Everyday Sun Safe Habits to Protect Your Skin

Everyday Sun Safe Habits to Protect Your Skin

May is Melanoma Awareness Month, and the perfect opportunity to remind ourselves how to protect and care for our skin.

Here at Sunday Afternoons, we love heading outdoors in pretty much all weather, but even more so when the sun’s shining. Getting into a few simple habits means you can still make the most of every lovely sunny day, but keep your skin safe while you’re doing so. 

In this post, we’ll whip through a reminder of the best ways to protect your skin, and some key things to look out for when checking your skin. This is important stuff, so always seek out professional medical attention if you’re unsure.

Three ways to protect your skin

Prevention is better than cure. Whether you’re heading on holiday, out for a day at the beach, or just popping down the road, adopt a combination of sun safe habits every day to keep your skin safe all year round. 

Cover up

Covering up is an easy and effective way to stop UV rays from reaching your skin. Any clothing is better than none, but some materials are better at protecting you than others. When clothing or sun hats are labelled UPF 50+, you know they’ve been tested, and found to let only 1/50th or less of the sun’s UVA and UVB rays through. 

If your clothing doesn’t have a UPF rating, go for dark or bright, thicker materials which are naturally more protective, and choose loose clothing over tight ones. 

Wear a wide brim UPF 50+ hat to shield your exposed face, ears, and neck. And don’t forget about your eyes, too! Choose sunglasses with the 'CE Mark', plus a UV 400 label and/or ‘100% UV protection’ written on the label or sticker. Wraparound styles are ideal, as these better protect the eye from all angles

Apply plenty of (the right) sun cream

For any skin you do have exposed, apply a high SPF sun cream (30+) regularly and liberally. 

SPF is a measure of how effective a sun cream is at blocking UVB rays (which are the main cause of sunburn), whereas a sun cream’s star rating (out of five) is a measure of how effective it is at blocking UVA rays. We recommend always choosing a sun cream with a four or five star rating, as well as a high SPF factor. And remember, sun cream expires – always keep track of when you open a new bottle, and don’t exceed the period-after-opening date.

There’s no harm in applying sun cream every day, but it’s especially important when the UV index is 3 or more. 

Seek out the shade

Seeking out the shade, particularly during the middle of the day, dramatically reduces the amount of sun you’re exposed to, and also helps keep you cooler. Umbrellas, parasols, and shade sails are all good portable options if you’ll be sitting somewhere without natural shade. 

Sun cream isn’t suitable for babies under 6 months, so they should always be kept in the shade. Even when they’re old enough to wear sun cream, avoid direct sunlight where possible. 


What to look for when checking your skin

It’s important that we all take time to get familiar with our skin, and regularly check it for any changes that could be a sign of skin cancers. 

These are more common in areas that are exposed to the sun more often, but rarer types can affect the eyes, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, or genital area. 

Below is a list of things to check your skin for which is adapted this NHS guide. Always seek medical help if you’re unsure. 

  • Mole with an uneven shape or edges
  • Mole with a mix of colours
  • A large mole (over 6mm) 
  • Mole that changes over time (in shape, size, or colour) 
  • Moles that are swollen and sore, bleeding, itchy, or crusty