You’re heading to the beach because you want a great all over suntan to make you look and feel good. Right? Along with your towel, swimsuit and shades, don’t forget to pack another essential item…the suntan lotion. The sun is basically a ball of fire, so skipping the suntan lotion is not a fast track to a deep bronzed look, it’s a shortcut to red and burnt skin. Trust me! Read on to find out how suntan lotion works and why it’s so important to use it.
UV-A and UV-B rays
- When you are lying on a sun lounger at the beach developing your tan, your skin is exposed to the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays. There are two types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation – UV-A and UV-B.
- UV-A causes premature ageing, wrinkled skin and age spots.
- UV-B can lead to life-threatening skin cancers in some people.
- Suntan lotions contain a combination of organic and inorganic ingredients. The inorganic chemicals work by reflecting the sun’s rays away from the skin. The organic ones are able to absorb the sun’s harmful rays, thereby protecting our skin.
- So, assuming you’re not keen to get wrinkles before your time or to be a skin cancer victim, suntan lotions are a good thing. A very good thing, a skin and life saver.
Sun Protection Factor (SPF)
- The higher the SPF, the more protection your skin gets. Sunscreens with an SPF factor between 15 and 50 are recommended for anyone over 6 months old. Young babies have very sensitive skin, so shouldn’t be exposed to the sun at all.
- Some facts and figures: a factor 15 suntan lotion will protect your skin for approximately 15 times longer than if you were not using suntan lotion. Or to put it another way, it protects you against, roughly, 93% of the sun’s rays whilst a factor 30 lotion protects you against 97%.
- Buy a broad spectrum waterproof suntan lotion which protects against UV-A and UV-B rays and works even when you’re swimming.
How and when to use suntan lotion
- For it to work effectively, suntan lotion should be applied 30 minutes before exposure to the sun.
- It should be applied thickly to all exposed areas of the skin, back and front. Experts say, most people don’t apply enough lotion and this obviously reduces its protection.
- Falling asleep in the sun is a bad idea. Why? You need to reapply the suntan lotion regularly throughout the day, especially if you’ve been swimming or perspiring
- Don’t be fooled by cloud; even if the sun doesn’t seem to be shining, the harmful UV rays can penetrate clouds and burn skin badly.
So, are you convinced that suntan lotion is a good idea? And not just when you’re lying on the beach but when you’re playing sport or are out and about in the sun. But, a note of caution – however high the suntan lotion factor you buy is, it cannot block out 100/% of the sun’s rays. Even one or two percent exposure over a prolonged period can be very harmful. Hats, sunglasses and protective clothing to cover sensitive areas are a good idea. Seriously.
Better to take a little longer to achieve that nice tan than over expose your skin and then regret it.