Staying Safe in the Sun

Posted on August 27, 2021

Staying Safe in the Sun

For those of us in the UK, hot weather is something of a rarity (temperatures above 20? Better get the BBQ going!), which means when it does come, we are often left blindsided and doing everything we can to keep cool. With this in mind, here are some tips to help you avoid the inevitable nap on your kitchen tiles by the early-afternoon because ‘it’s the only cold spot in the house!’ (Or at least keep you somewhat vertical).

Let’s start with the most obvious way to battle the heat: walk to the kitchen and turn on that tap! Make use of one of the many reusable bottles we’ve all been storing over the years (for the turtles) and make sure to refill throughout the day. Current guidance suggests we should be drinking 1.2-1.5 litres of water a day, but good news for water-haters; sugar-free drinks, tea and coffee do also count (although there has been some question around how the diuretic properties of caffeine effect water levels). Just make sure your general fluid intake is up to counteract water-loss from the excess perspiration incoming over the hotter months.

After a long two years of staying inside it is safe to assume that we would all benefit from regular (every 2 hours and/or after swimming) and liberal application of Sun Protection Factor (SPF) this summer, whilst getting natural vitamin D during the summer months. The consistent application of SPF can help protect the skin from oxidative damage caused by the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. Whether you prefer mineral or chemical sunscreens (some studies have suggested a link between the use of Avobenzone, a chemical in sunscreens that has been known to damage the reef – so if this is something you are passionate about, opt for a mineral based SPF) this should be your first line of defence against the sun. Nevertheless, before you go rummaging around the cupboards for the sunscreen you bought 2 years ago, remember to check the use by dates! You may think you are doing what’s best for your skin, but out-of-date sunscreen is no better than a standard moisturiser at protecting your skin. Make sure the sunscreen offers both UVA and UVB protection. Generally, a sunscreen with SPF 30 and a UVA rating of 4 or 5 is considered a good standard of sun protection. Protect your skin by wearing suitable clothing, sunglasses, and a hat too.

It is also important to remember that, however fleeting British summertime feels, it is not necessary to spend every waking minute in full sun! Take time to sit in the shade throughout the day, particularly during peak times when the sun is the warmest. Pour a drink, put your feet up, and enjoy your ice cubes not melting immediately from the direct sun. For the exceptionally busy among us, utilise a sun hat for shade-on-the-go. Go full heiress in a wide brimmed straw hat, or just a simple bucket hat, whatever works best for you!

Finally- if all else fails and you find yourself completely defeated by the heat- there’s always ice. From ice lollies to frozen water bottles, there’s a multitude of methods for getting icy relief during the summer months. Try wetting a kitchen towel and putting it in the freezer overnight, then apply to the body as needed, or until it melts- this can also be a great way to help cool down your pets.