How to protect your skin from the sun
Sunburn occurs when the skin has been exposed to the sun’s rays for too long without adequate protection. Frequent overexposure to the sun can result in pigmentation changes (such as brown spots or freckles), wrinkles and accelerated skin ageing, skin lesions and even skin cancer.
Sunburns usually lead to redness and swelling of the affected area, which, depending on severity, can be very painful.
What are the symptoms of a sunburn?
If you have a sunburn, you are likely experiencing one or more of the following symptoms:
– Painful to touch
– Warm skin
– Chills and fever
How to treat sunburn
To calm and soothe sunburned skin, it’s really important to treat sunburn as soon as you notice it:
1) Go indoors straight away and stay out of the sun until the symptoms disappear
2) Take a cool bath or regular cold showers to help relieve the pain
3) Use a moisturiser containing aloe vera to soothe the skin. If the sunburn is still causing discomfort, you can try a low-dose hydrocortisone cream to reduce the inflammation
4) You can consider taking an over-the-counter painkiller, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, if the pain is severe
5) Increase your fluid intake. A sunburn encourages fluids in the body to move to the skin’s surface, leaving the rest of the body with less fluid. Drinking lots of water will prevent dehydration
6) Let damaged skin heal, especially when blisters have started to form. Whatever you do, do not pop blisters or pick at them!
7) Protect your skin from further sun damage by wearing clothing that covers the affected area
How to avoid sunburn
If you know you will be exposed to the sun for a prolonged period of time, there are a few things you can do to not get a sunburn:
1) Avoid sun exposure between 10 am and 2 pm as that’s when the sun is strongest
2) Wear protective clothing, especially on the parts of your body that are most vulnerable to sun damage including chest and shoulders
3) Keep tanning sessions to a maximum of 30 minutes per day
4) Apply sunscreen regularly, using a sun protection factor (SPF) 50+
What sun protection should you use?
Sunscreen protects your skin from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays, also known as UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are what cause your skin to burn, while UVA rays are linked to premature skin ageing. UVA rays are far more damaging, penetrating to deeper layers of the skin and breaking down collagen.
There are different types of sunscreens for you to consider, including physical and chemical sunscreens.
Physical sunscreens rest on the surface of the skin and act as a shield by reflecting the sun’s UV rays.
They usually contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as active ingredients. They are better for sensitive, rosacea or acne skin as they are less likely to clog pores and irritate the skin. They also tend to be thicker and whiter, and require more effort to rub into the skin.
Chemical sunscreens absorb and convert UV light into heat energy.
They have one or more of the following active ingredients: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. Chemical sunscreens are thinner and tend to be easier to rub into the skin.
Make sure that whichever sunscreen you choose, it comes with broad-spectrum protection (meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays), it is SPF 30 or higher and it is water-resistant.
Find out which sunscreen is best for your skin type
Depending on your skin type, certain sunscreens and after-sun care may be more effective and beneficial for your skin than others. It’s especially important to find the right sun protection for your skin if you’ve got sensitive skin that’s prone to allergic reactions.
At Skinora, we use a personalised quiz to determine your skin type and create your unique skincare routine. And we only ever recommend scientifically-proven products to help you achieve happy, flawless skin.
Take our skin quiz today to discover the best way to protect your skin from the sun.
How it works
Take our 3 minute quiz
Start with a skin quiz compiled by our doctors
This assesses many factors to allow us to customise your skincare for a £10 skin analysis fee
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Our skin experts will determine the best products for YOU according to your profile
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We will customise your programme each time adjusting to changes in the seasons and lifestyle factors so your skincare is customised for you