Protection From the Sun
We’ve all done it haven’t we? Gone out into the garden for a little potter, only to get absorbed in something and realise that two hours have passed in a flash. This is all well and good on days when the sun isn’t beating down but even then, the effect from harmful UV rays can be considerable. It’s so important to cover up when in the sunshine but many people don’t realise how dangerous it can be to spend hours in the garden without protection.
It’s not hard to protect yourself from the sun; a hat is a must and the wider the brim the better. Don’t forget that vulnerable neck area though and this is especially important if you are bending down and weeding for long periods of time! A hat with a neck protector is a good idea for gardeners…look for a Legionnaire’s style cap to wear when working outdoors as they protect both your face and your neck.
Long sleeves will cover up your arms but not everyone likes to wear them whilst doing hot and heavy work; if you are one of the vest-top brigade then be sure to apply a high factor sunscreen and reapply if you get wet! The higher the factor the better the protection and today, sun protection cream is not as expensive as it once was…so there’s no excuse!
Golden rules for gardening safely
- Wear sunscreen at all times even if the sun is not shining
- Wear a hat if you are planning to spend more than an hour outdoors
- Cover up your arms
The risks of prolonged exposure to the UV rays which the sun puts out are many, but the worst effects are skin damage in the shape of cancerous spots, moles or patches. Freckles and wrinkles are another sign that you’re spending too much time in the sun and while a light tan is always attractive, you shouldn’t risk your health to achieve it.
It is advisable to spend no more than 15 to 20 minutes in the sun when wearing no protection at all and if you plan on being outdoors for longer then sunscreen and a hat should always be worn.
Who is most at risk?
- People with blonde or red hair
- Those of us with blue or green eyes
- People with freckles
If you are very fair of skin then consider investing in a gazebo for use when you are potting; a gazebo is easy to put up and just as easy to store away when the autumn arrives. You can erect a gazebo over any part of your garden and use a fold-away table for your pots and equipment; this will allow you to work for hours without worrying about the effects of the sun.
Top sunscreen tips
- Apply sunscreen to all exposed areas of skin
- Apply generously
- Reapply every 3 hours
- If you wear makeup, apply sunscreen first and then wait for 20 minutes before applying makeup. Makeup does not offer sun protection unless stated on the packaging