Breaking news – it’s hot in the UK. Okay, sure, technically it’s summer, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise. But let’s be honest, hot days like this weekend can still shock most Brits.

Which is why so many find themselves ill-prepared for hours spent in direct sunlight – leading to dodgy tan lines at best and sun-burn, sun poisoning, and skin damage in the worst cases.

We obviously want you to enjoy the sun so we’ve asked the experts how you should be taking care of your skin in the sun to avoid any pain and peeling.

Here’s what they had to say…

How much sunscreen should you be using?

For optimal skin health, you should always be using some SPF – even on cloudy days!

But on hot, hot, hot days like we’re currently seeing across the country, the skin experts at Cult Beauty asked Dr Deborah Lee of the Dr Fox Pharmacy just how much we should be applying to different areas of the body.

Helpfully, the answer involves a memorable little rule – think of teaspoons.

The ideal amount of sun protection is around two teaspoons for each area you are covering. Broken down that’s:

  • Face and neck – two teaspoons
  • Arms – two teaspoons, one teaspoon for each arm
  • Legs – two teaspoons, one teaspoon for each leg
  • Chest and stomach – two teaspoons
  • Back and shoulders – two teaspoons.

How to properly apply sunscreen

Okay, so now you know two spoonfuls of sunscreen helps the sunburn stay down, what are the tips for proper application?

The advice from Cult Beauty and Dr Deborah Lee includes shaking your sunscreen bottle before you do anything. This ‘will help break up any clumping that occurs over time’ and ensures you’re getting the best protection possible, and not dried up bits.

They also advise using the three-finger rule when applying it to the face, stating: ‘gently tap the formula all over your face, ears, and neck rather than just rubbing it all on to avoid irritation and to ensure a smoother application.’

When applying to your body, smear small evenly sized dots over all areas exposed to the sun. Gently massage the sunscreen in, until you can’t see it anymore.

 If you are heading out to have fun in the sun, allow the formula to soak into your skin for at least 15 minutes before heading outdoors.

As to which sunscreen to use, look for products with an SPF factor 30 (anti-UVB protection) and a UVA star rating of 4-5 stars (for anti-UVA protection). If you have fair skin or burn easily you should use suncream with an SPF 50 factor. If you’re planning on swimming a lot, you will still be exposed to the sun so need sunscreen.

Choose a water-resistant option so you can protect your skin as you perfect your stroke.

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General tips for staying safe in the sun

Protecting your skin is important, but looking after your overall health is equally so during hot days.

The experts firstly recommend you keep cool as much as you can.

Do this by sitting in the shade, wearing loose and light-coloured clothes (which cover your legs and arms), wear a wide-brimmed hat, tie your hair up, drink plenty of cool drinks, sprinkle yourself with cold water regularly, and put a cold compress on your forehead.

If you can avoid being out during the hottest times of the day – usually between 1pm and 3pm – you should try your best to regulate how much sun you get during these times.

After all, you only need 15 minutes of sunlight a day to make vitamin D, or for darker skin this can be up to 30 minutes. After this time, you’re not getting any health benefits from the sun.

The next – and very important – bit of advice is keeping hydrated.

When the sun is out, we should all be drinking at least 3 litres of water per day.

Signs of dehydration include:

  • feeling thirsty
  • a dry mouth
  • sunken eyes
  • not peeing often
  • headaches and feeling unwell.

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