How often should you reapply sun cream? Expert urges Britons to top up ‘consistently’

How often should you reapply sun cream? Expert urges Britons to top up ‘consistently’

This Morning: Expert explains how to choose right sun cream

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The UK heatwave is set to see thermometers rise to highs of 40C in parts of the country in the coming days. While many Britons might be keen to soak up the sun, an expert is urging people to stay “consistent” with their sun cream.

Victoria Evans, education manager at Dermalogica said: “Sunburn is caused by exposure to UVB radiation and burning can take place in as little as five to 10 minutes.

“The face, neck and trunk are two to four times more sensitive than the limbs and will burn more readily.

“It’s important to note that all skins can burn and you should wear SPF consistently to prevent this.”

According to Ms Evans, you should apply sun cream every two hours and avoid sitting outside for long periods during peak temperatures.

She explained: “Apply SPF 30 to 50 approximately 30 minutes before exposure and reapply every 90 minutes.

“Apply generously to ensure even coverage.”

Sunburnt skin should not be exposed to further sun, even if you have applied a high SPF.

Ms Evans explained: “Skin needs to repair itself and will need a few days to recover.”

How does sun cream work?

Sun cream works as a protective layer on your skin, stopping UV rays before they can reach the skin and inflict damage.

There are two types of UV rays that sun cream can block out, though some chemical-based creams only block one type or the other.

UVA is associated with the ageing of the skin and pigmentation, along with skin cancer.

In particular, UVA is linked to the second most common type of skin cancer, squamous cell carcinoma.

UVB causes sunburn and is linked to skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.

The SPF on a bottle of sun cream refers to how much UVB it allows in.

Ideally, you want a sun cream which has a high SPF to allow for stronger and longer protection.

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What can I do to protect sunburnt skin?

Painful sunburn can be made worse by further exposure to heat, including hot water.

Ms Evans recommends bathing in tepid water, keeping the affected area as cool as possible.

You can also apply a cold compress to burnt skin, though make sure this is not icy cold.

Although aftersun can help to soothe and repair the skin, people should avoid heavy creams or oil-based formulas that can trap heat.

The dermatological expert also advises steering clear of menthol-based lotions.

She said: “Whilst cooling or tingling on the skin, this ingredient is quite stimulating.”

Instead, look for ingredients with cooling, soothing and hydrating benefits.

These include ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, algae extract, cucumber, aloe vera, chamomile, lavender, clove and oats.

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