There are so many mixed messages out there at the moment! We are currently experiencing one of the hottest summers I can ever remember. With temperatures exceeding 30 degrees on some days, should we be running for cover?
Dangers of the Sun
It is well documented that the sun can damage our skin. The fairer you are, the more damage it will cause. Continued exposure to the sun can also be the cause of skin cancer.
When I grew up in the 70’s, it was common practice to get the maximum suntan you could. We didn’t even really know or understand about suncreams back then. For us it was often good lashings of oil! The quicker you could a tan the better!
It probably wasn’t until I was in my late 20’s I actually took stock and started really using suncreams regularly.
Over time, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) light damages the fibres in the skin called elastin. Wrinkles and age spots appear. Whilst we will all get these as we get older, the sun will speed up the process for us. People exposed to the sun more, will look older than those that have taken precautions.
Did you know the sun also effects the soles of your feet? Ladies, the one time of the year when we want to wear those beautiful sandals and you look at the heals of your feet in horror! Its all linked! Lack of moisture equals dryer skin, equals cracked heals and feet!
The suns damage can be reversed you will be pleased to know. Using suncreams, moisturisers, keeping hydrated (avoid alcohol) will all help. For the feet, foot balms, oils and exfoliating will all reduce the dryness.
Keeping out of direct sunlight in the middle of the day is a sensible approach. If you can’t, then make sure you are covered up. Wear light layers and a hat. Men who are getting a bit thin on top especially!
Get into the habit of applying suncream every morning when you have showered. It will act as a moisturiser as well as protect you.
Having the right suncream for your skin is also important. The fairer you are, the higher the factor you should go. You can still get a tan using suncream. What would you rather do? Get burnt and then spend the rest of your holiday inside or covered up, or let you skin gradually tan with a good factor suncream?
Don’t compare yourself to others either! I hear so many people saying to me ‘I wish I could get as brown as you’. The sad thing is, they probably never will. I am lucky, I have olive skin. Without the sun, I will be darker naturally than some. I can get away with a lower factor suncream as my skin doesn’t burn easily.
As you get older, your skin reacts differently to the sun, so don’t think ‘I never used cream as a child so why do I need it now?’ Understand your own skin type and look after it. You will look much healthier for it.
Also, I know its obvious, bu don’t look directly at the sun as it will damage your eyes! Wear sunglasses. They not only protects your eyes, but help to reduce wrinkles!
Don’t forget your pets!
Just like us, our pets can get sunburn too. Try and get them to lie in the shade. Fido is a nightmare and constantly sits in the direct sunlight! I continuously have to make him move. It’s like children. They don’t understand the dangers of the sun, so its up to us to help them. Keep plenty of water around for them so they don’t dehydrate and please don’t exercise them in the heat of the day!
The good news about the sun!
Yes there is some. It’s not all doom and gloom. The sun is also actually good for us!
The sun is a good source of Vitamin D which promotes our well being. When the sun hits our skin it triggers the body’s natural production of the vitamin D. Vitamin D is vital for our overall health. It protects against inflammation, lowers high blood pressure, helps our muscles, improves brain function and bizarrely even though it can cause skin cancer, may even protect against some cancers.
Low levels of Vitamin D can cause heart disease, prostate cancer and dementia!
So how confused are you now?
It is understandable that with both bits of advice above, it can be confusing. Should you be out in the sun or not?
Well I think the overall answer to that question is yes! The sun makes us all feel so much happier. We are more likely to be more active, sociable and generally all round more jolly!
The best advise though is to take precautions. Use suncream, wear a hat, drink plenty of water and cover up if you feel you are burning! Where possible find some shade to cool down in!
We have a long winter ahead of us, so enjoy the few months of good weather we have ahead!