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Suncare Q&A: Get The Latest Expert Advice

We all love the joy summer brings and, more specifically, using it as an excuse to take a trip to new destinations. It is vitally important however to keep safe whenever visiting warmer climates and taking the appropriate precautions to protect your skin. We asked Boots suncare expert Claire O'Connor for the latest advice.

What are the best sun creams to use and how often should you reapply?

Always choose the appropriate sun protection factor for your skin type. It doesn’t matter how good a product is, if you aren’t using high enough protection, or don’t apply enough, and reapply often you will burn. Reapply every 1-2 hours and always after swimming.

Remember sun protection factor is only half the story, UVA protection is just as important in your protection. Choose a Five Star UVA rated product for the highest level of UVA protection available. Buy a brand you trust from a retailer you trust.

Woman Applying Sun Cream

Are there any innovations in sun skincare that we should know about?

The sun skincare industry is always looking for new innovations, and whilst UV rays are the most damaging, the industry has started to research ground-breaking ways to protect the skin from ‘high energy visible light’, ‘infrared’ and ‘pollution’.

What tips would you give someone to ensure they don’t get burnt?

  • Apply 10-15 minutes before going outside to allow the product to sink into your skin and avoid rub off.
  • Always reapply immediately upon getting to your destination - this ensures a good level of product has been applied and may cover any bits you missed the first time!
  • Always reapply every 1-2 hours and after swimming (read the manufacturers guidance on the back of the pack).
  • Often what people don’t realise is that our skin can only take so much sun protection in one day, so even frequent reapplication won`t prevent sunburn if you spend too long outside.
  • Seek shade and cover up with loose clothing to reduce sun exposure.
  • Choose a five star UVA rated product and minimise the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight particularly at the start of a holiday.

If you do get burnt, what is the first thing you should do? Cold shower? Cold compress?

Cool the skin by taking a cold shower, or holding a cold flannel to the affected area, drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and sit in the shade.

Use an aftersun product frequently (try keeping one in the fridge for a more cooling sensation) and be careful that you haven’t got heat stroke - if in any doubt, see a healthcare professional.

Does burning dehydrate you? What is the best way to rehydrate after being in the sun/burning?

Being in the sun can dehydrate you and your skin, and burning makes this even worse. You need to get as much moisture into you and your skin and avoid alcoholic drinks as these will dehydrate you further. Make sure you drink plenty of fluid to help you keep hydrated, ideally water.

Woman Drinking Water On Beach

What painkillers can be used for pain associated with sunburn? When should you seek medical attention?

You can take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to help relieve pain, however if you are severely burned or feeling unwell you should always seek medical advice.

Are there any ‘home remedies’ which can help soothe sunburn? What ingrediants should I look for in aftersun?

Really a purpose built aftersun is the best type of product to use. They are specially formulated to be cooling, soothing and work to help get moisture back into the skin. Ingredients that can help are Glycerine, Aloe Vera, Panthenol, Vitamin E and plenty of water.

These are also the ingredients you should look for in aftersun products, which is designed to help trap the water in your skin. Apply a generous amount of aftersun product every 3-4 hours to keep your skin cool and moisturised.

What if skin blisters? How do you care for it?

It is important to make sure the blisters don’t become infected. If you are concerned or have severe blisters seek medical advice. Try not to burst the blisters prematurely as they are protecting the wound underneath. Wear loose clothing to help avoid rubbing them.

Stay safe in the sun with Boots UK’s suncare range!