• The sun has made an appearance and it’s finally time for some outdoor living. But before you head outside, read our quick tips from P20, the sun protection experts…

    So it’s time to shed the layers and rub on the sun lotion. But before you get slap-happy, we’re here to bust some sun safety myths. Is it better to use a higher SPF? Does sun protection really go ‘off’?

    Here’s Dr Jonathan Bowling – a consultant dermatologist and specialist in skin cancer diagnosis and treatment – to set the record straight…

    Myth 1. A higher SPF means more protection from the sun…

    Yes – the higher the SPF number, the greater the protection, but there are other elements to consider. The SPF number indicates how many times longer you can stay in the sun before starting to burn than you’d be able to without sun protection. In reality, the time depends on other factors like your skin type and the local UV intensity. It’s a case of one size doesn’t fit all.

    Myth 2. I have naturally darker skin, so I don’t need to wear sun protection…

    Not true unfortunately. Even if you have a darker complexion or pigmented skin, you still need to protect yourself from the sun. You may not need as high an SPF as someone with fair skin, but you need to wear it nonetheless. Skin cancer doesn’t discriminate.

    Myth 3. UVB and UVA are the same thing…

    That’s definitely a tall tale. UVA mainly damages the structure of the skin and causes premature ageing, wrinkles and sagging of the skin. UVB radiation is responsible for the majority of sunburn and plays a key role in developing skin cancer. Neither is very friendly.

    Myth 4. My sun protection has been in the cupboard for years, but it’s still ok to use…

    Don’t fall for that one. Sun protection can become less effective with time. Make sure you check the expiry date stamped on the box, and if in doubt, buy a fresh bottle.

    Myth 5. All sun protection is the same – there’s not much choice…

    Oh, but there is. For instance, men may prefer gels, lotions or oils, as they’re easier to apply to hairy skin. Sprays cover large and difficult to reach areas, and a once-a-day application product is good for getting the job done quickly (not to mention impatient kids…). If you have oily skin, try a gel or lotion, which won’t block your pores like a cream might. The most important thing is that it has the right level of protection for your skin and is fit for purpose.

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