New sun protection guidelines hope to bust tanning myths and promote ‘healthy behaviour in the sun’
If you think slathering yourself in sunscreen before a day at the beach is the key to low-risk sunbathing there’s bad news. According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) there is “no safe or healthy way to tan.”
The new guidelines advise always wearing sunscreen of SPF15 or higher when outdoors and using six to eight teaspoonfuls of lotion to cover the entire body.
Wearing a high factor of sun protection (SPF30 plus) doesn’t necessarily mean you can spend longer periods in the sun without the risk of burning.
Additionally the NICE guidelines indicate that having a tan doesn’t mean you are protected against subsequent sun exposure and the cumulative skin damage negates any protective effect.
It’s still possible to burn during the hottest part of the day (in the U.K. this is between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. from March to October) even in cool, cloudy weather. It’s also possible to burn at other times of the day and during all seasons.
While sunscreen is an effective way to protect your skin from harmful UV rays, NICE suggests that covering up with suitable clothing or seeking shade should be top priorities. When sunscreen is used it should be used liberally and repeatedly on all exposed areas of skin.
If you go swimming, or sweat profusely while wearing sunscreen, the advice is to reapply your lotion immediately afterwards — even if the product claims to be water-resistant.
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