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Sun Protection Tips from France: How the French Avoid UV Rays

Ah, the French Riviera, where the sun kisses the sea and the locals stroll through sun-drenched streets with an air of effortless chic. But don’t let the allure of golden rays fool you; the French have mastered the art of sun protection in a way that enhances rather than compromises their elegant appearance.

This love affair with the sun does not come without its cautionary tales and dedication to preserving the integrity of their skin. I live in France and today I want to unravel the Gallic secrets of maintaining a youthful glow, all while standing under the ever-beaming Mediterranean sun.

Join me as we explore the products, practices, and philosophies that the French use to protect their skin, lessons we can all embrace as we seek to enjoy the sun safely.

Sun protection tips thomsenmichaela
@thomsenmichaela

Why the Sun is So Damaging

While the sun provides essential vitamin D and brings warmth to our days, its ultraviolet (UV) rays can be incredibly damaging to the skin. These rays penetrate the skin’s surface, leading to DNA damage, premature aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer.

UVA rays, in particular, can cause fine lines and wrinkles, while UVB rays are more associated with burns and skin reddening. The cumulative effect of daily sun exposure can lead to a host of skin problems that are not only cosmetic but can also affect overall health.

Basic Sun Protection Steps

Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays doesn’t have to be complicated. A combination of simple measures can make a significant difference.

These include seeking shade during peak sunlight hours (usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.), wearing protective clothing such as long sleeves and wide-brimmed hats, and using sunglasses that block UV rays.

Most importantly, a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher should be applied to all exposed skin, even on cloudy days or during winter months. Regular reapplication is essential, especially after swimming or sweating.

Face Sunscreen

The face is often the most exposed part of the body to the sun, and it requires specialized care. Facial skin is delicate and can be prone to sensitivity, so choosing a sunscreen designed specifically for the face is crucial.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios light fluid Face Sunscreen SPF 60

Look for products by French sunscreen brands that are oil-free, non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores), and contain ingredients like hyaluronic acid or niacinamide to support skin health. Applying sunscreen to the face daily, even when not spending extended time outdoors, helps prevent age spots, wrinkles, and other signs of sun damage.

Body Sunscreen

Protecting the rest of the body is equally important. A good body sunscreen should be broad-spectrum, water-resistant, and have an SPF of 30 or higher. It should be applied generously to all exposed areas, including the neck, arms, legs, and tops of feet.

La Roche-Posay Anthelios Melt In Milk Body Sunscreen

Don’t forget often-missed spots like the ears and back of the neck. Sunscreen lotions, sprays, or sticks are all viable options, and the best one for you will depend on personal preference and activity level. Remember to reapply at least every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating.

Hair and Scalp Sunscreen

While often overlooked, the hair and scalp also need protection from the sun. Prolonged sun exposure can lead to dry, brittle hair and a sunburned scalp. Specialized hair sunscreen products are available, which can shield the hair and scalp without weighing hair down or leaving it greasy. These often come in sprays or lightweight lotions. One such product is the Nuxe Sun Moisturizing Protectie Milk for Hair.

For additional protection, wearing a hat with a tight weave can protect both your hair and scalp, particularly if you have thinning hair or a part in your hair that exposes the scalp to the sun. Regular use of these protective measures can keep your hair healthy and your scalp comfortable, even during the sunniest days in France!


I hope these sun protection tips help you keep your skin healthy this summer!

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