Make Hay while the Sun Shines | Staying safe in the Sun this Bank Holiday Weekend.
Only last weekend I was complaining on the phone to my mother about the miserable weather we were having and how the leaves on the trees outside our window were already starting to go brown; then in a surprising turn of events (or weather fronts I suppose) we end up having one of the hottest weeks so far this Summer, with temperatures hitting 32°C+ some days! With the good weather forecast to continue over this August bank holiday weekend, I know Londoners and everyone across the UK are getting excited (I also hear things are looking good in Ireland too, but no bank holiday there); I haven’t seen an August bank holiday like this since my first Summer in London, three years ago!
But before we go throwing our clothes off (quite literally) in the excitement, we need to take a moment to consider sun protection. Yes it is the last days of Summer, and yes it is the UK, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t or won’t get burnt in the sunshine and it definitely doesn’t mean it’s safe to go out without protecting yourself and your skin. Here are some tips and products to help you stay safe and enjoy the last rays of Summer over this bank holiday weekend.
1: Wear Sunscreen!
As Baz Luhrmann sensibly advises us, “the long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists“; in simple terms, the sun damages your skin a little but every time you leave it exposed and unprotected. Sun exposure is one of the main causes of skin cancer, as well as premature ageing and damaged and dry skin; it doesn’t cost a lot or take a lot of time to apply sun-cream, it also isn’t a lot of effort to carry a mini bottle in your bag with you this weekend so you can top up as you go. Danger spots to watch are you shoulders, your face, especially your nose, the backs of your ears and your shins; these areas of your body burn easier because the skin is thinner in these places. You need a minimum of SPF15, but I would recommend SPF20-30 if you have fair, sensitive skin.
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2: Wear a Hat.
Just as I already said, the skin on your face is especially sensitive to the sun because it is so thin, therefore wearing a hat to keep you face shaded from the sun’s rays provides an extra bit of protection and great if you can find a bit of shade to stand or sit under. Wearing a hat also completely covers your scalp from the sun, which burns easily especially if you have fair skin/hair, and if you have ever experienced sunburn on your scalp you’ll know it’s extremely painful!
On top of protecting you skin, wearing a hat protects your hair, which can also be damaged and dried out in the sunshine. If you have coloured, bleached or already heat damaged hair from styling, then a sun protectant for your hair is a good idea. Hair sun cream is a relatively new concept/product, but a really good idea; they help provide and lock in moisture to dry ends, protect hair from the drying effect of chlorine or sea water (great if you plan on going for a swim this weekend), and also provide sun protection. Try the Philp Kingsley Citrus Sunshine Swimcap, it smells amazing and leaves your hair lovely and soft.
Whatever you are doing, or wherever you are going this weekend make sure you stay hydrated and carry a bottle of water with you as you travel. You need to consume more than the average RDI of 8 glasses of water a day when it’s hot, as you are more than likely sweating in the heat and therefore losing water all the time. If you are going out for a few drinks in the sunshine this weekend, make sure you also drink plenty of water, alcohol is not hydrating, it in fact dehydrates the body faster, so try to drink a glass of water between each glass of wine, beer or whatever is taking your fancy. It is also a good idea to avoid drinking too much caffeinated and soft drinks in the sunshine, while they may quench your thirst, they too are dehydrating.
4: Find Shade.
I’m not suggesting that you completely avoid the sun altogether, as sunshine is good for us and helps our skin produce vitamin D; however, if you’re having a picnic, sitting out for lunch or having a few drinks with friends, try to find a shaded area where you can still enjoy the heat of the sun but avoid direct exposure to it’s rays.