There are plenty of reasons to love the sun, a gloriously sunny day puts us in a good mood and delivers a dose of vitamin D. But along with the positives come some dangerous negatives including skin cancer and premature ageing.
So, if you’re looking to get a sun-kissed glow in the safest possible way, grab your SPF and read on.
There are plenty of people who still believe in getting a pre-holiday sunbed to get a base tan. But sunbeds are not safe and give out harmful UVA rays which can damage DNA and lead to skin cancer. Some salons insist their tanning booths will give you a ‘healthy’ tan but don’t be fooled. Studies have shown using sunbeds increases the risk of skin cancer by 75% if the use of tanning devices starts before 30 years of age.
You don’t need to be lying out in the blazing sun to get a tan. You’ll still get colour lying in shady areas. If you love the feeling of the direct hot sun though, make sure you at least take plenty of breaks from it. You’ll reduce the risk of getting burned and this will ensure a healthier and longer lasting tan.
You might want to rethink your plans for an all day tanning session because it’s actually pointless. Your skin reaches a point when it physically can’t produce any more of the tanning pigment called melanin. The cut-off point differs from person to person but is often around 2-3 hours – less for fair skin. After this you are putting yourself at risk of UV damage.
The sun is at it’s strongest between the hours of 11am and 3pm. Try to limit your exposure during these times to reduce the risk of damaging your skin. There’s still plenty of hours in the day to get a little colour without putting your skin in danger.
You may not know that your diet can boost your sun protection. Certain foods increase lycopene, the skin’s own SPF. Tomatoes and tomato paste are especially high in lycopene but there are a plethora of other fruits and vegetables, including watermelon, papaya, grapefruit, carrots and mangos which are great snacks to indulge in to get more lycopene into your diet.
Vitamin C is also a powerful antioxidant which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and sun protection benefits. So stock up your fridge and your belly with vitamin C-rich berries and fruits like strawberries, kiwis and blackberries.
Take a supplement
Some supplements contain a powerful combination of antioxidants such as vitamin A and C which are very effective at combating free radicals and free radical damage.
You need to do more than just pick a high SPF when you’re choosing your sunscreen. You should check the label to ensure it has the term ‘broad spectrum’ on it so that it will protect again both UVA and UVB rays. Opt for a high quality, toxin free factor 30 or higher and remember water resistant doesn’t mean waterproof.