Common ailments

Holiday advice: Safety in the sun

I am attending a wedding in Cyprus this August and would like to have a holiday whilst I’m there. The problem is that temperatures in Cyprus can reach 40°c and I have sensitive skin which burns easily. How can I enjoy my holiday without fear of sunburn?

This sounds like the perfect opportunity to holiday in the sun, but you are right to be concerned about sunburn. Not only can it spoil your holiday, it can cause long-term damage to your skin, including premature ageing and even skin cancer.

The best way to protect yourself is to seek out shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest. Where shade is not available, a wide-brimmed hat, loose clothing, and a high protection sunscreen should be enough to protect you from sunburn.

Look for sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above that also includes UVA protection. For areas where you have particularly sensitive skin, I would recommend sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or even total sunblock.  

It is important that you apply sunscreen generously and often when you’re in the sun. Apply it at least 15 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply it every 2 to 3 hours, and straight after swimming or if you think it has rubbed off. Remember that sunscreen should not be used as an alternative to clothing and shade, rather it offers additional protection against the sun.

You may also wish to pack a good aftersun lotion or aloe vera gel to help soothe your skin after a day in the sun.

Equally dangerous as sunburn is dehydration, which can lead to serious conditions such as heatstroke. In such hot weather therefore, remember to drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated.

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