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Who else bears all clothes the second the sun comes out in order to deny their natural, organic paleness? It must be an Irish thing, whereby we try soaking up all the rays for the few days of sunshine each year in a fear of never reaching our optimum tan level. With this panic, we often neglect to wear sunscreen which is a recipe for a red, raw, peeling disaster that will in turn lead to premature aging of our skin.

It is recommended to wear a SPF of at least 15 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreen should be applied 15 minutes before sun exposure to soak into the skin and it should be reapplied every 2 hours. It has come to light that skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland, according to the Irish Cancer Society SunSmart Campaign. Skin cancer often takes 10-15 years to develop so bear this in mind before your bear your skin. With this shocking truth, it is time to take responsibility for caring for our skin.

In Ireland, we often mistakenly think that no sunshine=no sunscreen. This is untrue. Up to 80% of ultraviolet rays can pass through clouds. UV rays reflect off surfaces such as concrete, sand and water so care should be taken even while in the shade. People don’t realise that snow reflects more than water, so if we get the four seasons in one day we must prepare against the elements (and also while skiing in winter!)

Did you know that people get most sun damage before the age of 18? As a parent, you have a duty to protect your children. We all know that the sun is a source of vitamin D but it is also a source of skin damage and should be exposed to with caution. A Sun protection factor of at least 30 should be worn by children and it is best practice to keep babies out of sun until at least 6 months old. Some ways to keep your children safe is by ensuring they wear hats, sunglasses, wear water resilient sun screen and that they stay in the shade where possible.

Our lips need special attention too in the sun as the skin there is very thin. Be wary of using other balms without sun protection as they may attract the sun and be a cause of more irritation to your lips.

The sun can literally be blinding. Conditions such as cataracts may develop from sun damage whereby injuries such as a burned cornea can develop in just one day of sun exposure. It is important to wear sunglasses that offer ultraviolet protection. Darkened glass lenses will not offer the same protection so be aware when shopping for your new sunglasses.