Burning issues

489

As we wave au revoir to the winter period, we are not only welcomed by the usual culprits of daffodils and newly-born lambs but the sun appears to have misread his diary, making an appearance months earlier than expected. In April, the temperature reached a record breaking high, a rarity given the British weather’s previous efforts.

Sadly, this glorious yet unexpected weather has had its pitfalls. Thousands of Brits have needed treatment for severe sunburn after forgetting to lather on the sunscreen. Despite still being in the midst of spring, the UV rays from the sun are still a strong force to be reckoned with especially without any protective body armour.

A study revealed that sunburn can actually double your chances of getting skin cancer. It is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the UK each year and its most deadly form, malignant melanoma, affects more than 8,100 adults in Britain each year, killing almost 2,000 people. Yet despite years of vigorous health campaigns and distressing skin damages statistics in the media, many of us will still be surrendering our milky-white bodies to the mercy of the sun. Many of us find it difficult to give up this burning flesh addiction in the hope of gaining a bronzed goddess status.

Of course, the sun does have its advantages. I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets a bounce in my step when the sun is out and about. The fact is that sunlight enables us to manufacture Vitamin D which is essential for the growth and maintenance of teeth and bones as well as a healthy immune system. In Britain we get only a quarter of Vitamin D from our diet, and the rest from the sun. This is not to say that we should all become sun worshipers in a bid to soak up all the sun’s goodness.

So below are some tips to make sure that you can enjoy the sunshine without getting a good roasting. After all, the only safe approach to sun protection is to stay out of the sun but I think we can rule this little gem of advice out straightaway.

How to beat the sun

1 Sunscreen should accompany you every time you leave the house: Choose the highest SPF you can find with UVA/UVB protection.

2 Double your dosage: Studies show we use only half to one third of the amount of sunscreen needed to get the SPF on the label.

3 Reapply every two hours: Sunscreens rub off easily and absorbs in no time at all, typically wearing off in  a maximum of two hours.

4 Think ahead: Coat yourself in sunscreen 30 minutes before heading out in the sun, and once again just before you step outside.

5 Don’t be fooled: In Britain, protect yourself from the beginning of March to the end of September as the sun can be very deceptive in the Spring and Autumn months.