The summer holidays are now well underway with children from Land's End to John O'Groats spending more time outside, enjoying their six weeks off school. With warm weather forecast for August, a natural concern for most parents is ensuring their children are protected against harmful rays. However, the British summer can be very unpredictable so while it's good to prepare for hot weather, we also need to be ready for cloudy and dull weather.
A survey of 100 people that I was involved in earlier this year, which asked people about their sun protection over the Easter holidays, revealed that the majority of those surveyed did not know about the risks associated with cloudy days. Almost 50% said they would only use sun protection if the sun was shining and only 21% planned to wear sunscreen throughout the Easter weekend.
This is very worrying as clouds can actually increase the levels of UV radiation as the rays can reflect off the cloud's edge and intensify the level of exposure on the ground. It is important to remember that just because you can't see the sun it doesn't mean it's not there.
With this in mind, I have compiled a list of my top three tips to keep your family safe during the unpredictable British summer.
Pack the essentials
Britain is famous for its changeable weather and it's not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day. You might have a gloriously sunny morning but by lunchtime it could be pouring down. The last thing anyone wants is to get sunburnt or catch a cold during the long-awaited summer holidays so make sure to carry around sun protection as well as wet weather gear wherever you go.
Use a high factor sunscreen every day
We all know how rare it is to have a heatwave in Britain, and therefore it seems ridiculous to put on sunscreen when the sky is dull and overcast. However, it's important to remember that the potential for sun damage is not related to the temperature outside. UV rays are at their strongest from March to October so you need to be vigilant and wear at least an SPF30 sun lotion every day.
Avoid a sunburnt scalp
When most people think of sun protection, they think of sun cream and completely forget about their hair. There are lots of products designed especially to keep your scalp healthy and protected all summer, but I would recommend using a scalp protection spray.
Whatever your plans are this summer, stay safe and enjoy the break.