Stay sun safe
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Whether you’re heading for sunnier climates or relaxing in the UK, when you head off on holiday this year make sure that you give your skin a well-earned rest too. While sunny environments can make your holiday, they can just as easily break it by putting your skin in danger. Holiday treats such as some henna tattoos can also damage your skin. So whatever the time of year, if you’re heading for sunshine make sure your skin enjoys the break as much as you do!
Have fun in the sun
Who wants to be trapped indoors, tending to sore and swollen skin while friends and family make the most of your holiday without you? Sunburn can not only spoil your holiday, it also causes long term damage to your skin, from premature ageing to skin cancer. Despite repeated warnings to holidaymakers, skin cancer is still on the rise.
The good news is that by taking just a few simple precautions, you can enjoy the sunshine safely. Staying in the shade when the sun is at its strongest (usually between 11am – 3pm) as well as applying the right level of sunscreen (SPF 15, also with broad spectrum protection against UVA, is the recommended minimum) to exposed areas of skin every two hours will help to protect your skin from the sun’s rays. As a general rule, children should use a sunscreen with SPF 30 and cover up in the sun. Set up kids play areas in the shade so they are less likely to suffer from over-exposure to the sun and remember to keep babies out of the direct sun altogether.
If you do suffer from severe sunburn or heatstroke, which can result in your skin blistering, painful swelling or feelings of nausea, make sure you seek professional medical advice.
It is important to remember that sun protection products should never be used to spend more time in the sun.
Five simple steps to sunshine safe skin
Follow these five simple steps to give your skin a stress-free holiday…
- Wear loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat when in the sun
- Apply sunscreen 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun and re-apply every couple of hours throughout the day. Remember to re-apply when you emerge from cooling off in the water and never use sunscreen to extend the time you would normally spend in the sun.
- Seek out shade, particularly between 11am and 3pm, when the sun is usually at its most intense.
- Be aware of the danger to your skin when choosing to apply a temporary tattoo on holiday. A temporary tattoo may illegally contain PPD. As a simple rule, if it is called “black henna” or it is black or dark, just don’t do it! It can cause reactions to your skin and affect your skin’s health in the long-run.
- Drink plenty of water, particularly in hot weather. Keeping your water intake up prevents dehydration and maintains healthy kidneys and bladder, and a healthy body helps to support healthy skin.
Temporary tattoos – know the facts
Temporary tattoos, or henna tattoos, can be a fun way to decorate your skin while letting your hair down on a beach holiday. But before you choose which pattern or symbol to go for, beware that so-called “black henna” tattoos can cause painful short and long-term damage to your skin.
The truth is that true henna extract is orange-red in colour. “Black henna” tattoos are not henna at all, but are mixed with a chemical called PPD (paraphenylene diamine) which is banned for this kind of direct use on skin under the Cosmetics Directive and can be very harmful to your skin. Whilst PPD is used safely as an ingredient in hair colorants, when applied directly to the skin at the high concentration needed in a tattoo it can trigger a painful allergic reaction called ‘contact dermatitis’. The area to which PPD is applied can flare up and leave you with a swollen, sore, red rash. Not the look you were after!
And it doesn’t stop there. “Black henna” tattoos can also cause long-term damage by making your skin more susceptible to reactions when you use other safe products which contain PPD, such as a hair colorant. Although scientists have recommended that PPD should not be used in temporary tattoos, some illegal uses still continue, especially on busy beaches, so make sure you avoid these whilst on holiday. If you do suffer a reaction from a temporary tattoo, consult your doctor who may refer you to a dermatologist to carry out a patch test. This will identify what ingredient has caused the problem so you can steer clear of it in future. Having a reaction to a temporary tattoo may mean you’ll have to avoid colouring your hair altogether in the future – so steer clear of “black henna” tattoos!
View more about temporary 'black henna' tattoos.
You’ve worked hard all year for this well-deserved break, so make sure your skin benefits as much as you do from a holiday in the sun.
This information has been put together by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (CTPA), the British Skin Foundation (BSF) and the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) to help you swot up on sunshine safety, so your skin comes back from holiday looking as healthy as you feel!
Find out more about staying safe in the sun
For further information visit the British Skin Foundation website.
For further information on the Cancer Research UK ‘SunSmart’ Campaign visit the SunSmart website.
For essential travel advice and tips visit 'Know Before You Go'