As the temperatures rise and the days get longer, many of us are eager to spend more time outdoors enjoying the spring sunshine. However, it's important to remember that exposure to the sun's harmful UV rays can lead to skin damage and increase the risk of skin cancer. In this blog post, we'll explore the importance of protecting your skin in the spring sun and provide practical tips for staying safe while soaking up those rays.

Winters Effect On Skin

  • The decrease in sunlight hours and strength of the sun during the winter months leads to a reduction in melanin production.
  • Melanocytes in the skins epidermis produce melanin and increases/decreases the level according to UV radiation exposure. It is a protective mechanism to absorb and dissipate the harmful effects of UV rays. This process results in tanning, where the skin darkens in response to sun exposure. With a reduction in sun exposure, your skin will lighten.

Spring Sun Harm

  • Don’t be fooled in to thinking the sun cannot harm your skin in the Spring as it is ‘weak’. It shines 365 days a year and can damage your skin on any one of these days
  • Having come out of the winter months, your skin will naturally have lower levels of melanin, meaning your skin is more susceptible to UV radiation damage.

Use A High SPF Suncream

  • At least twenty minutes before you head out in to the spring sun, ensure you liberally apply a sun cream with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. This should be a broad spectrum cream that shields against both UV A and B rays.
  • Reapply at regular intervals, especially after swimming.

Be Aware Of Reflections

  • If you are lucky enough to be lying on a sandy beach this spring then you need to be aware that you are not only getting exposed to the suns rays from above but also from reflective surfaces such as sand and the sea. In the case of water, UV reflection can be as much as 30%.
  • To protect your skin, ensure you apply sun screen to all that is exposed, rather than skin that is directly facing the sun. Purchasing a good quality water resistant sun screen will give extra protection to swimmers from both reflective UV rays and those that penetrate the waters surface.

Cover Exposed Skin And Head

  • Wearing a wide brimmed hat not only keeps the low sun out of your eyes, but also protects your ears and face, something that baseball caps are notoriously bad at.
  • Necks are better protected by wearing a collared shirt rather than a round neck t-shirt but just remember to apply sunscreen to the exposed ‘V’ at the front of the buttons.

Stay Out Of Midday Sun

  • The suns rays are at their strongest when directly overhead, usually between the hours of 11am-3pm, even in spring. If you can avoid it, stay out of the sun during these times, or at least limit your exposure.

  • If you know there is going to be little shade at your destination then it is imperative, especially if you have young children and/or dogs, to take some sort of shelter. This can be as simple as a sun umbrella or a pop up beach tent.

Be Wary On Cloudy And Windy Days

  • Most people who have been badly sunburnt will probably tell you it was during cloudy and/or windy days. The cooler temperatures can lull you in to a false sense of security, but clouds only stop around 27% of UV rays

  • People need to treat an overcast or cooler windy day as any other sunny spring day: liberally apply sun cream of SPF30+, stay out of mid day sun, cover the head with a hat and exposed skin with lightweight clothing, and err on the side of caution.

As you embrace the warmer weather and longer days of spring, don't forget to prioritize sun safety and protect your skin from harmful UV rays. By following these practical tips, you can enjoy the outdoors while reducing your risk of sun damage and maintaining healthy, radiant skin throughout the season.

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