How to Keep Your Skin Safe in the Sun

Summer is fast approaching, and the arrival of higher temperatures couldn't be better timed as the world begins to return to a long awaited state of normalcy. The past year has been tough, and you deserve a fantastic season filled with sunshine and partying (fingers crossed for my friends up in Scotland)...Yet, while you may be tempted to rush outside at the drop of a hat, it's important to remember the importance of protecting your skin against the sun. The "mixed" weather we experience in the UK, leads many people to make some severe mistakes which put their skin at risk: such as reserving suncream specifically for holidays abroad, or even worse, believing that the tan you've acquired acts as some kind of shield, blocking any further damage. We here at SlayBoxes believe every guy should look their best and take care of their appearance, no matter the weather.

Quick science lesson: Damage to the skin caused by UV rays can have multiple short and long term effects. 95% of the sun's rays that reach the ground are UVA rays that can deeply penetrate your skin. UVA causes your cells to age prematurely and your skin appear dry and wrinkled. Y'know those grannies you see leaving the tanning salon? Well they're barely pushing 30... The other 5% of rays are UVB, which have a higher energy level and predominately damage the outer layer of your skin. UVB are the rays which cause sunburn and (more worryingly) skin cancer. Both of these rays are clearly dangerous and, without proper protection, pose large risks to your skin. Hence, why it's important to buy suncream which protects efficiently against both.

When purchasing suncream you should ensure the label has at least 30SPF.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measure for the amount of protection against UVB radiation. According to the NHS website, SPFs are rated on a scale of 2 to 50+ based on the level of protection they offer, with 50+ offering the strongest form of UVB protection. With your skin safely screened from UVB, you'll also need to ensure your suncream has at least 4-star UVA protection. Although it can also be indicated by the letters "UVA" in a circle on the bottle, which indicates that it meets the EU standard for protection. On UK suncreams, you should see a rating of up to 5 stars, with the more stars equalling a higher amount of UVA protection. Since summer is only just beginning, it's also important to make sure your old suncream in the back of the cupboard isn't past it's expiry date. Most suncreams, on average, last 2 years, so depending how much dust you're wiping off, it may be time to invest in a new bottle.

Depending how long you're planning on being out in the sun, you may need to apply suncream twice: First, 30 minutes before you're planning on leaving, and then again just before going out. You should apply suncream to all exposed skin, including the neck, ears, arms, and torso if you're going taps aff. To all my balding fellas out there, you'll also need to get the top of the head if you have thinning or no hair, but alternatively a hat does an even better job. It's recommended you reapply suncream every 2 hours, as the sun can quickly dry it off your skin. However, if you've been swimming, sweating, or towel drying, you should reapply immediately (even if it is "water resistant") as it will probably have already rubbed off. Following all these steps will keep your skin radiant and safe, and if you're still unsure of anything, just flip the bottle round and take a look at the manufacturer's instructions.

Sometimes you can follow all the precautions but worldly distractions or particularly sensitive skin can cause you to still feel the wrath of the almighty sun. If you do find yourself red and tender from sunburn, it's important to stay out of the sun until all signs of redness have gone. Once home, you should sponge the sore skin with some cool water, and then make sure to apply soothing aftersun cream, such as aloe vera. Paracetamol or Ibuprofen, will also help ease the pain by reducing inflammation. If some time passes and you begin to feel unwell, or if the skin swells badly or blisters, you should seek medical help.

You could have an immaculate skin care routine filled with cleansers, serum and moisturisers. But if you don't protect your skin properly when out in the sun, it will all be for nothing as the UV rays will quickly damage and age your skin. So slap on suncream and don't forget to spend some time in the shade when the sun's at its hottest.

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