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Sun Day Best

Who doesn’t love a tan?Who doesn’t love a tan? But that gorgeous allover gold needs to be approached with care as doctors and skin specialists are fast to tell us. You can layer on highfactor protection creams, treat yourself to an instant-tan spray, or invest in a gizmo that tells you when it is time to take to the shade.

your smartphone can advise on exactly the right amount of sunscreen to put on The sun is out around 300 days of the year in the Algarve, making it one of the sunniest regions in Europe. That alone is a major attractions for residents and holidaymakers who want to get away from from greyer, gloomier northern climes, but it poses a danger too – overexposure can easily result in sunburn or, far worse still, skin cancer. The danger comes from ultraviolet light, the invisible high frequency radiation beyond the top of the visible spectrum. UV has the capability to heat up the skin causing sunburn, and damage the DNA which may lead to cancers in the future. Avoiding skin damage used to mean dressing up like Empire-builders with solar topees for men and wide-brimmed floaty hats for women.

Nowadays, however, your smartphone can advise on exactly the right amount of sunscreen to put on and even when it might be a good idea to go inside for a bit to minimise the risks. The latest NHS advice takes a very safety-first approach based on recent research. In the UK in summer you are advised to seek shade between the hours of 11am and 3pm, wear UV-absorbent clothes and a hat that shades the face and neck - as well as using a high-quality sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 on all exposed skin. If you are sunbathing, this means about a shot glass full of cream applied evenly all over. At the most basic level, most weather forecasting services show predicted levels of UV light. These are useful but are not precise enough to be more than a general guide. In areas of high UV such as the Algarve, specialist UV prediction apps can give you a better idea of when you need to slather on the factor 50, when you need to apply a second coat and even when you can relax and let your skin breathe.

"Once, we sat in the sun for hours, doused in olive oil to get a max tan.

Luckily we have seen the light and are taking proper precautions..."

Worth considering
UV protection apps take lots of meteorological factors into account, including the predicted cloud cover, the height of the sun and the time of day. And they also allow you to enter your skin type so it can adjust for people blessed with particularly sensitive skins such as redheads. A very smart UV protection app is UVlens from New Zealand-based artificial intelligence developers Spark64. It uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to provide a 48-hour forecast for UV levels in your area from international weather data, and matches that to your skin type. The display is clear and easy to understand, and includes an alarm that tells you when you need to apply more sunscreen or go indoors. It is also very reassuring when it thinks you are safe. UVlens is available free on Android and iOS.

If you want more information, the Wolfram Sun Exposure app gives you everything you need to know in the form of tremendously scientific-looking charts, though as Wolfram is well-known for its research in computational technology this is hardly surprising. The app includes a four-day forecast plus data for the previous 24 hours, which is helpful if you are going to spend time on a beach so remote there is no mobile phone coverage, or go sailing for a few days. Wolfram Sun Exposure is available for iOS for less than one euro. Up to six people can share the app so the whole family can be covered. If a mere prediction of UV levels is not enough, you can monitor the actual UV levels you experience hour by hour with a neat clip-on sensor called My Skin Track UV from French skincare company La Roche-Posay. The sensor works with an iPhone app and needs no battery - just bring the phone close together and the latest data is automatically transferred. The app also collects local information on pollen levels, pollution and humidity from the web and uses all this information to produce a personalised skincare regimen and tips for improving your skincare habits. My Skin Track UV is available in Portugal from apple. com at €64.95.

Article by kind permission of AlgarvePLUS Magazine.  CLICK HERE to READ MORE.

Sun Exposure apps

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