A Guide on How To Stay Safe in the Sun

A beach with the sun shining

If you love being in the water, you no doubt also enjoy being in the sun! Time well spent for most of us is at the beach, in and out of the water on a hot day. How many of us would love to be doing that right now, in fact?

Why is Sun Protection Important? 

Being one of our most effective sources for Vitamin D, the sun is beneficial for us in many ways. However, like most things, too much of it can also be very unhealthy.

Getting burnt can cause a series of problems, whether immediately or arising later on in life. For example, sunstroke can be incredibly dangerous if not appropriately treated, not to mention the increased rates of skin cancer year after year.

A woman on a paddleboard

Take Extra Care in the Water

Those who spend much of their time near or in the water can be at high risk of sun damage. To put it into perspective, water, snow and even sand are capable of reflecting anywhere between 80 and 25 percent of UV rays.

Considering you don’t have to be directly in the sun to be harmed by it, those who spend much time in water need to be extra vigilant with their sun protection.

Whatever watersport you do, whether you surf, paddleboard, bodyboard, swim, kitesurf, kayak, it is integral that you look after your skin in the sun.

Use Sun Cream

The obvious and first step in protecting yourself from the sun is to invest in a substantial sun cream.

The NHS website recommends that an effective sun cream should, at a minimum, have the SPF of 30 and be awarded four-star UVA protection.

A woman applying sun cream on the beach

What is SPF?

The amount of SPF indicates the extent of protection for ultraviolet B radiation (UVB). 50+ is the strongest form of SPF in suncream.

How Much Suncream Should You Apply?

The NHS website advises that suncream should be applied generously. For your face, neck and arms, you should expect to use at least two teaspoons of suncream. If covering your entire body, head to toe, you should use at least two tablespoons of suncream.

Just ensure every exposed part of the skin is covered!

Remember to Re-apply Sunscreen Throughout the Day

Once you are out of the water, you need to keep re-applying your suncream, even if it's water-resistant. It is essential to keep suncream topped up throughout the day, also when not entering the sea.

Invest in a Zinc Stick When in the Water

For extra protection in the sea, zinc sticks are perfect. Zinc oxide can protect your skin from both UVB and UVA damage.

A zinc stick tends to be much thicker than sun cream and is specially formulated, so it doesn’t slide off your skin when in the water.

Zinc sticks often come in bright colours such as white, pink and green, but you can also buy zinc sticks in skin tones too.

Protect Your Body in the Sea

On hot days or in warmer climates, while you are losing track of time in the sea, it is best to go that bit further and use a rash vest to protect your skin.

Rash vests, or rashguards, are usually worn under wetsuits to protect skin from rubbing and discomfort. However, they are generally also SPF protected and can be used to shield your skin from harmful sunrays.

Here at Wetsuit Centre, we have a vast range of both men’s and ladies rash vests for more inspiration!

A pair of sunglasses on a beach

Wear Sunglasses

Taking care of your eyes is just as essential and the NHS advise the wearing of sunglasses. UVB and UVA rays can both damage your eyes and can lead to eye diseases later on in life, including cataracts. Polarised lenses are the most beneficial for your eyes as they reduce glare.

After squinting in the sunlight all day, wearing sunglasses may also reduce any head tension developed throughout the day.

Put on a Hat

Hats are the best way to protect your scalp from the sun and can also moderate your temperature.

For those in the water throughout the day, you can purchase specific water hats which can clip around your face, so they don’t blow off when catching a wave. Surfers think of everything these days!

Make the Most of the Shade

When not in the water, it's best to get out of the sun as much as possible. On hot days, it is best to escape direct sunlight from 11 am to 3 pm as this is when the sun is at its most intense.

A water droplet

Stay Hydrated

This is a big one! It’s essential on a typical day, but with the heat turned up a notch, you must keep on top of your levels of hydration.

Investing in a reusable bottle will be one of the best purchases you have ever made. Not only is having a reliable water bottle incredibly handy, but it is also good for the environment!

You can freeze your drinks so they stay colder for longer on hot days, or spend that little bit more on products such as Hydro Flasks which can keep your drink both cold or hot for 12 hours or more!

Light Clothing 

Covering your skin in light and airy clothing is always better than exposing it to direct sunlight, even when you have doused yourself in suncream. Material that is light in weight and colour will help to moderate your temperature, as by reflecting the heat away from your body, you are decreasing your chances of sunstroke.

Wetsuit Centre has an excellent range of products for sun safety, from hats to sunblock and hydro flasks! For more information on general beach safety, why not check out our guide?

Other articles which may interest you this summer:

The best 9 surf spots in the South West