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Protecting your skin from the sun this summer

Summer is fast approaching and we’re almost ready to bring those strappy tops and our favorite shorts out from hibernation. After a long British winter, the excitement of feeling the sun on our skin and the wind in our hair is palpable, as invitations for barbeques and garden parties flood in.

However, as great as it feels to have the warm sun beating down on us, the warmer weather does carry a number of risks. Rates of skin cancer have dramatically increased in the UK over the past few decades, which makes it clear that Brits need to be more sun safety conscious.

Here, we outline some tips to protect your skin from the sun this summer.

Avoid exposure to UV rays

It’s common knowledge that excessive sunbathing can significantly increase the risk of skin cancer, so it’s advised to limit the time you spend in direct sunlight.  According to Cancer Research UK, getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of developing melanoma, compared to those who’ve never been sunburnt.  

If you do choose to tan naturally, using tan accelerators can help speed up the tanning process, reducing the need for direct sun exposure and preventing damage that may lead to skin cancer later in life.

Be aware of the risks of sunbeds

Sunbeds project ultraviolet (UV) rays directly to the skin and as a result, frequent use of them can greatly increase the risk of skin cancer.

Unfortunately, a lot of misguided advice has been spread about how sunbed use can be beneficial, particularly to those with skin conditions like acne and psoriasis. However, it’s thought that these reported benefits are actually related to the expert-approved treatment of phototherapy.

Consider spray tans and self-tanners

Spray tans and self-tanners offer a much safer way to get a golden glow without the risk of deadly disease. These products contain an active ingredient called Dihydroxyacetone (DHA) which reacts with amino acids in the surface layer of the skin, creating melanoidins, pigments which colour the skin and mimic a suntan.

Many salons offer spray tanning services, but you can also buy self-tanners to apply yourself, in the comfort of your own home. These come in a variety of forms, such as mousses, lotions, sprays and gradual tanning moisturisers.

What is the best way to protect your skin from the sun?

Although tan accelerators and self-tanners are much safer than UV exposure, it’s important to know that these won’t offer any protection from the sun. This means you must always be vigilant when heading outside.

Ensure you apply sunscreen whenever you’re spending time outdoors, even if it’s cool or cloudy. Covering up your skin is also important when it’s warm, so keep a T-shirt on hand and a hat to protect your head and face too. 

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