As a painfully white Irish person, I freckle like crazy and burn like a crisp in the sun. Normally when I’m on holidays, I just chill in the shade and lather on SPF 50 every day. However, at home in Dublin I’m not so careful. With the summer sun finally making an appearance, I’ve looked into the best way to take care of my skin before, during and after spending time in the sun.
Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail. To keep your skin soft and smooth, you should moisturise your skin every day. in the morning and at night. The best way to protect your skin during the day without even think about it is to use a moisturiser with SPF. Even when it’s cloudy, there are still UV rays breaking through – yes, even when the sun is a distant memory. But who likes wearing sticky sun cream every day? Instead I use Aveeno’s Daily Moisturizing Lotion with SPF 15. It’s light, dries quickly and isn’t sticky. However it’s hard to track down so if you see a bottle, snap it up! I bought mine from Boots a little while ago but iHerb also sell it for €10.99.
If you can’t find a daily moisturiser with SPF, just be sure to invest in a good cream. The best way to get and maintain a tan is by having hydrated skin. I’m obsessed with body butters and especially love The Body Shop‘s almond milk and honey range. It’s just €20.95 and will leave your skin feeling soft, supple and ready to tan.
While you’re out in the sun, living it up, sun cream is your go to. There are so many options out there to protect your skin – from Liz Earle to Nivea to Penneys. But what SPF should you use? The American Academy of Dermatology say that dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30, which blocks 97 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. Higher-number SPFs block slightly more of the sun’s UVB rays, but no sunscreen can block 100 percent of the sun’s UVB rays. Another report says that SPF 15 blocks 93% of the suns rays.
However, don’t think that products with the same SPF offer the same protection. You should also look out for UVA protection. But why? UVA forms the majority of UV light and contributes to skin ageing and the development of skin cancer, as it penetrates deeper into the skin. So you should make sure that the product you are buying is EU compliant against both UVA and UVB rays, while the SPF should vary depending on the UV levels and the amount of time you will be in sun.
But what about your tan? Does the higher the protection affect how dark your tan is? The simple answer is yes. Sun cream helps prevent sun burn but you will still tan, it will just take longer.
Is there anything more painful that wearing a bra over your sun burn? To speed up that burn and stop it from peeling, invest in after-sun. Simple as. I use Garnier’s Ambre Solaire After Sun Moisturiser Gel because it’s so nice and cooling but I also use their spray for my back – because I’m no way that flexible, can barely slap on fake tan on my back! The aloe vera in the after sun will help cool your sunburn and speed up the recovery process.
A strange – but good tip – for sun burn is to invest in apple cider vinegar. I’m not saying lash it on your burn, that would be a back idea, but pour it into a hot water bath. Just add a cup or two to your bath and jump in. Make sure it’s diluted as vinegar can burn the skin if concentrated. But how does something I throw on my chips help sunburn? Vinegar contains acetic acid, a component of aspirin that can help relieve the pain, itching, and inflammation of a burn. Bathing in apple cider vinegar has other benefits too, such as reducing body odour and provides relief to joint pain.
Most vinegars will work but for the best results look for raw, organic apple cider vinegar. I buy mine from Nourish and it’s €8.99 for almost a litre.