We all know there is a down side to sun bathing, exposure to UV rays can make your skin wrinkled, leathery and uneven in tone. The fact is protected or not, exposure to UV rays makes your skin age faster, much faster, it can also give you skin cancer. Exposure to UV rays is not restricted to hot summer days, they are present all year round.

So why do we do it, on the up side exposure to the sun makes us feel good, more upbeat, happier, more energised, and when we get a tan more confident, attractive and healthier. These positive reasons why we enjoy the sun should not be underestimated, but you must take precaution to minimise any damage caused by the sun.

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Sunscreens come with different layers of protection, SPFs (sun protection filters) are coded by number. To calculate what level you need, work out how quickly you would start to burn in the sun without protection, be realistic, if you've just got off the plane into a hot country and you're used to a cold climate, it could be as little as 5 to 10 minutes before you start to go pink. Then multiply the time in minutes by the factor sunscreen you have.

The sun emits ultraviolet rays (UV) 2 types of UV rays you need to be aware of are: UVA which causes the skin to age, (UV A =ageing). UVB which causes burning (UV B =burning).

Both boost the effect of the other and both will go through glass.

The best sunscreens will protect you from a broad spectrum of UV rays and contain either avonbenzone, titanium dioxide or zinc oxide.

Be wary of sunscreens that only offer protection against UVA rays, they may allow you to tan faster but leave you prone to burn.

See Sunscreens


Aftersuns are formulated to make your tan last longer, to regenerate your skin and partially offset the damage caused by the sun.

A good aftersun will have a light texture hydrating your skin without suffocating it or trapping heat in the tissues which can damage the skin further and yes, you can put too much aftersun on.

See after-sun creams


The more we hear about the bad effects caused by the sun the more appealing self tan products sound, they offer a safe all year round tan, and self tan products have been improving fast.

There are 3 types of self tan products:

° Ones that use dihydroxyacetone (DHA), a colourless sugar which by reacting with the
  amino acid in your skin will produce browning on the skin's surface, this will last up to a

° Tanning pills, some of which contain tyrosine which will merely aid a tan, however many
  take won't work unless you sunbathe. The other type contain beta carotene, the same
  substance that makes carrots orange, if you eat enough of the pills or indeed carrots it
  will turn you orange.

° The last option is temporary tans, they won't last as long, but instantly give your face a
  healthy colour.

How to use a selftan

1. Exfoliate everywhere you intend to use the self-tan.

2. Moisturise, self tan clings to moisturized skin better.

3. Apply tan in long sweeping movements.

4. Wipe over heavily lined areas to stop the self tan collecting in the lines.

5. Leave the self tan at least an hour, however long it says on the bottle.

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