As Fermanagh folk don their hats and shorts, Catherine McCurry, looks at the importance of staying safe in the sun…
WE’RE now well on our way into the summer months and the last few days ave seen the weather be exceptionally kind to us.
With the expected heat wave continuing this week, the shorts, T-shirts and sunnies will be out in force across Fermanagh as we relish any glimpse of the sun’s rays.
I noticed that the majority of chemists now have sunscreen, sun oils and after-sun care stocked at the front of their stores as holidaymakers prepare to make their annual trip abroad to sunny destinations around the world.
While we don’t live in a tropical climate, it’s still vitally important to wear sunscreen everyday, all year round. And yes, even in Ireland.
Bottles of sunscreen can be quite thick and heavy to wear on our face so the best alternative is to invest in a moisturiser and body cream with built-in SPF. The makeup I use, bareMinerals foundation, contains SPF 15 as does my moisturiser.
It may sound odd to wear sun cream in our type of climate, particularly during wintry months, but it is advised that it helps to prevent skin cancer as well as ageing.
Another tip to be mindful of is to avoid using out of date sunscreen. We could easily find a half used sun cream bottle tucked away in a suitcase from last year’s holiday and decide to take it with us.
But the vast majority of sun creams have an effective use by date of 12 months from date of purchase so be sure to stock up on a new bottle.
You’ll regret not wearing sunscreen in 20 years time when you compare it to your family and friends’ skin who have. I spent almost two years in Australia and worry that I didn’t make enough effort to protect my skin from the sun, particularly my face, as that’s where you will see the most damage with excessive lines and wrinkles.
It was shocking to see how much older Australians look than they actually are because their skin has aged so progressively compared to people living in colder climates. It’s a good thing to remember that sun damage is a scar and once it’s there, we have it for life.
However, while we spend a good part of our sunny holidays ensuring our skin is protected with sunscreen, recent research has suggested that this alone should not be relied on to prevent the deadly form of cancer, malignant melanoma.
A UK study has backed a campaign calling for full sun protection to be a combination of sunscreen, and other forms such as hats, long loose clothing and to stay in the shade.
When we put on sunscreen during holidays we tend to think we’re fully protected from the sun’s rays and may spend longer in the sun, increasing our overall exposure.
There’s a wide selection of hats for women and men, from baseball caps, floppy hats, sun visors and straw hats, there’s no excuse not to wear protective head gear.