How to keep your tot safe in the sun
Confused about how much UV protection your family needs? Helen foster asks the experts what to do when the sun comes out to play
Can you read a sunscreen label? A study by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society found up to 56 per cent of us don’t know exactly what the terms mean.
Clare O’Connor, UV Technical Expert for Boots UK, gave us a quick guide.
- SPF This tells you the level of protection against the UVB rays that cause burning, hence the B, compared to the natural protection in your skin. So if it says SPF 30 that means, theoretically, that it offers protection for 30 times longer than your natural protection (but you should reapply it at least every two hours). SPF does not protect against UVA rays.
- 5* This shows the level of UVA protection – UVA rays cause ageing, hence the A – and runs from 3-5. Ideally you should choose 5-star protection. The Star System only appears on products in the UK and Ireland.
- THE UVA CIRCLE This shows the product has a European-approved level of protection against UVA rays of at least a third of the product’s SPF.
What suncare you should use also depends on your age.
- BABIES ‘Ideally they should be kept out of the sun entirely,’ says Dr Adam Friedmann from the Harley Street Dermatology Clinic. Sunscreen should not be used before six months; cover them with sunshades, hats and clothes.
- KIDS Sunscreen is fine on them and, Adam says, it should be 50+. ‘Most of us don't apply enough to get the full SPF on the bottle so the higher the better.’ It’s still better to cover them up though, if you can.
- ADULTS Use at least SPF 30. Brush on Block from Susan Posnick (£26, johnbellcroyden.co.uk) protects the face and gives a light colour. For active folk, try Ultrasun’s Sun Protection Sports Gel SPF30 (£24, qvcuk.com).