Are we finally seeing some spring sun?
Forecasters are predicting warmer weather this week, 'finally!' I hear you cry! After months of cold and wet weather we are all desperate to bask in the warm spring sun. And if you're a true Brit you'll be donning the shorts, flip flops and t-shirts before you can even say the word heatwave!
But this sudden exposure to sun is harmful to our skin. During the winter our skin is in a cosy hibernation, covered up in several layers of clothes, by dashing out in the sun (even if it's not boiling hot) it can be easily damaged if it's not protected properly.
The last thing you want to do when we finally emerge from the winter layers is cause damage by not protecting yourself against harmful UV rays. Even with cloudy weather, 30 to 50 per cent of UV rays still can manage to burn the skin. On windy days, you may not feel the sun's rays, but these can still cause damage.
Tanning is a natural process, but like it or not, any sun tan is evidence of skin damage. Our skin creates the brown pigment, melanin, to protect against the harmful UV rays emitted from sunlight.
If these damaged cells are unable to repair themselves, this can result in cancerous skin cells. Paler skin tones should be particularly careful when exposed to prolonged, unprotected sunlight.
UVA damage can strike any age, even children. Prepare for any summer heatwaves and make sure there is plenty of sun cream in the bathroom cupboard. Keep children out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day, and protect them with an SPF of at least 40.
When taking the family for a day at the beach, preparation the night before is key. I once saw a mother on a beach with a baby in her arms with no hat and little clothing. The baby was red and the weather was close to 30°C. I asked her in a polite way, what was going on, to which she explained her husband had left the sun cream at home and gone into the town centre to buy a hat. Pack your beach bag the night before to eliminate any stresses and forgotten items in the mad rush of the day of the trip.
When the weather heats up it is more important than ever to drink lots of water. When it's warm, not only does regular water intake help cool you down, it is also vital to help replace fluids lost from sweat.