We all know to apply sun cream when we're out in the sun, but harmful UV rays are all around and can still reflect off surfaces even when the sun isn't shining. Both direct and indirect UV rays have an impact on the health of our skin and eyes, so it's important to stay protected even if you're not in direct sunlight.
Boots UK Suncare Expert Clare O'Connor explains the main risks and how to stay protected from harmful UV rays this summer.
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UV rays can still cause skin damage even when the sun isn't shining
1. Rain can double the amount of reflected UV rays
"Sand, concrete and even grass all reflect UV but if any of these surfaces become wet the amount reflected can double. This doesn't mean you need to double your sun protection, but it does mean you need to be thinking about UV protection all the time, especially as UV can still penetrate your skin on cloudy days and through glass.
Clare's advice: "Choose a daily moisturiser with SPF and UVA protection to help keep you protected from incidental, every day exposure but if you're out in the sun for long periods of time remember a full sun cream product with high SPF is essential."
2. Heading to the Med? Whitewashed villas can increase UV exposure…
"White is the most reflective colour so in countries like Greece where white buildings are plentiful the UV reflection is particularly strong," Clare explains. "As well as increasing the UV around you, it also means you are still likely to be affected in the shade as UV rays are reflected in shaded spots."
Clare's advice: "Of course on holiday you're more likely to have sun protection on already, but remember to keep it topped up throughout the day even if you're a shade-seeker.
"Ensure you are fully protected from UV rays with the Boots Soltan Protect & Moisturise range which provides long-lasting moisturisation whilst still ensuring the highest UVA protection."
It is important to reapply suncream regularly when sunbathing
3. Water (and UV) all around…
"Water is a highly reflective surface- in fact UV rays are reflected by as much as 30%, so if you're a water sports fan ensure you are protected with a wetsuit as well as sun protection.
"UV rays also pass through water (50% of UVA and UVB pass through the upper 50cm of water), so for little ones playing in the shallows ensure you use a waterproof lotion and re-apply regularly."
Clare's advice: "If you're spending the day by the pool or sea, you'll also be exposed to more UV especially as you are likely to be getting wet, so it is essential you reapply sun cream at least every two hours."
4. Smart phones needs smart sunglasses…
"Hundreds of people will be lying on beaches, in parks and in their gardens this year on their smartphones or tablets. UV rays bounce off these glass screens and while the surface may be small, remember that as you are holding it close to your eyes you are increasing your exposure to this reflection.
Clare's advice: "Our eyes are up to ten times more sensitive to UV damage than our skin so whatever you’re reading or playing, make sure you are wearing sunglasses with 100% UV protection to keep you safe. Giving your phone a rest while you sunbathe? Remember that sand and grass reflect UV too so you'll still need those sunnies!"