It seems spring has come early this year with record-breaking temperatures over the past week. It’s the ideal time to go hiking and explore the great outdoors, but it’s essential to take the necessary precautions to avoid insect bites and prevent sun damage. With this in mind, we’ve created a list of the four important ways to protect your skin when hiking.
Avoid hiking during the warmest hours
The first thing to consider when you’re planning your hike is when to set off. We recommend hiking early in the morning or in the evening in order to limit your exposure when the sun is at its strongest. In the UK, this is usually between 11am and 3pm from March to October. If you can’t avoid hiking during the warmest hours, then you should take breaks throughout the day and spend some time in the shade. You should also make sure you stay hydrated by drinking at least two litres of water.
Use insect repellent
While it is common to get nasty mosquito bites in warmer countries such as Spain and Australia, it is still possible to get midges that irritate rather than harm us when hiking in the UK. You can choose between an insect repellent with DEET and a DEET-free version. Our DEET Free Insect Repellent Spray is specially formulated to give protection from mosquitoes, midges and biting insects for up to 5 hours. Those looking for a longer-lasting effect should opt for the formula containing DEET, which offers protection for up to 6 hours. DEET works by forming a vapour barrier that deters insects from coming into contact with the skin, but it can cause skin irritation and allergic reactions for some users, so it is not suitable for everyone.
Apply your sunscreen regularly
When it comes to sun safety during your hike, it’s not enough to simply remember to pack your sunscreen. If you’re using a regular sunscreen, such as our Press and Protect Sun Lotion, you will need to remember to re-apply it every two hours when you’re hiking to maintain a high level of protection. Alternatively, you could opt for one of our Once a Day products, which you would only need to apply 15 minutes before sun exposure for all-day protection.
Wear protective clothing
Aside from sunscreen, effective UV protective clothing can keep your skin safe from the sun by absorbing, blocking or reflecting UV radiation that causes sun damage. It’s also essential to wear a hat when hiking to protect your face and neck from the sun’s harmful rays. A cap provides some protection, but a sun hat is much better. It’s also good to invest in a reliable pair of sunglasses that are durable and offer 100 per cent protection from UV light.
It’s easy to forget things when you’re busy planning for a hike, but by following this simple advice, you can enjoy your day out, safe in the knowledge that your skin is adequately protected.