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A little sun goes a long way to boost our spirits, and a sun-kissed glow can do wonders for our confidence. We sure do want to feel a little more radiant - especially after the wet days of spring and the lockdown blues. Here are some of our top tips for keeping skin bursting with health for the long summer days ahead.

Staying safe in the sun

A good sun protection lotion is essential for all the family, even if you are someone who tans easily. The sun’s rays can be harmful to all skin types whether light, dark or medium, young, mature or in the middle! Here is a quick guide to UVA and UVB rays, and the best protection  for your skin type.

UVA is short for Ultraviolet A and refers to radiation from the sun with fairly long wavelengths. These rays penetrate below the skin's surface and are responsible for skin-ageing, DNA damage and long-term skin damage.
UVB stands for Ultraviolet B - rays which have shorter wavelengths. UVB rays damage the outermost layers of the skin causing burning and redness.

Remember: A for Ageing and B for Burning. Both types of rays will cause irreversible damage to the skin, so preventing damage is best with an all year round skincare regime to protect your skin no matter the weather.

What sun protection level should I use?

My skin is very fair, and easily burnt so I use an SPF15 all year round, and SPF30 in the summer. I have friends with darker skin who wear factor 50 as they want to keep the signs of ageing at bay as long as possible. It really does differ for everyone, however Ultrasun tell us that choosing the right SPF is really important and a number of factors should be taken into account – your skin type, the sun conditions and the level of protection you’re planning to use. They say that skin that is not used to the sun is less able to protect itself so a higher SPF should be chosen. Under the influence of UV rays, the skin begins to thicken and starts producing melanin. This process can take 10-20 days, so use extra protection while your skin is adjusting to the sun.
Clothes and cover ups don’t offer sun protection, rays can still reach through thin layers so always pop your sun cream on even when covering up in the direct sun.

What are the different types of sun cream?

There are two types of sun cream: chemical and mineral. Chemical sunscreen penetrates the skin and offers protection by dissipating UV rays, while mineral sunscreen sits on top of your skin and reflects UV rays away from the body.

In our range you will see ones that work in the ‘chemical’ way with clean, natural ingredients such as Ultrasun, Organic Green People, Yaoh and Jason. We also stock Shade which uses four simple ingredients and is a mineral sun cream.

Sunless Glow

If you fancy a sun-kissed look but would rather avoid the rays completely how about a skin loving, moisturising fake tan? 
The active ingredient in most sunless tanning products is dihydroxyacetone (DHA). When applied, dihydroxyacetone reacts with dead cells in the skin’s surface layer to temporarily darken the skin, this typically wears off after a few days. We have some fantastic long-lasting self-tanning products that are derived from plant sugars and not loaded up with horrid toxins. Green People’s organic self-tan is recommended by the Beauty Director of Harpers Magazine, and is quick-drying and non greasy. It contains 89% certified organic ingredients and will leave skin soft, supple and with a golden glow. Lavera’s  self-tanning lotion offers a naturally radiant tan for a sun-kissed look. Containing organic sunflower oil and organic macadamia nut oil it gives your skin an even, naturally beautiful tan and intense moisture. 

Is it safe to use sun protection when I am pregnant?

You should consider using a very high sun protection factor when pregnant since your skin tends to be more sensitive, melasma and other kinds of hyperpigmentation are more of a possibility and can become more pronounced when you’re exposed to the sun. The whole Ultrasun range is safe to use throughout pregnancy, as are our Green People, Yaoh, Jason and Shade ranges. Always check with the manufacturers recommendations when using any skincare products during pregnancy.

How to apply sun screen products

Your sun protection products should be applied to clean, dry skin BEFORE any other skincare products and reapplied as directed.

Always apply it AT LEAST 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun and at least 30 minutes before applying other skincare products (including makeup, perfume, creams etc). We often see people applying sun lotion when sitting in the sun however direct sunlight increases evaporation before it’s had a chance to bond with the skin, reducing its power to protect. 

Many lotions are formulated to be applied just once a day, but as Ultrasun say…..this isn’t a license to bake, no one should be out in the sun all day. Be sun savvy, take shade breaks, avoid the sun during 11am -3pm and keep hydrated.

What else can I do to keep my skin safe in the sun?

Don’t forget the power of nutrition to keep your skin in tip top shape! 

Antioxidants such as vitamins (vitamin C, vitamin E) and flavonoids play the main role in fighting against free radicals that are the main cause of numerous negative skin changes. Green and black tea have for a very long time been used to boost health, and many of our customers attribute their good skin to regular use of matcha green tea and other herbs. Aloe vera, along with collagen, biotin and hyaluronic acid are all believed to stimulate skin and assist in new cell growth.

Eating a rainbow of colourful foods is a great way to make sure you get lots of nutrients in your diet! 

Keeping your skin looking great, post tan!

Aftersun products are not just for soothing painful sunburn, they can actually help to keep that sun-kissed glow long after the sun has gone down and will help keep skin supple and smooth.  Look for products that include aloe vera to soothe and cool the skin, and ingredients such as coconut, shea, almond, rose or calendula for great hydration.Our favourites include aloe vera gel by Pura Aloe, Dr Hauschka After Sun and Green People Organic aftersun lotion.

The sun can do us the world of good by boosting our mood, and longer days give us more opportunity to access to the outside world. Enjoy the sun safely by covering up, wearing the right skin protection for you, drinking lots of water and filling your plate with healthy and nutritiously packed foods.