Beauty columnist Kerry Harvey shares advice for getting a healthy glow from the sun - the safe way.

Finally, a burst of fabulous much needed sunshine to get us in the mood for Summer.  It’s a delight to see shorts, dresses and some very milky white legs, and we know how much us Irish love to catch a few freckles when we get a long-awaited few days of glorious sunshine and heat!

Bearing that in mind, as our skin isn’t used to being aired out, or to see the sun as much as our European neighbours, here’s some tips to keep in mind for a fuss free safe few days in this divine weather!

Catching 10 minutes of healthy daylight per day is recommended to maintain a healthy amount of vitamin D which our bodies need for healthy bones and teeth and a healthy immune system!  Many of us lack vitamin D due to our cold, dark Irish winters.

Be sure to apply your SPF (even in winter) to keep your skin protected from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. These rays not only speed up the ageing process but over exposure can even cause skin cancer.

An SPF of 15 is recommended during winter and an SPF of 30+ is recommended to tan safely in the Summer sun – Skincare specialists are now recommending an SPF of 50 all year round – whether you’re gardening, walking or simply soaking up the rays, you’ll still get a tan but safely by wearing a good quality SPF 30+

Nowadays, SPF can be found in everything from your moisturisers, to foundations. Regardless of the time of year, I tend to keep a devoted SPF on hand to cover more bases than just my face – I’ll apply to my face, neck and also the backs of my hands plus any other area’s that are exposed.

In summer be sure to cover all exposed parts of your body, especially any moles, age spots, larger freckles or the likes.  If you see any changes in the appearance of any of these, be sure to have your GP check those out! It could save you a more serious hospital visit in the long run!

Hydrate – when you’re out and about in the sunshine, be sure to stay hydrated!

Remember the days of running around the beach and devouring the made-up bottle of warm orange cordial and a few sneaky custard creams from the boot of your aunties car?

Whether you love a glass of water, or prefer something with a bit of flavour, drinking 8 glasses of water per day, is normal (on a regular day) so be sure to up your intake and stay thirst free in the sun and especially in the heat!

Keeping the body hydrated not only kills the thirst in your mouth but fills your skin cells with fluid which is much needed, especially if you’ve gotten too much sun and rehydrates you with the fluid you’ve lost whilst sweating – it’s very important to be hydrated to aid and regulate the temperature in your body!

Getting 1-2 hours of sunshine is more than enough and remember to avoid the sun between the peak hours of 10 am to 3 pm when the UV light is at it’s strongest! This is an important note for everyone to bear in mind, but especially important with children’s skincare!

Hydrate your skin – drinking water or flavoured fluids will keep you hydrate on the inside but some attention to your skin on the outside is also a must! Use an ‘aftersun lotion’ to add much-needed hydration, not only to sunburned skin but even to skin that’s seen some sunshine!  For those of you that may have gotten a little red faced, a product with aloe vera will soothe sunburn!

Using these tips as a guideline and not staying out too long in the sun will ensure a healthy glow.

We all love to see the sun in Ireland but to avoid pre-mature ageing and other nastier results from over-exposure why not enjoy the sun from a shaded area, and fake your tan with some false tan.

Use your SPF every day, winter or summer and in those sunnier hotter days, getting a fresh speckle of freckles safely is easily and more safely done with an early morning or evening walk in the sun!  Enjoy the sunshine folks! K x