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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Food Guide > June 2018 > HOW TO STAY SAFE IN THE SUN


Follow our guide to getting the right amount of exposure – and finding the best sunscreen for you

It’s good to know that we don’t need to hide in the shade all day. But tanning and burning are still a real no-no. ‘Just one blistering sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chance of developing melanoma later in life,’ warns dermatology nurse Natalie Fisher. ‘Exposure to the sun’s UVA rays also accounts for 80% of skin ageing, such as wrinkles, sagging and brown spots.’

Q Why does a cream’s SPF tell us?

SPF (Sun Protection Factor) is a measurement of how long a sunscreen protects skin from UVB rays. The charity Cancer Research UK recommends sunscreens with an SPF of at least 15. Natalie says, ‘We rarely apply sunscreen as liberally as we should [to achieve the intended SPF], so I recommend wearing at least an SPF30 – and SPF50 for young children as their skin is more sensitive to burning. We now know that sun exposure in childhood can cause problems in later years.’

It’s also important to consider how well a sunscreen protects from UVA rays. In the UK, this is shown by a rating of one to five stars (Cancer Research UK recommends at least four stars). UVA protection may also be indicated by the letters UVA in a circle, which indicates that it meets the EU standard.

Q Are there any other rays to worry about?

The heat from the sun comes from infra-red (IRA) rays. IRA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB and UVA rays, and cause free radicals, which age the skin. Many sunscreens now protect from IRA, and added antioxidants can help counter free radicals and allow skin cells to regenerate.

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About Healthy Food Guide

Shape up before your holiday without crash diets – we've got easy swaps that will shave 500 calories a day to get rid of that belly fat - plus delicious low-cal recipes. We also help you stay safe in the sun, offer updated expert advice on migraines and boosting fertility (for men as well as women). Plus lots of nutrition guidance, including which milks and berries to choose for best health benefits.