Safely Applying Sun Cream

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A sunny day is a complete mood changer, but the sun is also a life changer. Not applying your sun cream correctly can become a dangerous activity — do you know the facts? Health Shield looks at how you can improve your sun safety.

UK skin cancer rates have risen more than 100% since the early 1990s and is now the fifth most common cancer in the country. Sitting outside and enjoying good weather is a common pastime but you must also look after your skin’s health and wellbeing.

Everyone should wear sun cream whenever you spend time in the sun but a good test that determines how damaging the sun can be to you individually, is to establish how long it takes when sitting in the sun for your skin to turn red, and then times this by the factor of sun cream. For example: if you take 20 minutes to begin to turn red in the sun, and then you want to apply factor 15, you will be safely covered for 300 minutes before needing to reapply. If you find that you don’t particularly turn red in the sun, ensure you stick to the general rule of application every 2 hours.

What is the best way to apply sun cream and are you doing it correctly?

  • Keep up with regular application. This is a must. A standard amount for an adult to apply is seven teaspoons each time. One to each arm and leg, one for the torso front and one for the back, and finally one for the face. In an ideal world, one bottle should cover an adult for six applications.
  • Wearing high factor creams. This does not mean that you won’t ‘tan’, you’ll just do so more safely, although there is no such thing as a “safe tan”. Low factor creams will only increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
  • Cover previous sunburn areas with extra cream. If you have suffered with sunburn in the past, you are much more likely to suffer again since these areas have now become extra sensitive. Ensure you apply a generous amount of sun cream to these areas before exposure.
  • Keeping up with application even in the UK. Just because you are in the UK does not mean that the sun’s rays aren’t damaging and many are suffering with sunburn due to sun cream neglect. Surveys recently suggest that 60% of women and 40% of men do not wear sun cream in the UK.
  • Ensure good coverage. People are known to apply less than half of the amount that they are expected to meaning it is applied too thinly or not covering all areas.
  • Ensure you get all those hard to reach or forgotten about places, even if you need a helping hand. That includes your back, your sides, your ears and neck.

If the sun’s shining, it’s inevitable that we want to go outside. However, there are many summertime skin problems aside from sunburn that we need to be careful of. This includes photosensitive rashes and prickly heat.

Many people associate a sun tan with looking good and healthy when in fact it is a sign of skin damage. With so many options for sun cream application available including lotions, sprays, mousse and roll-ons, there is no excuse not to take better care of the health and wellbeing of your skin.

A Health Shield Health Cash Plan can help you take care of your everyday health and wellbeing from trips to the dentist, a new pair of glasses, to specialist consultation appointments if you struggle in the sun.