I love the sun. Yes I am a natural redhead therefore according to folk lore, in just a single minute in the scorching rays of the sun I should burst into flames. Nope. Not this ginger, but don’t get me wrong, I still have to be careful.
When I was a little girl, I loved the summer even though I enjoy the seasons in general. Each one has it’s own upside and downside but I love being on the toasty side of life. The beams hitting your skin as you step outside and the feeling of warmth throughout your body is great. There is a limit when it comes to heat at night I must say. During the random heatwave back in July, that Tuesday night was pretty unbearable but I still managed to sleep with a blanket on me. I was the only person in the icebox of an office who kept stepping outside just to warm up. On holiday I bask in the sun on the loungers by the pool, occasionally dipping in it to break up my blocks of baking.
Being a natural redhead should mean I’m milk bottle white all year round no matter how long I tan. Apparently not. My skin has always tanned well, my stomach especially cooks at a different rate to the rest of me, my legs take ages. I have to be careful with the numerous amount of moles on my skin, I’m always keeping an eye on them adding extra cream if needs be. One place I am always worried about burning is my face, as you all know, it is generally red anyways but with added exposure to the sun, it can be comical. My nose and the skin surrounding it goes red before anywhere else so I try to keep it covered with a hat when I feel the prickles of heat piercing my pores. Then my freckles like to burst out all over the shop which sometimes I find cute, but when they over do it, it’s not so cute, not in my eyes anyway.
Over the past few years I have been using the sunbeds. One reason, I was fed up of being pale since I know my skin tans so well. I just felt unhealthy looking. Another was to clear up my acne and strawberry legs, which it dead. Don’t get me wrong, I still have little spots every now and then and my strawberry legs have far from cleared up but they look so much better. Another reason is that it makes me feel good, some especially in the winter time when it can be so dark a lot of the time with very little sun. In the northeast of England, we are lucky if we see the sun in the winter months. To be honest, those are selfish reasons but it makes me feel better about myself and I don’t use them all the time. I can go weeks without using the sunbeds and sometimes I use them twice a week. Maybe from using the beds, I have built up a tolerance to UV rays for my ginger skin, but then I think I’m a defective ginger.
Most gingers who burn have always been pale with fair underlying skin tones, green or blue eyes (very rare if they do) and blond eyelashes/eyebrows which I do not. I have dark eyebrows and eyelashes with very dark brown eyes, I am a defective ginger. As I’ve got older my hair has become more auburn in the winter months with blond highlights making a comeback for the summer season which I love to be honest.
BUT just because I am a defective ginger doesn’t mean that I don’t have to be careful in the sun, so these are my little tips for keeping my skin summer sun savvy.
- Sunscreen – It’s an obvious one. Sun protection creams are a must whenever spending long amounts of time basking in the rays. Even if you are just walking around, it protects from harmful beams and keeps the skin moisturised. I use factor 20 but you can go up to factor 50 which is recommended if you have very fair skin, are prone to burning easily or have children. I have used for many years Nivea Sun. I prefer the tan activating cream but protect and moisture is perfect too. It’s water resistant and gives instant protection from UVA/UVB. It’s available from most high street stores with varying prices.
- Aftersun – This is obvious too. Even if you are not sunburnt, it’s best to top up the lost moisture from your skin with Aftersun. It prevent possible sunburn and peeling skin but also helps to prolong your tan. I use Nivea once again and with it smelling of Aloe Vera, it’s a great feeling lathering it on after having a cold shower. A top tip of mine is to keep it in the fridge, always! The cream is pretty soothing and cooling anyways but to give it that extra kick, pop it in the bottom of your fridge or to give it a quick blast, bang it in the freezer while you pop in the shower. Nivea’s Aftersun keeps the skin hydrated for 48 hours and you don’t need a lot to cover your face and body. It’s about £4 a bottle from most high street stores.
- Eye Cool Packs – The cooling eye packs are great for a little pamper for tired eyes at the best of times but are perfect after a day in the sun. I keep mine in the freezer anyways, cools them down right away and sometimes if I have a little heat headache, moves it on nicely. Mother bought me one with pizzas on them, rather appropriate. If I can’t find my eye packs I use the cucumber cooling eye pads I talked about in my previous post, “My Favourite Products for Beautiful Skin”. Either way keep them in the fridge or freezer as they will make you feel totally refreshed.
- Simple Face Masks – A bit of an indulgence but I have found it really effective. If I have spent a few days in the sun, every three to four days, I like to throw on a face mask. The Simple face masks, as you know these are my favourites, they are kind to skin, and are vegan and cruelty free. The 48hour Glow mask is my favourite. Not only is this a little pamper for you but it is a gift to your skin. It rehydrates all the moisture that it might not be getting from the Aftersun every night, it’s also to love your skin especially on your face where it can get damaged a lot quicker. Simple Sheet masks vary in price and are available from major high street stores and online outlets.
- Sunnies and Hats – my last tip is not just to keep you safe in the sun but also to look cool. Sunglasses are great and an obvious tip. They protect your eyes which are really sensitive to UVA/UVB rays and the skin around your eyes is very delicate, hence as you get older fine lines and bags become more prominent. I used prescription sunglasses because I am near enough blind, so I like to see as much as possible without being further blinded by the sun. I wear a hat on vacation purely to keep the back of my neck, the top of my head (not that I’m going bald or anything) and my face in the shade when the sun can be just a bit too much, I could always sit under a brolly or go in the shade. Then again, I like to keep up my tanning game for the rest of my body.
These little tips are just from my personal experience, some of my tattooed friends say to wear factor 50 on their inkings so that they don’t fade and apparently they can sting when in the sun too long. I have a small tattoo and never noticed it but please do take extra care with inked, scarred or sensitive skin. Please bare in my mind that I am no skin expert. I do not have the brains for that kind of thing. Everything that I talk about is just learnt from things that have worked for me through life.
If you want to find out out more ways of looking after your skin in the sun, head over to the British Skin Foundation website for expert advice as well as the NHS website and Nivea has some handy tips too! Stay safe!