Safe in the Sun
As with most treks, hiking the GR20 will see you spending all day exposed to the elements, including sunshine. Here are the top tips for staying safe…
UPF: The Low Down. Our first line of defence against the sun is clothing, but not just any old clothing will do. When looking at outdoor clothing, pay attention to its Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). Specifically designed to rate the sun protection of textiles, UPF is to clothing what SPF is to sunscreen. A UPF rating is based on the content, weight, colour and construction of the fabric and indicates just how much UV can pass through the garment. It’s advisable to opt for a garment with a UPF rating of at least 30 (blocking 96- 97.4% of UV rays) to ensure effective sun protection. A much-loved, well- worn T-shirt typically offers less UV protection than UPF5.
Lighten Up. The more skin you cover up the better, but covering up in a hot environment does have drawbacks, such as overheating, so make sure garments not only offer UV protection but are breathable and well vented. Go for a hat that offers decent coverage, plus a long-sleeved top and airy trousers.
Midday? Stay Away. Try to avoid being out in the midday sun. Starting early and resting at the hottest part of the day will not only help protect you from the sun, it will also make your activity easier going.
Time to Reflect. UV light can reflect off surfaces such as water and snow, hitting your skin twice and increasing the intensity of the exposure. Counteract this by covering up as much as possible and using sunscreen with a SPF of at least 30. Malenoma skin cancer cells are most frequently found on the ears and the back of the hands and forearms; pay particular attention to these often neglected areas.