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Burn Easily? Discover Our Best Practical Tips to Prevent Sunburn

how to prevent sunburn | irish pharmacy

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We all know that over-exposure to intense heat and light sources lead to a painful sunburn. While sunscreen is a simple method to prevent sunburn, it’s also vital to know and teach your children practical tips to reduce the chances of sunburn.

The ultraviolet rays emitted by the sunshine or any artificial source such as sunbeds can cause red, itchy, and hot spots on your skin. This happens because the Sun’s direct rays cause an acute inflammatory or infectious response of the skin. The mast cell mediators lead to inflammation damages the deeper layers of the skin. On the other hand, less intense or shorter-duration exposure to UVR leads to increased skin pigmentation. Various home remedies relieve minor sunburns, but more severe burns can take much longer to heal and lead to serious long-term health damage. Repeated or more intensified exposure causes permanent skin damage, rough & dark spots, or skin cancer. 

Why is it important to prevent sunburn?

There are two major types of ultraviolet rays from sunlight that damages any skin area: UVA and UVB. 

UVA rays can penetrate the skin that damages the middle layer of the skin or what we call ‘dermis.’ It contains the tissue layers with an elastic component keeping the stretchy factor of the skin.

On the other hand, the UVB remains only on the topmost layer of the skin. It causes burning and suntanning. Yet, it can cause skin cancer if your exposure sustains longer. Getting sunburn puts you in a much riskier situation of having melanoma later in life.

Melanin is the pigmented component of our skin that gives a dark color to our skin. Thus, darker skin means more melanin produced for skin protection against the UV rays of the sun. Melanin stops the damaged skin area from burning so easily but it does not prevent the harmful effects of UV rays. So that’s why it’s important and be aware of sun exposure regardless of your skin tone and use practical tips (not just depending on suncream) to prevent sunburn.

What are the rates & impact of sunburn & skin cancer in Ireland?

Ireland remains with the highest mortality rate in Europe for melanoma, with an average of 159 people dying of this disease yearly, according to the latest information. So whether you’re staying put or traveling abroad during the summer season, make sure to pack a reliable and effective sunscreen and follow our tips below. You can find trusted sunscreen brands on the Brennan’s Pharmacy website or in any of our retail stores. 

Those who catch sunburn tend to burn several times over their lifetimes. Two-thirds of adults reporting sunburns said they’d gotten sunburned more than once in the previous year. 

Sunburns were more common among men than women. Non-melanoma skin cancer is 46% higher in men than in women. Skin cancer rates are rare in children, but the damage that arises in the skin during childhood can cause skin cancer later in life.

Here are some of the best research findings published:

  • Melanoma may start to appear during the teenage years when you catch sunburn during childhood. 
  • Tanned skin is damaged skin, not healthy skin. Don’t believe the myths.
  • Most sun exposure inflicts the skin before a person turns 18. 

So you can see the importance of not only putting sunscreen on kids but also teaching them practical tips to help them prevent sunburn.

The Irish Cancer Society conducted a study that discovered the severity of Ultraviolet rays that shine across Ireland’s lands. Based on the study, the UV levels can cause severe damage to the skin from April to September.

What are the risk factors for sunburn?

Everyone is possibly at risk from excessive sun exposure, especially those with fair skin, blue eyes, freckles, and red or ginger hair. In addition, people with white skin have less melanin than those with darker skin, so they are at more risk of burning. 

A person may sunburn, even those who have a darker shade of skin despite having a higher level of melanin. In addition, people who work outdoors are at risk since the sun shines directly on their skin. 

How do you become sunburnt?

Sunburn happens when unprotected skin remains exposed for too long to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. As a result, the skin starts burning and begins to redden. And in severe circumstances, blisters may form. You can get sunburn in as little as fifteen minutes of exposing yourself to the sun.

What are the best practical tips to prevent sunburn?

The Sun Smart Code is a simple method to help you remember how to be sensible about protecting your skin in the summer season. While others welcome the beginning of summer with its warm weather and blue skies, it’s vital to remember the steps needed to stay safe and well in hot weather. 

Here’s what you do to follow the Sun Smart Code:

1. Spend some time in the shade

A person can avoid catching sunburn to avoid the sun’s direct heat and spend time working under the shade. It gives more than 75% protection from the ultraviolet rays of the sun. You don’t need to stay in the shade all day. But you should take regular breaks from the sun and avoid long periods in direct sunlight.

2. Cover Up

Choose the best clothing to cover the exposed areas of the skin as much as possible. Avoid heavy or dark clothing which will be hard to endure if it’s particularly hot. But light, bright and long-sleeved or long-legged clothing will help to prevent sunburn. Again, taking breaks and covering up intermittently will also help. Wear a hat to prevent sunburn on your face, neck, and head.

3. Wear Sunglasses 

  • Use a wrap-around type of sunglasses to give you the maximum amount of UV protection. Check the tags to ensure that you are getting the right amount of eye protection. 
  • EN1836 (European standard) and BS27241987 (British Standard) are the most recommended sunglasses for all ages and gender. 

4. Use sunscreen 

  • When in Ireland, wear sunscreen starting from April to the end of September to reduce your risk of skin cancer.
  • Try to use a sunscreen with a broader spectrum to ensure maximum protection against UVA and UVB with a minimum amount of 30 SPF. 
  • Apply all skin protection products for at least 20 minutes before heading out under the sun. 
  • Be careful in exposing your thin skin areas to the sun as it burns easier.
  • An average adult needs at least 35ml of sunscreen to cover up the skin areas exposed to the sun.
  • Use a tablespoon to check the amount of sunscreen for arms, neck, ears, or even your face.
  • Reapply an adequate amount of sunscreen once every two hours if you work heavily under the sun.
  • Verify the product’s use-by date and store it below 30°C.
  • Choose a water-resistant type of sunscreen if you sweat heavily or if you are engaged in watersports.
  • Always check for the UVA logo on the bottle.

5. Know the UV Index

When the UV Index reaches three or more, you’re at greater risk of skin damage that can lead to skin cancer. In these cases, make sure you are following the steps above.

Important Steps to Help Kids Prevent Sunburn

Here are some things that you can do as a parent/guardian to protect your kids, especially during summer. To reduce the chances of your kids catching sunburn:

  • Ensure that the babies aged less than 12 months below stay under the shade frequently. 
  • Teach them the SunSmart code and how important it is to follow it all of the time, even if it’s cloudy.
  • Despite the cloudy days, 90% of the ultraviolet rays from the sun can still penetrate.

These steps are important if your children have any of the following risk factors:

  • Pale or freckled skin that does not tan or burns before it tans
  • Red or fair hair
  • Blue, green, or grey eyes
  • A large number of moles

Some recommended products

Here are some of the recommended products that fights against the sun burn.


Nivea Protect & Moisture Sun Lotion combines Nivea’s Sun advanced protection expertise with all the care of NIVEA for soft, protected skin. The product is non-sticky, so the skin can easily absorb it. Thus, it reduces the risk of sun allergies.


Ambre Solaire milk sensitive SPF50 is the highest SPF protection for UV sensitive skin against sunburn and skin damage; Ambre Solaire UV sensitive range is hypo-allergenic and perfume-free, ideal for sensitive skin.


The product has an ultra-hydrating formula that protects you against the drying effects of the sun. The formula is enriched with sustainably sourced shea butter with advanced photostable UVA UVB protection.


It offers 30 times your child’s natural protection, preventing burning and keeping your little ones safe in the sun. It is formulated with Mexoryl XL, a patented filtration system that shields against UV rays by absorbing them. 

Also, it helps prevent burning and premature aging that can occur in adulthood due to sun exposure. Finally, it’s perfect for delicate skin.


Garnier Ambre Solaire Dry Protection Mist SPF20 has an ultra-light, non-greasy, and non-sticky texture formula. As a result, your skin absorbs it quickly without leaving white marks. 

Sprays at any angle. Dry mist offers continuous diffusion at all ages to protect all parts of the body quickly and easily.


This ultra-light protection mist absorbs quickly, without leaving white marks on skin or clothes. In addition, it gives a bare skin feeling that is non-greasy and non-sticky. 

UVA/UVB filters conform 100% to European recommendations. The product protects any person against the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays.


Protect your children’s delicate skin against sunburn using Caldesun Factor 50 spray. With a combination of micro-pigments and organic filters, this water-resistant spray is suitable for sensitive skin and can be applied easily, instantly protecting their skin.


A pocket-sized bottle of sun moisturizing lotion that nourishes and protects your skin with maximum broad-spectrum sun protection. The formula uses strong UVA and UVB filters to shield the skin from sun damage. 

The product is packed with vitamin E and moisturizers for hydration and intensive care for your skin.


NIVEA SUN Moisturising Sun Sprays combine NIVEA SUN’s advanced protection expertise with all the care of NIVEA for soft, protected skin. Immediate protection from UV rays. 

The product has an enhanced UVA/UVB filter system with long-lasting moisturization and water-resistant components. 

If you have any questions do not hesitate to contact any of the Brennan’s Pharmacy team through our website or our stores directly.

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Got any questions? Need some Advice?

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Abigail Doherty | Buncrana | Brennans Pharmacy
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