The Stylist: Armand Beasley

Who doesn’t love the gentle warmth of the sun on their skin? When the sun is shining I just feel brighter and happier, don’t you?

In northern Europe we tend to be deficient in vitamin D, especially in the winter, because the sun helps our skin to manufacture it and we tend not to get as much of its gorgeous sunshine as our southern counterparts.

But as we head into summer we also need to have a respect for the sun and be sensible. Too much exposure can wreak havoc: the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which comes in two types, A and B, can cause premature ageing and cell damage, particularly if you burn your skin.

We have a natural protective pigment in the skin called melanin, but the lighter your skin the more protection you need from UVA (associated with ageing) and UVB (associated with burning). This is where sun cream comes in to play.

I always recommend a ‘broad spectrum’ product to protect from UVA and UVB. It should be topped up frequently, and your first application should be 20 minutes prior to sun exposure. You can choose between ‘mineral’ or ‘synthetic’ sunscreens. Mineral sun creams, which are more environmentally friendly, form a physical barrier that reflects UV rays, while synthetic creams filter their harmful effects. Some ingredients can damage marine life, so choose ones that say ‘ocean friendly’ on the bottle. Suncare from brands like Green People and Tropic are good options for sea-lovers.

No sun protection factor (SPF) will block out 100% of UV rays, but SPF30 will protect from around 97%, while SPF50 (the highest) protects from 98%. It’s more the frequency of application that’s important.

And don’t forget: a hat is always a good way to protect your head! Enjoy the summer sunshine.