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Keeping Yourself Safe in the Sun

We know how boring it can be to hear the adults in your life nagging at you to put sunscreen on. It seems like such a boring chore and you really can’t be bothered to do it, but there’s a good reason why. 

I ddarllen yr erthygl hon yn Gymraeg, clicia yma

Why is sunscreen important? 

While getting Vitamin D from the sun is important for healthy bones, you need to be careful that you don’t get too much sun. The sun gives off ultra violet rays, UVA and UVB, and if you’re in the sun for too long then this can be serious. Whatever the colour of your skin, you can burn in the sun and it can also cause pigmentation, where you can get different patches of colours on your skin. The sun can also be ageing and more seriously, it can cause cancer sometimes. 

A woman applies sunscreen on the body to stay safe in the sun.

How should I use sunscreen? 

There are a few things you should look out for in a sunscreen. SPF (the biggest number usually on the front of the bottle) stands for Sun Protection Factor. The higher this number then the longer you are protected for. Experts recommend an SPF of 30 or above.  

Somewhere on the bottle you’ll see some stars and the letters UVA. These stars tell you how safe the sunscreen is for UVA exposure. Experts recommend no less than 4 or 5 stars. 

You should apply the sunscreen before going out, make sure you have enough and don’t spread it too thinly. You should reapply sunscreen frequently, about every 2 hours, and again if you’ve been in the water, towelled down, or you’re sweating. 

“No sunscreen, no matter how high the factor, can provide 100% protection.

Sunscreen shouldn’t be used to extend your time in the sun.”

Cancer Research UK 
Teenage girl in beige bucket hat to keep safe in the sun

What else can you do to keep safe in the sun? 

  • Stay out of the sun when it’s at it’s hottest – between 11am and 3pm 
  • Cover up with loose clothing, wear a hat and sunglasses with UV protection 
  • Find shade 
  • Drink lots of water 

If you do get burnt in the sun then dab with cold water and plaster on some aftersun or aloe vera. You can also take paracetamol or ibuprofen for the pain and inflammation. 

For further information visit the Sunscreen and Sun Safety page on the NHS website and the Sun Safety page on Cancer Research UK.