10 Things you may not know about Sun Exposure


Everyone at this point knows the guidelines for sensible sun exposure. Don’t get burnt! Wearing sunglassses, a hat, covering up with light clothing, staying out of the sun during the peak times of the day (after you’ve spent an hour or so making the all important Vitamin D).

Each person threshold for sun exposure and their skin is different, we have to figure it out for ourselves what is safe for us, for me as a parent of a 6 and an 8 year old I know in good irish 20-25 degree weather if my kids are out just for the odd hour here or there  I would only put sunscreen on their faces their arms and their legs would NEVER burn. If my kids are out in 25 degree heat for 2 or more hours I would of course put sunscreen on them. have quite a bit of melanin in my skin and It would take me 1-2 hours to tan if I let the sun at my skin on holidays. I would rarely put sunscreen on for the first hour.  But that first hour is for making Vitamin D without sunscreen.

UVB is the burning rays and UVA is the aging rays that come from the sun. Both rays will damage your skin in significant quantity. Its not just the Suns UVA and UVB rays that can damage our skin, there are other rays like blue light, that is currently being investigated.

I hope it is well known at this point that sunbeds and stand up tanning shower units are dangerous because the amount of UVAs ray and oxidative stress exposure to your skin is very amplified. Using these methods frequently can increase your risk for skin cancer. But it is not just sun exposure that causes melanomas. Most skin cancers occur in areas of the body not exposed to the sun. Increasing oxidative stress in the body is what causes skin cancer and photoaging of the skin on the face and that doesn’t come from sun exposure alone.

Did you know that snow, ice or glass can amplify the number of UVB rays hitting your skin? The UVA rays which are the aging rays, they penetrate office windows, car windows etc and will age your skin so this is why it’s important to wear gloves when driving in hot sunny conditions or sunscreen on your hands and face but the UVA rays can still age you in the car.

A lot of people don’t know that exposing skin through windscreens increases your risk for certain skin cancers and this is why it’s important to wear sunscreen on your face and wear gloves if you’re doing long drives for work in the sun etc.

Sunscreen blocks UVA or UVB rays or both. Look at the back of the sunscreen. This will tell you whether the cream is blocking UVA or UVB or Both. SPF 50 is a complete block. But It is also acceptable most of the time to use SPF 30.  Chemicals usually make up the difference between an SPF 30 and SPF 50 not additional sun protection factor! When’s selecting a sunscreen there are two types.

There are chemical sunscreens and physical sunscreens. About 75% of chemical sunscreens can contain potentially harmful ingredients such as oxybenzone and retinal palmitate or homosalate.  When selecting A sunscreen it is best to use a mineral sunscreen. This is one that contains high quality zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in its first few ingredients on the back. A mineral sunscreen will reflect and scatter the UV rays away from your face and body. Mineral sunscreens traditionally left a white cast on the skin but they are improving all the time and now there are mineral sunscreens in lotions and waters available. I personally love Jan Marini physical facial sunscreen and then I top up with Jane Iredales mineral pressed powders Spf 18 (one coat) Spf 30 3 coats etc during the day for additional UVA protection on my face as Its not possible to apply suncream cream over makeup. I retail both of these if you need to order just email moc.liamg@dehsilopleef.

If you do get sunburned one of the best natural remedies is using aloe vera it’s best to get fresh gel from plants. You can find in garden centres and grow it on windowsills in strong sunlight.  It grows very well in Ireland on a bright windowsill.

Happy Tanning Folks,