We all love a good sunbathe, whether it's on the beach or beside the pool. Nothing feels quite so lovely and warm as those glorious rays shining down on your skin! But, we all also know about the dangers of too much sunshine, from an unattractive and painful burn to the much more serious risk of skin cancer.
Of course, if you're heading out to the beach you should definitely be packing a good sunscreen, but sometimes you need more protection than just that - especially if you're planning to stay there all day. Covering up doesn't need to mean losing your beach chic though - if you know what to wear, you'll actually end up looking more stylish than wearing your swimwear alone!
From swimwear shapes to cover-up colours, here are our wardrobe recommendations to keep your skin safe when you hit that sun lounger...
Swimwear With Added Coverage
Swimwear doesn't have to be skimpy to be sexy! Considered swapping your usual triangle top and tie-sides for a one-piece or a set with a high-waisted bottom. High necklines are very in right now too, and look absolutely fabulous whilst protecting the delicate skin of your décolletage (because who wants burnt cleavage?).
A bikini or swimsuit with extra-wide straps, or even short sleeves, is also a great way to cover up an area that's super prone to burning - your shoulders.
Shop here: Brown bikini with wide shoulder straps
Shop here: Aloha bikini with cap sleeves
Shop here: Crop top and high-waisted bottoms bikini set
A Showstopping Cover-Up
Adamant you want to wear an itsy bitsy bikini? Make sure you give your skin a break every now and then by throwing a chic cover-up over the top. From sarongs and kaftans to flowing beach dresses or a simple shorts-and-tee set, there are plenty of different options to suit your personal style.
Thicker fabrics will of course block more light (and therefore more harmful UV light) from getting through, but when it's hot you don't always want to wear something heavy. If you're choosing a sheer or lightweight cover-up, you can still add an extra dash of skin-protection by choosing a darker colour. It will absorb more of the UV, so that less of it reaches your skin.
Shop here: Diva long cover-up in black
Shop here: Red floral kimono robe
Shop here: Black leaf beach dress
A Pair of Super-Sized Shades
UV light damages your eyes' retinas and can lead to cataracts in the long term, so a good pair of sunglasses is an absolute must! Plus not only do they protect your eyesight, they protect your skin too.
The skin around your eyes is particularly thin, which makes it easy to damage. The bigger your sunnies, the more of that delicate around-the-eye skin they'll be shading from the sun! Sunglasses also mean no need to squint and frown into the light - if you go to the beach often, this can make a big difference in how early or late you develop crow's feet and forehead wrinkles!
Shop here: Retro round sunglasses with UV400 protection
A Big, Floppy Hat
Basal cell carcinoma, the most common form of skin cancer (or any cancer, for that matter), is most often found on the head or neck - places we often forget about when we're applying sunscreen.
If you have a parting in your hair, you've probably managed to burn your scalp along it at some point and then had a few days of painful hair brushing, followed by dandruff-like flakes when the sunburn peeled off. So yeah, no thanks! If you don't fancy spraying oily sunscreen into your hair to protect your scalp, then a sun hat is the answer.
Any hat is better than nothing, but to really up the sun-protection factor go for the biggest, most wide-brimmed hat you can find. If it's big enough to cast your face, shoulders and/or neck in its shade, then those areas will be protected too. Plus, a floppy beach hat is just super chic!
Shop at Boohoo: Alice straw hat
Shop at White Stuff: Crochet hat with pom-poms
Shop at House of Fraser: Floppy white beach hat
We hope you've found this post useful, and that it's shown you that you can be both stylish and sun-safe at the same time!
Here's one last tip - if you want to be really careful with your skin in the sun, avoid the beach or pool during the middle of the day and head down there early morning or late afternoon instead. The sun will be weaker, plus you'll have more space to yourself - perfect if you want to take some photos to show off your chic new look on Instagram.