Tuesday, 4 June 2013

We Only Get Summer For A Week But Your Skin Is For Life! Stay Safe In The Sun





Us Irish long for the sun to come it makes everything better and we can not wait to bare the flesh. We spend €€€ each year on fake tan , sunbeds etc that any chance to get a bit of colour for free, we lap it up. We have this perception that Irish sun is weaker then the sun in hotter climates*

We tend to only break out the sunscreen when we get a scolding from the mother or our bodies have been burned to a crisp that you vow never to do it again and the sun cream is your new best friend. But us Irish tend to forget, mainly due to our one week summers and even when we do not a majority of us are not even applying it right.

My Skin and The Sun
I have been on many holidays in my life, I have even lived abroad but there is two holidays that have made me cherish my skin more then anything.

First off was when I went on 3 day hen weekend to Benidorm in Spain. I was 16 and naive, getting a tan in the shortest time possible was the goal. On our second day me and my auntie headed to the beach after a late night the night before it was not too long before we snoozed off and no sun cream  was never reapplied. 

I went out that night with a half a body red and half a body white literally, I was very hot and uncomfortable and in pain but I partied on. Till the next day I woke with the shakes, been violently ill and in dire need of water this continued on for 12 hours. 

Even when I arrived home the torture was not over, while sunbathing not only had I burnt my arms back and legs I had burnt the soles of my feet. A few days home my soles did not peel the skin literally came off in one go and walking was excruciating for days.

Rash is visible on arms

Fast forward four years and I went on my next holiday, I was much more sun conscious  and my sister was working as a sun care rep at the time so I had the best in sun cream and religiously applied it. It did not matter my skin had literally became allergic to the heat. I had extreme prickly heat( as us Irish call it) and my whole body came out with a rash. Not only that but I was extremely tired throughout the whole holiday and spent most of the days asleep my room.

Over next two years I tended to avoid the sun. I worked full time anyway for most of the time that I missed the sunny days. Factor 50 became my new best friend worn every day under my makeup and my skin went a nice shade of ghostly white. It did not bother me one bit fake tan is always there when I need a bit of bronzing up.

So last year when it came to moving to Portugal I was in a bit of a panic, I feared the rash would come back and ruin all my fun in the sun. But I was sensible I paced myself in the sun for first two weeks spending more time in shade constantly topping up with sunscreen and even though I was there for six months I never went below a 20 SPF. I never spent hours lying in the sun nor did I ever leave the house with out sunscreen even when I was going to work at 5pm. I never got sun burnt, but I did have a beautiful brown tan and my skin was safe.

I had learnt my lesson, well until I fell back into the Irish forgetfulness routine and with working nights I had become a vampire that never saw the sun. With working in the bar and pictures been constantly taken my appearance is important and flash back is a no no! My factor 50 got left on the shelf and forgotten about.

Last weekend the summer came to Ireland, after work Friday night we decided to carry on partying and went to a friends for a garden BBQ. Alcohol and sheer forgetfulness I sat in the sun unprotected for hours. Literally thought nothing of it till I went back to work that evening, the redness came first and then the undying thirst. Shaking was unbearable and made doing my job very difficult. Then the vomiting.... I ended up in bed all of Sunday and half of Monday. By Tuesday I was still not a 100% nearly collapsed in town waiting on a friend. My sleep is all over the place and my whole body is dehydrated.

The burns well the photos says it all and these photos were taken 5 days after initial sunburns and countless amounts of aloe vera cream.


Now I back to sun conscious factor 50 all the way, never going to leave my bag. Not only am I sensitive to the sun but I have nearly 300 moles/beauty spots and the risk of skin cancer if not properly cared for is extremely high for me.


Choose a high factor with UVA protection, us Irish are not used to the sun and just because it is not as hot as Spain does not mean you need to wear a lower factor.
Protect yourself in whatever the weather, over exposure to UVA can lead to premature ageing and skin cancer. Just because its dull does not mean your safe.
Reapply, reapply, reapply. Any contact with water, even sweating can remove your sunscreen. Apply a good fifteen minutes before venturing out into the sun and reapply every 30-40 minutes.


*1 in 4 people believe 25 degrees in Ireland is not as hot as 25 degrees in Spain. Source: http://www.sossaveourskin.ie/sos_facts.asp
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