Is Aftersun Worth The Investment?

aftersun

We’re all more than aware of the importance of wearing SPF and most of us are pretty good at slathering it on when we’re relaxing on a sun lounger on holiday. It’s the day-to-day application that some of us fall short with. Yet, with the UK experiencing one of the hottest summers in years and the record heatwave showing no sign of abating, wearing SPF every day has never been more essential.

If you’ve been caught out you’ll be well associated with that scorched, tight feeling too much sun can have on your skin. Enter your trusted bottle of aftersun. Brands often tout the cooling, soothing benefits of their aftersun, but is there any difference between them and your regular body lotion?

In a nutshell, yes. “Often traditional body lotions contain oil which create a barrier on the skin and trap the heat, causing prolonged burning,” says Dr Maryam Zamani, Oculoplastic Surgeon and Aesthetic Doctor.  “Aftersun on the other hand is a lighter cream or gel, which does not create a barrier and keeps the area underneath hydrated.”

Most aftersun formulas, including Coola Ecocert Radical Recovery After-Sun Lotion, £30, are also packed full of aloe vera, which is renowned for its cooling and soothing powers. While there isn’t a huge amount of scientific data to show that aloe vera is one of the best soothers for sun burn, almost every skin expert recommends using the ingredient for this purpose. Although, as Dr Zamani says, it’s better to opt for light lotions or gel formulas to allow the heat to escape as the aloe soothes your skin.

What if you’re allergic or sensitive to aloe vera? Fear not, social media has the answer and it’s an unusual one. This summer one Instagram user’s post went viral after she revealed her trick of using a menthol based shaving foam to help alleviate her husband’s sun burnt back. While it’s not a technique we’ve tried and tested, it’s worth exploring if you’re unable to use aloe vera as it’s likely the menthol will cool your skin and the foam will be incredibly lightweight.

Whichever approach you take, remember it’s a good sign when your skin starts to itch as it means it’s repairing itself. But, make sure you wear plenty of sun cream the next day and seek shade where possible.

How To Soothe And Prevent Insect Bites

Insect Bites

We thought it was coming to an end, but the heatwave is set to last through until August. Water companies have put a proposed hosepipe ban in place for next month and the sales of fans has gone through the roof. While most of us have been enjoying the warmer climate, it has come with some downsides. This week, the NHS revealed that they have received twice the amount of 111 calls regarding insect bites compared to this time last year. Why? The warm, sticky weather is the perfect breeding ground for horse flies, midges, ants, you name it.

“Horseflies like hot weather in general, so they may become more active around breeding sites and farms in hot weather,” Dr Daniel Whitmore of the Natural History Museum’s insect division told the BBC. “Obviously, by wearing fewer clothes in hot weather we expose ourselves to bites more and become more attractive to the flies.”

Usually you feel a bite before you see it. Give an itchy patch 15 to 20 minutes and a hard, red lump tends to develop. Most bites tend to be nothing more than incredibly itchy, unsightly and irritating, but experts have warned that horsefly bites can become infected if not looked after properly.

If you want to prevent insect bites altogether, plan ahead and buy some vitamin B1 supplements. Studies have shown that this particular vitamin acts as a natural repellent by encouraging your skin to produce an odour that puts insects off. Don’t worry though, this smell isn’t detectable by humans. It’s also a non-toxic option to deet sprays. Shabir recommends taking one Vitamin B1 500mg, £21.99 by Solgar Vitamins, every day two weeks before your holiday and while you’re away.

For those who haven’t been as organised and are fed up of being bitten by the pesky insects, look to Mrs White’s Unstung Hero Mosquito Repellent, £20. It’s a non-toxic spray that offers instant protection from midges. To soothe and de-itch existing bites, invest in Thyme Out, £18. This insanely talented tonic helps to soothe insect bites and stings, as well as ease prickly heat and sunburn. It’s a summer essential and belongs in every bathroom cabinet. Plus, it also comes with a complimentary travel spray, so you can put it in your handbag or hand luggage.

Unsurprisingly, the heatwave has also seen a rise in cases of sunburn across the UK. To help ease your sunburn and other issues that arise in the hot weather, read Shabir’s guide to The Most Common Holiday Concerns Solved.