How to Stay Safe in the Sun

Aiming to get a tan, a 'sunburn tattoo' or just being too busy in the pool or sightseeing means we sometimes forget to top up our sunscreen. Staying safe in the sun is super important in protecting our skin from sunburn and even more permanent damage. Check out our tips for looking after your skin in the sun.

Know what to look for in your sunscreen

A kitten is looking from side to side, the caption reads 'Too many choices'
  • Make sure you get sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Make sure your sunscreen isn’t out of date, most sunscreen have a shelf life of two to three years. If in doubt buy some more to ensure you get the full protection.
  • Look for the Star rating on the bottle. You want sunscreen with at least four-star UVA protection. 
  • Do some research on the brand before you buy, and make sure it's passed the protection tests. 

Wear clothes that protect you from the sun

Joey from friends is wearing multiple layers of clothing, the caption reads 'Could I be wearing anymore clothes.'
  • Make sure to wear a hat to avoid your head getting burned (not fun!), and make sure it covers your ears too for maximum protection.
  • If wearing sandals or going barefoot remember to put sunscreen on your feet! (nose, ears, hands and the back of your neck are some of those other areas that are easy to forget!)
  • Wear sunglasses that have 100% UVA and UVB protection to protect your eyes.

Don't be afraid to head into the shade!

A goth like character dressed in black reacts to the sunlight hitting his face, putting his hands up to block it.
  • Try and avoid being out in the sun between 11am-2pm. This is the hottest time of the day, making it the most likely time to get burned. Head under an umbrella or use it as the perfect time to head indoors for some lunch, to visit a museum or do a spot of shopping.
  • Even if it’s cloudy outside, put sunscreen on. The UV rays from the sun can still sneak through the clouds and burn you - trust us, we've been there!
  • Always reapply sunscreen after being in the water, even waterproof suncream, and don't stay in the water too long without topping up your sun tan lotion - especially on your shoulders and head which are still exposed when you're in the pool.
  • Whenever you feel the sun is getting to much for you, don't be embarrassed to head into the shade or indoors for a cool down.

Plus, make sure to drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated when you're out in the sun.

If you do get burned, know how to soothe your skin

Ted from the show How I Met Your Mother is applying aloe vera to his sunburnt body.
  • Sponge sore skin with cool water, then apply some after-sun. If you feel unwell or the skin swells blisters, seek medical help.
  • Paracetamol or ibuprofen will ease the pain by helping to reduce inflammation caused by sunburn, but make sure you know how to stay safe when taking over-the-counter medicines.
  • Stay out of the sun and cover up until all signs of redness have gone.

For more info on sun safety, see the NHS website and if you're looking to get a holiday glow the safe way, check out our alternative ways to get a tan.

Check out Get Into Summer for more hints, tips, ideas and activities for this summer.