Suncream tips: How often should you reapply suncream?

Hot weather is on the cards for the next few days, with heatwave conditions beginning today. Met Office forecasters have predicted highs of 38C for parts of the UK, with sunny skies and humid conditions for much of the country.

The heat will be so intense for some areas, the Met Office and Public Health England have issued a heat health warning.

There is a 90 percent probability of heat-health criteria being met between midday on Thursday and 9am on Sunday in parts of England.

Britons heading out to enjoy the warm weather are being warned to drink plenty of water, cover up when possible and of course, wear suncream.

Suncream can come in a range of factors, with different benefits and instructions.

Read More: How to keep your baby cool in hot weather

So how often should you reapply suncream?

Some of us may think popping suncream on first thing before heading out is enough to keep you protected all day.

However, this is not the case – you should be topping up and reapplying your suncream throughout the day.

Activity, sweat, and rubbing against clothes can cause suncream to become less effective or be removed entirely during the day.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the best practice is to apply suncream 30 minutes before you are due to head outside.

The Foundation also advises to reapply every two hours of exposure and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.

And don’t just apply suncream to the parts of your skin you think will be exposed – rub it across your entire body.

Clothes can shift, bending over or leaning can expose skin and you could decide to remove a layer which may lead to sunburn.

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When choosing which suncream to wear, here is what you should look for according to the Skin Cancer Foundation

Suncream which protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays.

SPF 15: Ideal for every day, occasional exposure, like walking your dog, or driving to work. Look for our Daily Use Seal of Recommendation.

SPF 30 or higher: Necessary for extended outdoor activities, including distance running, hiking, swimming and outdoor sports. SPF 30 is a must if you work outdoors.

Look for the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Active Seal of Recommendation on any bottles you buy.

To protect from the sun even more, try and spend time in the shade, wear sunglasses with UV protection and reach for your favourite wide-brimmed hat.

And if you do get burned, there are some tips to alleviate discomfort and soothe your skin.

The NHS recommends

getting out of the sun as soon as possible
cool your skin with a cool shower, bath or damp towel (take care not to let a baby or young child get too cold)
apply aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera
drink plenty of water to cool down and prevent dehydration
take painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen for any pain
cover sunburnt skin from direct sunlight until skin has fully healed

There are also some things you should avoid when sunburnt – the NHS advises

do not use petroleum jelly on sunburnt skin
do not put ice or ice packs on sunburnt skin
do not pop any blisters
do not scratch or try to remove peeling skin
do not wear tight-fitting clothes over sunburnt skin

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