How to Avoid Sunburn in 7 Quick Steps (and What to Do if it’s Too Late!)

By Abi King | Travel Tips

Jul 16
How to avoid sunburn and find sunburn relief

How to avoid sunburn and find sunburn relief


How to Avoid Sunburn in 10 Essential Steps (And Find Sunburn Relief if That Fails!) 

Let's face it, we'd all like to know how to avoid sunburn, wherever we are in the world.   Even blustery Britain excels in stealth sunburn moments, leaving the unsuspecting in stinging need of some sunburn relief.

And so, this post comes to you in partnership with Soleve, who produce a product that deals with sunburn (we'll talk more about that later.)

But, responsible as they are (or else I wouldn't work with them,) they also want to make sure we don't get sunburnt in the first place.

Sunburn, as we all well know, contributes to skin cancer, wrinkles and it just plain hurts.

So here are ten tips, with a mix from them and from me, to help you avoid sunburn.

Apply sunscreen often

1 - Get into the habit of using suncream as much as you brush your teeth. Apply liberally before you go out under the rays and make sure that the cream you use has a high SPF (+30 or higher) for UVB protection and a minimum of 4 stars for UVA protection. Reapply every 1-2 hours in bright sunshine (OK, that's where the toothbrush analogy breaks down. But start with the toothbrush habit and work up form there. Applying sunscreen, that is. Not toothpaste. Obviously.)

Take care on the sand

2 - Pay particular attention when on the sand - it can act as a mirror and increase reflected radiation by up to 17 %. Obviously, think about the sand on the beach but don't forget that sand in the desert is just as potent too.

Avoid the Midday Sun

3 - Try to avoid being out in bright sunlight between the hours of 11 and 3. Think of them as the peak burning hours, not tanning times. 

Cover up with Clothes (but Take Care in White)

4 - Cover up with clothes but remember that loose weave items and even thin white linen can let the sun's rays through. Also, from personal experience, pay particular attention to lotioning up the areas around necklines and sleeves - those clothes do slip and slide around quite often during the day.

Don't be Fooled by Clouds

5 - Clouds are not your friends. According to Soleve, 30-40% of UV will still penetrate through cloud cover. So, still stick with your hat, shades, clothes, and cream routine even if it's cloudy.

Sunscreen After Swim. Every Single Time.

6 - Swimming is great for the heart but sloppy for the skin. Or in other words, 85% of suncream protection is gone by the time you've emerged from your dip and towelled yourself dry. Reapply. Regularly - as in after every time you get out. Yes, it's annoying. But not as annoying as sunburn.

Children's Skin is Even More Sensitive

7 - Double down on protecting the kids. Their skin is even more sensitive (and, hopefully, has more years of protection ahead of it.) Hat, cream, clothes and shades (if you can get them to keep them on. And if you can, let me know how you do it, won't you?! The sunglasses, that is. I don't actually have issues with the hat, cream and clothes ;-) )

Keep Babies in the Shade

8 - Keep babies under six months old out of direct sunlight. Please do. You can buy a handy Snooze Shade that goes over prams. It's made of a breathable fabric with a little zip so you can check on them without waking them up. Game changer.

Learn How to Deal with Sunburn

9 - Deal with sunburn properly. First of all, keep the burnt skin out of the sun until it has fully recovered. Second of all, review your suncare strategy - something has gone wrong and you need to adapt before it happens again. Thirdly, consider Soleve Sunburn Relief as part of your holiday first aid kit.* Soleve combines the painkiller ibuprofen with rehydrating emollient isopropyl myristate to soothe and rehydrate your sore skin. It's the only licensed product for sunburn and is available over the counter for over 12s only.

Be Prepared for Lost Luggage - Pack a Small Bottle of Sunscreen in Your Hand Luggage

10 - Expect the worst and pack a travel-size bottle of sunscreen in your hand luggage if you're heading somewhere really hot. Then, should the worst happen and you do actually lose your luggage, you won't need to add being sunburnt to your list of holiday woes.

And on that cheery note, travel safely and have a lot of fun! ;-)

Sun safe tip one: Carry sun cream

Perhaps the most obvious move is to slap on the sun cream. But to do that you have to have some with you! We often get caught out in the UK when the sun suddenly comes out to play – sitting in the park at lunch, going for a stroll or reading a good book, we don’t realise we are actually putting ourselves at risk of the sun’s harmful rays – even when it is behind a cloud! Decant some sun cream into a smaller bottle to pop in your bag, your desk drawer or in the car.

 Sun safe tip two:  Hat trick

The face and scalp burn easily so wear a wide brimmed hat if you are out and about or lazing in the sun. A wide-brimmed hat can reduce 50% of UV radiation to the eyes, face and neck. Remember to also wear sunglasses with a UV filter. Not only will you look fashionable wearing a hat, you will be doing yourself a big favour!

Sun safe tip three: Set a timer or a reminder

It’s easy to remember to apply sun cream before you head out for a day in the sun but is also easy to forget to reapply through-out the day. Set a timer or a reminder on your phone to reapply – the British Association of Dermatologists recommends that sunscreen is reapplied liberally ever couple of hours1. Remember to reapply immediately if you have been swimming, playing sports or towel drying.

Sun safe tip four: Lunch in the shade

The sun is at its highest and strongest point between 11am and 3pm, so take extra care between these times. Have your lunch in the shade and take advantage of a cool place to relax and enjoy your lunch away from bees, pollen and footballs being kicked your way.

 Sun safe tip five: Sunburn is serious

We all do our best to avoid sunburn, but it is inevitable that at some point people are going to experience a degree of sunburn, from a slightly red face to full on sore to touch or move sunburn. To take the sting out of mild to moderate sunburnt skin try Soleve sunburn relief. It’s the only licensed medicine of its kind to combine the painkilling power of ibuprofen with a soothing moisturiser to rehydrate the skin.

Do you have any sun safety tips? Share them in the comments below.



Soleve - The Only Licensed Product for Sunburn

Soleve Sunburn Relief is an over the counter medicine available in the UK from Boots and Sainsbury’s nationwide. So, if you are planning a trip abroad, consider packing it in your travel first aid kit just in case. Suitable for adults and children aged twelve years and over.

RRP £9.95 for 100ml

*Disclosure – this article is sponsored by Soleve. However, as ever, as always I kept the right to write what I like. Otherwise, what’s the point?

Also, while I do have a medical background, this post obviously can’t count as individual medical advice – so please don’t treat it that way. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any concerns over the ingredients – there are a few circumstances where you shouldn’t use this product. 

From the essential travel tips collection > how to stay safe in the sun including a revolutionary new sunburn treatment. From @insidetravellab

About the Author

Hi, I'm Abi, a doctor turned writer who's worked with Lonely Planet, the BBC, UNESCO and more. Let's travel more and think more.

  • Izy Berry says:

    I’m happy that most foundations have SPF!

    • Abi King says:

      Yes, me too! And that a lot of daily moisturisers have it as well.

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