Ater a long, grey winter, we're more than ready for a bit of sun. Bringing a much-needed dose of Vitamin D, there's no denying that sunshine has a postive impact on our moods, too.
But before you dig out the shorts and vest tops, remember how important it is to prep your sun-starved skin this spring and summer.
Dermatologist Dr Anjali Mahto has some sage advice about protecting your skin – these are her top tips for keeping your own and your family's skin safe this year...
Dr Anjali says: "Do you know your UVAs from your UVBs and SPFs? All that jargon can be a bit confusing, so here’s a quick breakdown…
"UVA: The more prevalent of the two types of sun ray, this can penetrate windows. It causes damage and premature ageing of the skin.
"UVB: This ray has a shorter wavelength than UVA and causes burning.
"SPF: The Sun Protection Factor shows how well a cream protects against UVB rays. SPF15 is fine for olive or darker skin, and SPF30 for most white skin. Increase to SPF50 for very fair skin."
A star rating shows the lotion’s UVA protection level; the more stars the better. As with all our suncreams, Asda Protect Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30 has the highest UVA rating of five stars. And it comes in a mist for easy application – Asda Protect Refreshing Clear Sun Mist SPF30.
Dr Anjali says: "Babies below the age of six months have little of the protective pigment melanin in their skin, which is also too sensitive for sunscreens, so they should not be left in direct sunlight*.
"For children over six months and adults, apply sunscreen generously 20 minutes before going out into the sun, reapplying throughout the day. This is especially important after perspiring or swimming. Some kids’ swimwear also offers UV protection."
When applying sunscreen to little ones, try a roll-on like Asda Protect Kids Sun Lotion Roll On SPF50 for easy coverage.
Dr Anjali says: "Protecting your skin from the sun is the single most effective method for reducing your risk of developing skin cancer. Melanoma (a form of skin cancer) is the fifth most common cancer in the UK** and potentially very serious, so wearing sunscreen is important to help protect your skin."
For everyday protection, try Nivea Sun Face Shine Control which has a high SPF of 50. Or you can add a radiant glow to your complexion without hitting the rays by adding a few drops of St Moriz Tan Boosting Facial Serum to your daily moisturiser.
Make a splash
Dr Anjali says: "Water-resistant doesn’t mean waterproof; you’ll need to reapply sunscreen after you get out of the water to help prevent sun damage."
For children, try Garnier Ambre Solaire Sensitive Sun Cream Spray SPF50+ – it protects against UVB, UVA and Long UVA rays, plus it's light in texture, water resistant and hypoallergenic.
Dr Anjali says: "About 90% of skin ageing (including wrinkles, pigmentation, sunspots and reduced elasticity) occurs due to sun exposure. It’s really important to protect your skin every day!"
Try non-greasy, non-sticky Piz Buin 1 Day Long Sun Lotion SPF30.
Dr Anjali says: "The safest tan you can get is out of a bottle." So fake it beautifully with St Moriz Advanced Pro Formula Gradual Tan & Protect Cream.
ways to protect your skin
1. A brimmed hat will help protect your face, eyes and, of course, scalp.
2. Don't make the mistake of thinking that because it's cloudy, you won't get sunburnt. If your skin is exposed, you need to apply sun cream.
3. Don't neglect your ears, lips, hands and feet – these areas are always on show!
4. Limit any exposure to the sun between 12-4pm, when UVB rays are at their strongest.
ways to recover from sun burn
1. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, as sunburn can encourage fluid loss through the skin.
2. Cover up scorched skin with loose cotton clothing, which allows your skin to breathe.
3. Take a cool bath. They’re not as harsh on the skin as showers, so are less likely to cause further damage. Opt for fragrance-free soaps and moisturisers to avoid irritation.
4. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen will reduce pain and help with inflammation.
5. Moisturise! You need to get moisture back into your skin to prevent peeling. After-sun treatments with aloe vera will help cool and soothe the skin.