Whether you run, sail, play pétanque, kayak or ride horses, doing sport outdoors in the summer is pure bliss. To make sure you keep having fun and stay safe, remember to stay hydrated and protect your skin and eyes.
Pleasure and Protection, the Two P's that go Hand in Hand
The aim, naturally, is for you to get the most out of being in the sun when there is some. And, of course, do a sport for a maximum amount of time outdoors. UV rays are not inoffensive. Exposing yourself in the sun for too long without protection means you risk getting sunburn or sunstroke. The sun can harm your eyes, accelerate the process of skin ageing and can even cause skin cancer. To avoid these issues, follow these golden rules:
COVER UP WITH SUITABLE CLOTHING AND HEADWEAR Wear light sports clothing that wicks sweat away and that is sufficiently ventilated to maintain a healthy body temperature. Protect your head and the back of your neck by wearing a cap, hat or headscarf. UV sun protective T-shirts and tops also exist. They are ideally suited to water sports and children.
APPLY SUNSCREEN BEFORE GETTING STARTED! Apply the first layer of sun cream on the exposed parts of your body a quarter of an hour before going out to start your sport. Not when you have already spent a certain amount of time in the sun. If your skin starts to stretch or go red, it's already too late… Choose a good quality sun cream based on your skin type and resist the temptation of choosing a low sun protection factor.Re-apply sun cream or spray every two hours. Don't forget the back of your neck, behind the knees, ears and hands. Even if you are covered up with a T-shirt, also apply on your shoulders because clothing lets part of UV rays get through. Use a special moisturising balm with a high sun protection factor on your lips.
DON'T FORGER YOUR EYES Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses, especially at the water's edge and in the mountains.
TAKE A WATER BOTTLE In the event of prolonged or intensive effort, drink plenty of water or a suitable energy drink. In the event of high temperatures, drink more to prevent dehydration. Respect your body and nature: opt for a reusable water bottle.
AVOID EXPOSURE AT MIDDAY When the sun is at its zenith and sending its strongest rays – between 12 and 4 pm – it's time for a nap or activities in the shade or indoors. Even if it is cloudy or windy and it seems to feel cooler, you can get caught out by the sun's rays... In the mountains and at the seaside, take into account the high level of reflection of sun rays. When the temperature exceeds 26°C, best not to do sport, so you avoid the risk of sunburn, heat cramp or dehydration.
Yes, the Sun Makes you Happy
In ancient cultures, the sun was honoured as the symbol of life. It provides plants, animals and humans with the light and warmth they need to develop. And who hasn't noticed that feeling of happiness when the sun appears... It instantly affects your mood, your well-being and supports developing a regular sleep pattern. It helps us to synthesize vitamin D, which we need for our bones to absorb sufficient amounts of calcium and phosphorus. And it is also very important for children.
Your Skin is Different to Mine
Each skin requires protection that is suitable for the UV rays' intensity, duration of exposure and the activity you do. Your UV ray sensitivity – or phototype – depends on the colour of your skin. Avoiding the sun between 12 and 4 pm is nevertheless the best plan action for everyone
Phototype 1: particularly sensitive skin Very fair skin, often with freckles. You easily get sunburn and you don't tan or it's very difficult. Don't even attempt to tan. The only watchword for you is maximum protection: clothing, hat, sunglasses and a sun cream with a very high sun protection factor: SPF 50+
Phototype 3: slightly dark skin You don't get sunburn quickly and you tan easily. Yet it's best to use a sun cream with a high sun protection factor: SPF 30 or 50.
Phototype 2: sensitive skin Fair, sometimes with a freckles. You easily get sunburn and it's difficult getting a sun tan. Don't attempt to tan. You need maximum protection: clothing, headwear, sunglasses and a sun cream with a very high sun protection factor:SPF 50+
Phototypes 4 & 5: dark skin Your skin contains lots of melanin. You hardly ever get sunburn and you tan very quickly. A sun cream with a medium sun protection factor is sufficient: SPF 20 or 25.
Phototype 6: darker skin Your skin contains huge amounts of melanin, which protects you from getting sunburn. You are highly resistant in the sun. A sun cream with a low sun protection factor is sufficient: SPF 10. For fairer parts of skin, use sun cream with SPF 20 or 25.
Watch out for Children and Babies!
Their skin is thinner and more sensitive to that of adults. Sunburn and intensive exposure to the sun during childhood increases the risk of skin cancer in adulthood. A sun protection factor of SPF 50+ is recommended up to the age of 15 years old. There is only one peace of advice for babies: don't expose them to the sun.
Inspect your Skin Blemishes
Regularly inspect your skin and that of your family. Be careful when dealing with any cut that doesn't heel easily or changes aspect. If in doubt, don't hesitate to consult a skin specialist. It is recommended for people with a phototype 1 or 2, to get a full skin inspection from head to toe by a dermatologist or their general practitioner.
Spray, Creme, Stick...
Sunscreen products are available in different forms. Choose the one that seems the most practical for each moment you use it and take a sun protection factor that is suitable to your skin type. The filters protect against harmful ultraviolet rays. If you do a water sport, you must choose a waterproof product. After 80 minutes in the water, it is no longer effective and you must apply a new layer. If you sweat a lot when doing your sport, it is also worth thinking about buying a waterproof product, especially if you want to prevent your eyes from stinging.
The Shelf Life of Sun Protection is Limited
These products last two to three years when not opened. Once opened they last a maximum of a year. Have you still got some from last year? Start by applying a protective layer from a new tube. Once you have finished with the new product, you can continue with the older ones, but you should be aware that they might have lost their filtering properties. After a long winter and a spring that's still cool, let your skin get used to the sun again. Its first protective layer must, therefore, be the most effective. If you have sun protection products opened for over a year or non-opened sun products, which have passed their expiry date, you will, unfortunately, have to throw them away.
After the Sun...
Even if you give your skin the best possible sun protection, you still have to take care of it after exposure to the sun. To do this, select a soothing and moisturising lotion. Preferably made from natural ingredients, free of paraben or other harmful substances. Aloe Vera and Calendula constitute miraculous plant based after sun treatments. If you still manage to get sunburn. In this case, you must treat a burn as if it was a wound, using for example Flamigel. Ask your chemists for advice.
THE ESSENTIAL ACCESSORY: SPORTS SUNGLASSES Your eyes are also sensitive to the sun. It is therefore wise to buy a pair of good quality sunglasses. Always check the CE standard. It is divided into 4 categories indicating the level of protection. CE4 represents the highest level of protection. The suitability of sunglasses will depend on your face shape, the sport activity you do and the places where you mostly do your sport. Both the frame and lens must be suitable for movement, active use, whilst being resistant to sweat and minor shocks. So they must be sturdy, flexible, non-slip, and especially comfortable and lightweight to wear. Some sports require sunglasses that have a specific shape or modular glasses. For maximum protection against reflected glare from the water you can, for example, wear polarized lens that changes colour in the light and provides a contrasting image of the playing pitch or the ground, anti-fogging lens to prevent condensation, etc. There are plenty of options. Our team members will happily advise on the trying them out and the choice available.
Even the best sun cream there is cannot provide sufficient protection after several hours of surfing, bodyboarding or sailing. The sun's reflection on the surface of the water very quickly heightens its effects. With a UV sun protective T-shirt or wetsuit, you double the amount of time you can spend in the water. Getting a basic cotton T-shirt wet reduces its protective properties by as much as half. Photoprotector clothing is treated with a sun protection product and/or woven with a specific technique. In compliance with European standards, clothing displaying an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) greater than 30 "protects against UV rays" and those that display an ultraviolet protection factor greater than 40 are categorised as "Excellent UV Protection". They are marked EN 13758-2 40+.