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Protection from the reflection

31 July 2015
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We all know to slap on the suncream if we’re out in the sun, but did you know UV rays are all around us and can reflect off surfaces even when the sun isn’t shining? Boots UK Suncare Expert Clare O’Connor explains:  “UV rays radiate from the sun in two ways – directly, in a straight line or indirectly, when they’re reflected off surfaces.  Both can have an impact on the health of our skin and eyes so it’s important to think about daily UV protection, even if you’re not in direct sunlight – especially as some surfaces are more reflective of UV than others.”
Wherever you are this summer, protection from UV has never been simpler, thanks to these tips from Clare O’Connor:
1.You need more than your brolly when it rains…

Sand, concrete and even grass all reflect UV but if any of these surfaces become wet the amount reflected can double.  This doesn’t mean you need to double your sun protection, but it does mean you need to be thinking about UV protection all the time, especially as UV can still penetrate your skin on cloudy days and through glass.  Choose a daily moisturiser with SPF and UVA protection to help keep you protected from incidental, every day exposure but if you’re out in the sun for long periods of time remember a full sun cream product with high SPF is essential.” 

NEW No7 Early Defence Day Cream, £19.50
, contains No7’s new and most effective patent pending daily protection technology, “Double Defence”, a powerful blend of anti-oxidants and MMP inhibitors that in combination with SPF 15 and No7’s unbeatable 5* UVA technology gives skin advanced daily protection from the sun and environmental stress to help it look younger for longer.

2. Heading to the Med? Whitewashed villas can increase UV exposure…

“White is the most reflective colour so in countries like Greece where white buildings are plentiful the UV reflection is particularly strong” explains Clare.  “As well as increasing the UV around you, it also means you are still likely to be affected in the shade as UV rays are reflected in shaded spots. Of course on holiday you’re more likely to have sun protection on already, but remember to keep it topped up throughout the day even if you’re a shade-seeker.

Ensure you are fully protected from UV rays with the Boots Soltan Protect & Moisturise (£4.50) range which provides long-lasting moisturisation whilst still ensuring the highest UVA protection*. This light and easily absorbed lotion has been specially formulated to keep skin looking smooth and soft, helping to reduce dryness and prevent peeling.  

3. Water (and UV) all around…

Water is a highly reflective surface – in fact UV rays are reflected by as much as 30%, so if you’re a water sports fan ensure you are protected with a wetsuit as well as sun protection. If you’re spending the day by the pool or sea, you’ll also be exposed to more UV especially as you are likely to be getting wet, so it is essential you reapply at least every two hours.  UV rays also pass through water (50% of UVA and UVB pass though the upper 50cm of water), so for little ones playing in the shallows ensure you use a waterproof lotion and re-apply regularly.”

Boots Soltan Baby Lotion SPF 50+ (200ml, £6.00) is a paediatrician approved suncream specially formulated for babies' vulnerable skin with no added perfume colour or alcohol.  For active holiday makers, try Boots Soltan Active Ultra Resistance Suncare Protection Stick SPF 50+ (25g, £3.50) to provide ultra-protection from sun, wind and water. With extra water protection, this is ideal for use with extreme sports.  

4. Smart phones needs smart sunglasses…

“Hundreds of people will be lying on beaches, in parks and in their gardens this year on their smartphones or tablets.  UV rays bounce off these glass screens and while the surface may be small, remember that as you are holding it close to your eyes you are increasing your exposure to this reflection.  Our eyes are up to ten times more sensitive to UV damage than our skin so whatever you’re reading or playing, make sure you are wearing sunglasses with 100% UV protection to keep you safe.  Giving your phone a rest while you sunbathe?  Remember that sand and grass reflect UV too so you’ll still need those sunnies!

All Boots Opticians sunglasses have 100% UVA and UVB protection, offering a higher level of UV protection to the eye by filtering out harmful UV rays on both sides of the lens – not just the front surface, so you can be confident you have all round UV protection for your eyes this summer. Additionally if you wear glasses, all Boots Opticians lenses come with UV protection as standard – providing every day protection from UV for spectacle wearers.

- ENDS –

For even more expert comments, interviews or product information, call the Boots Summer Team on 020 7025 6657 or email us at

Notes to Editors

  • *Within relevant SPF Groups. Protection will depend on the SPF ratings
  • **Always follow safe sun guidelines by minimising your time in the sun, seek shade and cover-up. Remember children are especially vulnerable to the sun. Use hats and sun-suits for added protection. For more information seek advice on back of product.

About Boots UK 
Boots UK (, the UK’s leading pharmacy-led health and beauty retailer, is part of the Retail Pharmacy International Division of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (Nasdaq: WBA), the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise.  With 2,511* stores in the UK, Boots UK is committed to providing exceptional customer and patient care, be the first choice for pharmacy and healthcare and offer innovative 'only at Boots' exclusive products such as the UK’s leading skincare brand No7, all delivered with the great value customers love. Created over 165 years ago, the Boots brand is still at the heart of the communities it serves.

*As at 31 May 2015 excluding equity method investments.
Notes to editors:

  • *Within relevant SPF Groups. Protection will depend on the SPF ratings
  • **Always follow safe sun guidelines by minimising your time in the sun, seek shade and cover-up. Remember children are especially vulnerable to the sun. Use hats and sun-suits for added protection. For more information seek advice on back of product.


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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on

*Figures accurate as of 30 November 2023