How to relieve overexposure to sun

What you need to know about relief from sun exposure

It's important to look after skin that has been exposed in the sun, even if you spend most of the time in the shade or are wearing sunscreen. We've put together some useful tips for keeping skin feeling cool and refreshed.

The importance of wearing sun cream

Wearing sunscreen with a good SPF is vital during the summer months to minimise the damage from sun exposure and protect your skin from issues such as premature ageing.

Sun cream and limiting sun exposure is important to keep skin cool and healthy

Prevention is always better than alternatives. Keeping skin feeling healthy and cool will help prevent problems from sun exposure. Wearing a good sun cream before you go out into the sun or covering up exposed areas is a better idea than trying to relieve skin from sun exposure later. Avoid the sun during peak hours is the best prevention, and remember you should always be wearing sunscreen, even when in the shade.

Not only do Sunscreens such as NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture lotion with immediate protection help to care for skin during sun exposure, it also prevents the UV rays from causing premature skin aging and decreasing the risk of skin cancer.

As global temperatures rise due to climate change and people become more aware of the risks of prolonged sun exposure, preventing sun damage to the skin and covering up with sunscreen is more important than ever. When it's cloudy or overcast many think they're not at risk of damage from sun exposure, but this isn't the case as 90% of the sun's rays can penetrate through cloud, fog and mist. So make sure you're using sun cream.

Read more about the best sunscreen for your skin type.

Ultraviolet rays can cause long-term damage to your skin

UV cameras reveal what a massive difference wearing sunscreen makes and how exposed to potential sunburn or skin cancer without it you are. Even though it's not visible on the outside, wearing an effective sun cream gives you peace of mind while you enjoy yourself in the sun.

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Sun exposure: how long can you stay in the sun without sunscreen?

To keep your skin safe from sun exposure, it is recommended to apply sun cream 30 minutes before going outside, however NIVEA SUN products protect immediately.

Exposure to sunlight has health benefits too. However the number of UV rays your skin can stand depends on a number of factors, such as an individuals' complexion, genetics, time of day and location. Usually skin is only safe for between 5-30 minutes.

To be on the safe side and have the best chance of keeping skin safe, always put on a sun protection such as NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture Spray, before being exposed to the sun.

You don’t have to sacrifice that bronze glow

Applying sun cream is a must when you’re on holiday, but you can still come back looking sun-kissed. NIVEA Sun Protect & Bronze Tan Activation Oil SPF 30 allows a safe stay in the sun while supporting the skin’s natural tanning process for a beautiful and long-lasting glow.

Sunscreen: 5 helpful tips for applying it the right way

  • Shake well before use
  • Apply thickly and thoroughly
  • Always reapply throughout the day, particularly after swimming, toweling and sweating.
  • Don't forget the sun terraces like ears, nose and shoulders, as these parts are more exposed than other body parts.
  • Ask a friend to help apply to hard-to-reach areas like the back.

The longer skin is exposed to the sun, the stronger the SPF

Make sure the SPF you're using is suitable for your skin and provides you with enough protection.

What does SPF stand for and how does it prevent sunburn?

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. A measure of the sunscreen's ability to prevent damage to the skin from sun exposure. There are lots of SPFs on the market - here's what they mean.

Put simply: take the number of minutes your skin can protect itself without sun cream and multiply this by the SPF figure - this will give you the maximum number of minutes of sun exposure you'll be protected for. Let's assume a self-protection time of 20 minutes. The usage of SPF 15 lotion will expand your protection time by a factor of 15. So you'll be able to stay out in the sun for 300 minutes (or 5 minutes).

Sweating, swimming, toweling and playing at the beach can lead your sunscreen to wear off over time. It's recommended to reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours and after swimming. NIVEA SUN protection, like the NIVEA SUN Protect & Moisture line, is available from SPF 10 to SPF 50. Just pick the SPF which caters for your needs.

Some areas are more at risk when exposed to the sun

Areas that can be particularly sensitive to sun exposure are the face, ears, neck, shoulders, tops of the feet and the hair parting. Pay special attention to carefully applying sunscreen to these spots to avoid burning and make sure if skin does become hot and sore, you have a cooling relief such as after sun at hand to help provide relief but always remember, prevention is the best thing you can do!

Which SPF should I use?

When exposed to the sun, UVA and UVB rays penetrate the skin, and can cause damage. UVA rays penetrate deeper, and are what are responsible for tanning. However, they are also what causes sun-caused premature aging of the skin. UVB rays are associated with the skin reddening and becoming sore from sun exposure. UVB rays are also associated with causing cancer. To protect yourself from these problems, ensure you cover up with a suitable SPF!

Complexion and genetics are sunburn factors

Fair skinned individuals with light-coloured or red hair are usually more likely to suffer from sunburn. If you're in any doubt about how effective your SPF is for your skin try to stay out of the sun during the hottest hours of 11am-3pm and choose an SPF or 30 or 50.

Too exposed to the sun?

If you've become too exposed to the sun, and are starting to feel red and sore, the most important thing you can do is to stay out of the sun until skin feels better. Even in the shade or on overcast days, make sure you cover up with sunscreen!

What to do if you are feeling red and sore?

If your skin is red, sore and warm to the touch and often itchy from sun exposure, it is important to give it some TLC and look after it. As said, ensure skin does not become damaged further by staying away from the sun and wearing sun lotion. Try to cool skin by using a cold compress or a cool bath or shower.

Drink lots of water to replenish the fluids in your body and help to cool you down. The skin will probably be very tender and dry, so apply a layer of after sun product, such as NIVEA After Sun Moisture Moisturising Soothing Lotion to the affected areas to help further cool the area and replace any moisture lost, after sun won't protect your from the long term damage from sun exposure though. This should help cool the skin, providing moisture to dry areas and leave skin feeling more comfortable. Be very gentle when applying any product to the affected area and use a dabbing motion rather than rubbing to treat the sunburn. If over exposed skin shows no signs of healing or relief within a week, it is best to seek professional medical assistance.

Severe sunburn should never be taken lightly

Although sunburn usually heals on its own in a few days, if it’s particularly severe or combined with other symptoms, it’s important to get professional medical assistance immediately. This is particularly important if the individual is a baby or young child, as they have exceptionally delicate skin.

Signs of severe sunburn may be blistering of the skin, chills, a very high temperature or dizziness and sickness. These symptoms may also point to sunstroke, which can be very dangerous if not treated immediately.

Find out more about causes and effects of sunstroke here.

Take care of your skin and it’ll take care of you

Too much exposure to the sun can leave skin dehydrated, dull and unable carry out it's protective functions properly. To keep yours feeling healthy and looking beautiful and smooth, make sure you take steps to prevent damage from sun exposure.

How to relieve discomfort from over exposure: some quick tips

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing to prevent rubbing
  • Make sure to cover any red, dry or sore skin if you go back into the sun
  • Avoid using any soaps or shower gels on the affected areas until they've healed.
  • Drink a lot of water
  • Apply after sun to damaged skin but don't rely on it's cooling effect to stop damage
  • If you experience too much pain or develop blisters, you should consult your doctor.