Mairead Robinson returns to the ‘burning’ question of protecting our skin outdoors this summer
As the country opens up and we are all enjoying meeting and celebrating outside, be it in our own back gardens or in the newly opened restaurants, hotels and bars. So once again we need to pay serious attention to our skin as we enjoy this ‘outdoor summer’. Experts are worried about an increased risk of skin cancer from people spending more time outdoors because of pandemic restrictions. They are warning people to pay heed to the sun and remain vigilant of the amount of time spent outside, even if they are not in direct sunlight.
So now that grandparents can enjoy having their grandchildren over to visit again, undoubtedly there will be picnics and barbeques in the garden, and maybe even a paddling pool for the little ones – as we had in our garden during the recent hot weather. It is a good idea to keep a stock of children’s sunscreen to hand, as their delicate skin can burn very quickly. Nivea Sun have a Kids Protect & Care 50+ extra water resistant spray which is specifically developed for children’s skin. You can even let them spray themselves and each other, which they have great fun doing with this gun-like sprayer. Just ensure that they keep it away from their eyes and they cover the whole body, including the back of the neck! Their range also includes a roll-on SPF50 which is also extra water resistant.
And back to the grown-ups. If you are planning days by the beach, or have been turned on to sea swimming, as I have this past year, it is vital that you use a water resistant product. Not all sun screens will protect your skin if you are swimming between applications, so ensure that what you are using is listed as water resistant. We can learn a lot from our Australian cousins, who enjoy a lot of sunshine outdoors, and spend hours on the beach and in their swimming pools. A new brand available here is Bondi Sands whose range of products include a SPF 50+ broad spectrum formula that is non-greasy, water resistant for four hours and leaves your skin feeling moisturised and protected. For those who really love a golden tan but also want to ensure their skin is protected, they have a Protect & Tan SPF 15 Coconut Beach tanning oil, which is a beautifully fragranced smooth body oil.
There are times when we are caught out unawares when it comes to spending timeout doors, and certainly this can happen to all of us in Ireland when we are not so used to continuous sunny weather, and are often unprepared for it resulting in getting burnt. Years ago it was always Calamine Lotion that we used to sooth burns, but now Aloe Vera is deemed the product of choice. Bondi Sands have a non-greasy moisturising gel spray which soothes and hydrates the skin after sun exposure. My favourite is the non-greasy Cooling Gel, which gives seventy-two hours hydration with cooling Aloe Vera and vitamin E. Remember to apply cooling after sun products liberally and as often as necessary, and don’t wait until you feel your skin burning in bed at night!
Lip balm is very important also, and should not be forgotten when applying sun protection. Nivea have a soothing long lasting moisture caring lip balm SPF 30 with Jojoba oil. For extra protection, Bondi Sands have some deliciously flavoured lib balms with SPF 50+ in flavours including tropical mango and wild strawberry. A friend of mine who is a keen skier, gave me a great tip once that she uses when on the slopes. Use the lip balm on your nose, as this will help avoid the dreaded red nose that often stands out after wearing sun glasses all day!
And when it comes to your face, you should certainly not skimp on quality products. As well as keeping yourself safe from the serious damage of sun burn, we also want to ensure that we minimise skin ageing and the deep wrinkles and dehydrated skin that comes with over exposure to sunshine. Nuxe have a great range of anti-aging cellular protection creams from SPF 20 to SPF 50 that are suitable for both face and body. My favourite is the pocket sized SPF 50 light fluid high protection cream for normal to combination skin. It is a light fluid high protection cream, that can be carried around in your handbag and taken out and reapplied as necessary.
Finally don’t forget your hair! The sun can dry up your hair leaving it frizzy and dehydrated and unmanageable. It is always recommended to wear a sunhat outside, and this will certainly protect your hair as well as your face. There are numerous products for protecting your hair in the sun, and many body oils can also be used on the hair. But the simplest and easiest thing to do when planning a day in the sun, is to leave your hair conditioner in your hair after washing it, instead of rinsing it out as you would normally do. This will provide a protection during the day, and you can then rinse it out afterwards.
Many people will be chancing a trip abroad later this summer and into the winter, so do remember that the Mediterranean sun can be a lot stronger than what we normally experience in Ireland. It is vital now more than ever that as we soak up the Vitamin D from the sunshine, we also protect our skin both at home and abroad.
There are many excellent products available now for sun protection, so read the information on the bottle and choose wisely. Enjoy the sunshine and stay safe.