Carola Long: 'People often get distracted by high SPF numbers, but protection against UVA is also important

Beauty Queen

To tan or not to tan, that's the, ahem, burning question that troubles sun worshippers every summer. When the weather is hot in the UK it can seem like a "waste" not to rush outside and bask in it. However, given that cases of malignant melanoma are at a record high and dermatologist Dr Nick Lowe describes sun damage as "the skin's biggest enemy when it comes to premature ageing", it's important to use the right protection and apply it correctly.

Of course, the most extreme option is to avoid the sun entirely, but most of us find it too hard to resist. We won't all follow the bleak advice of one skincare-counter woman who told me that the only way to avoid ageing was to "live in a hole".

So if you are going to leave the safety of the UV-proof hole, what should you look for in a suncream? Dr Nick Lowe advises people with fair skin or a history of skin cancer to use an SPF 15 with UVA protection every day (his Super Charged SPF Day Cream is very good, £16.59, going up to an SPF 30 in sunny weather. But he says that factor 15 is sufficient for people with olive skin or darker.

People often get distracted by high SPF numbers – which indicate the level of protection against burning UVB rays, but protection against UVA which can damage DNA, cause cancer and age the skin, is also important. Look for a UVA star rating of four or five (this is the system used by Boots) or the words "UVA" in a circle. The latter indicates that the product has a 1:3 ratio of UVA to SPF.

Dermatologists caution against scrimping – as a guideline, apply at least a teaspoon to your face and neck, and a teaspoon to hands and chest – and against using a high factor as an excuse to stay out too long. Dr Lowe recommends Nivea's SPF 30 spray with four UVA stars, and the Ambre Solaire range.

For the face, I like Estée Lauder's Bronze Goddess creams (from £20) or Clinique Sun with SolarSmart (£13.50). For the body, Boot's coconut-scented cream (£8.99) with five UVA stars will bring a Caribbean feel to the most homely of staycations.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
    'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

    'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

    British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
    Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

    Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

    Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
    14 best kids' hoodies

    14 best kids' hoodies

    Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk