How to guides

How to…protect your skin on holiday

coconut beach

I don’t need to lecture about protecting the skin on holidays – it’s simple, it’s a fact and it will not only protect your skin from burning, but ageing and also from skin cancer. In 2010, around 100,000 people were diagnosed with skin cancer in the UK. More than 12,000 of these cancers were malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer. Each year, around 2,200 people die from skin cancer.

How to protect your skin…

Sun damage doesn’t just happen when you’re on holiday in the sun. It can happen when you’re not expecting it, for example when you go for a walk or sit in your garden. Here are the SMART messages from the NHS.


  • Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm.
  • Make sure you never burn.
  • Aim to cover up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses.
  • Remember to take extra care with children.
  • Then use factor 15+ sunscreen.

Report mole changes or unusual skin growths to your GP.

Always take special care of children’s skin. The best way to do this is to cover them up and keep them in the shade. For more info see the NHS

This year’s summer holiday is in Sitges, along the coast from Barcelona. I keep it simple and use an SPF 20 and a balm for my lips, nose and ears. Re-apply after being in the water and don’t forget extremities – noses, ears and lips burn too.


ambre solaire

Garnier Ambre Solaire Medium SPF 20

Every year this is my sun protection cream of choice. It’s not greasy, dries quickly and is designed to be water resistant (but I re-apply after being in the water). It contains Mexoryl SX that protects against UVB induced skin damage and UVA rays that cause premature ageing.  Enriched with Vitamin C it is hydrating and helps stops the drying effects of the sun.

Recommendations for use:

• Apply 15 minutes before going into the sun, reapply when in the sun and then every 1-2 hours and always after swimming or towelling
• Apply generously using approximately 2-3 tablespoons full of product for the entire body.

Price: this varies wildly and depends on special offers. It can retail for over £12, I have found it as cheap as £5 in ASDA. It pays to shop around.


Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Swivel Stick SPF 30

I won’t be without this one as my lips burn easily and my ears stick out a bit – so they catch the sun. Use it liberally on the nose, ears and lips – in fact anywhere you want. Great for the top of the head if your hair is thinning a bit too. It soothes lips if they have been burnt. Small enough to carry in your pocket for days out exploring the tourist sights and great to have at home in the city.

It’s based on the Original ‘solid’ Formula – Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula and contains the benefits of pure cocoa butter enriched with Vitamin E – this is excellent for smoothing dry or damaged skin on the go.

What I have recently discovered is that the product contains 0% water, it does not freeze, so can be used on the ski slopes over the winter months too. Also ideal to help relieve dry, cracked heels.

And it’s keenly priced at under £3.

You can get it for £2.69 on