream. Dermatologists suggest we need about a shot glassful every two hours. Adjust this according to your body size, and give children extra care, as their skin is more sensitive to the sun than adults’ and likelier to burn.

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3. Waterproof doesn’t mean everything-proof

Your sun cream might stand up to a couple of lengths in the pool or a splash in the sea, but unless you come out and drip dry without a grain of sand touching you or going anywhere near a towel, some of your sun protection will get rubbed away. Always reapply after drying off.

4. Don’t forget your lips

Slathering on your usual lip balm in the sun? STOP. Applying a non-SPF balm will have you burning in seconds. Lips are often overlooked, and if you’re prone to cold sores, sunlight can be a trigger. 

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5. Buy a face specific SPF

‘Invest in a separate sunscreen for your face and body,’ says Dr Jane. ‘Sunscreen for your body can often be too heavy for your face. It can make you look and feel oily, and trigger breakouts. Use high factors, too – I recommend factor 50.’

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6. Say no to sunbeds

The NHS says, ‘Many sunbeds give out greater doses of UV rays – which increase your risk of developing skin cancer – than the midday tropical sun. And the dangers are greater for under-25s*. For a year-round glow, use a fake tan instead. Don’t want the faff? Choose a gradual lotion with a little fake tan to build up a natural colour daily. Garnier Summer Body

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Dr Jane’s suncare tips...

  1. Apply SPF all over your body while you’re  indoors, where you can more clearly see all the areas you’ve covered.
  2. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you to apply every two hours.
  3. Make sure skin is dry before getting dressed.
  4. If the cancer risk isn’t enough, remember too much sun exposure causes premature skin ageing, meaning wrinkles develop faster.
  5. Sunburn can never be reversed. The redness and soreness go with time, but the long-term damage can’t be undone.
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