The sun emits two types of harmful ultraviolet rays – UVA and UVB. Although you can’t see them, these invisible rays can cause burning, long-term skin damage and premature ageing if you spend too much time outdoors without sun protection
What is UVA? Ultraviolet A (or UVA) rays have a long wavelength which penetrate deeper into skin causing premature skin ageing (think wrinkles and pigmentation).
What is UVB? Ultraviolet B (or UVB) rays have a shorter wavelength which primarily affects the upper layers of skin causing redness and increasing the risk of skin cancer.
How do I choose the best sun cream? Invest in a ‘broad spectrum’ sun cream – this means the formula helps filter both UVA and UVB rays. For the highest protection against UVA radiation, use a product carrying the UVA circle logo with a five-star rating, such as the M&S SUN SMART range of products.
Always use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF15 and a high UVA protection rating. In more intense sun, use a higher factor.
All skin can burn but fairer skin burns more quickly, so go for a higher SPF if you’re fair.
Be generous – use two to three tablespoons of sunscreen, applied evenly to sun-exposed areas for maximum protection. Remember to re-apply after swimming or towelling.
Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest.
- Use a minimum SPF50 broad-spectrum sunscreen with five-star UVA protection on little ones’ skin.
- Children love to swim and roll about in the sand, so it’s even more important to ensure their sun protection is reapplied regularly and generously to all exposed areas of skin.
- Encourage them to wear hats and sunglasses to protect their scalp and delicate skin around the eye area, too.
- Seek shade during the hottest part of the day.