Skincare in the Spanish sun
Whilst it is easy for us vitamin-D starved Brits to believe that the sun only really heats up Africa and the Caribbean, the truth is that many destinations within European have the same high-intensity UV rays as some of the most famous equatorial hotspots.
If you are taking a holiday in Spain, therefore, being aware of the country’s unique relationship with the sun is important. We may be culturally much closer to Spain – and many of the country’s resorts and all-inclusive hotels, advertised through last minute holidays specialists strive to maintain a level of familiarity with British customs and tastes – but our weather is worlds apart.
The south and Mediterranean coasts of Spain are the country’s most popular – because of the very intense summer sun that they welcome every year. Scientific research shows that solar irradiance, or sunlight which has made it through the Earth’s atmosphere, is consistently high in southern Spain, which hangs close to the coast of North Africa.
In these areas, the hottest part of the day – between the hours of 11am and 3pm – is extremely dangerous for your skin. The sun is at its highest in the sky, and most rays penetrate the atmosphere and hit the earth.
One of the major ways to avoid sunburn and skin cancer is quite simply to avoid the sun during these dangerous hours. If you have young children you are particularly forewarned to guard them from the brightest light and make sure they wear t-shirts and hats as well as plenty of sunscreen.
Keeping hydrated is another key factor in making sure you feel the positive rather than negative effects of the sun on our skin and well-being. This will help prevent heatstroke or exhaustion and is imperative for elder people or pregnant women. It can also help keep the skin and brain hydrated in the heat.
The basics of skin protection in the sun, if you do decide to go out in it, are as follows: invest in a proven long-lasting sunscreen, such as P20, which you can apply at the start of the day all over. Leave this to dry and then top up with a cream every hour of exposure.
No matter how brown you are, begin with a high factor like 25 or 30, then work your way down if you feel like tanning more – but never begin on a low factor, as you’ll cause immediate and longer-lasting damage.
So next time that you decide to enjoy the Spanish sun make sure that you have purchased all the necessary skin care products to protect yourself.