Sunbathing while protecting your skin’s well-being is possible, provided you follow a few vital guidelines:
- let your skin get used to the sun gradually, avoiding exposure during the hottest hours of the day (between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.), and in any case never staying in the sun too long;
- bear your location in mind: the sun is not the same at the tropics as it is on the Riviera;
- always protect the skin of your face and body with a product that has a suitable SPF value, and observe the correct quantities and frequency when using it;
- apply protection even if you are not directly exposed to the sun, as sunlight and ultraviolet rays can reach the skin even through clouds or parasols, as well as being reflected from water, sand and snow;
- use protection even when your skin is already tanned;
- you can get extra protection from your clothes, and by wearing a hat and sunglasses;
- after exposure to the sun, apply after-sun products to soothe and hydrate the skin.
can I still use the sunscreen I bought last year?
To answer this, you need to check the PAO, which is a piece of information provided on the packaging of cosmetic products, indicated by the open pot symbol.
PAO stands for Period After Opening, and indicates the number of months for which the product remains safe and functional after being opened. In general, sunscreen in the form of a milk or cream has a PAO of 12 months; so, if you bought it at the beginning of summer and for some reason didn’t finish it all, it is best to use it up during short periods of exposure to the sun early in the following year, i.e. within the 12 months of the PAO.
If it is a sunscreen with a very high level of protection (SPF 50+), perhaps for use by somebody with very pale colouring, it is best to simply open a new packet.
Remember that if you purchase a spray-type sunscreen in an aerosol, there will be no PAO because this type of container is never really “opened”.
To find out more, read our articles:
Sun protection: learn about the effects of the sun to protect your skin
Hypersensitive or acne-prone skin in the sun
Sun protection for children