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8 Do’s and Don’ts of Sun Protection

Use these tips to protect your skin from the sun this summer.

One of the top tips to protect skin from sun is to apply plenty of sun screen, and reapply it frequently.

Feeling the warmth of sunlight on our skin is one of the simple joys of life. In moderation, it even has benefits like boosting our body’s production of vitamin D and serotonin (the happy hormone). However, too much sun can cause sunburns, skin damage, and even skin cancer.

To make sure you aren’t overdoing it, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with a number of important tips to protect your skin from the sun. 

Here are some of the do’s and don’ts of sun protection to keep in mind this summer as you soak up the rays:

  1. Do: Apply sunscreen everywhere
  2. Don’t: Forget to reapply sunscreen
  3. Do: Stay hydrated
  4. Don’t: Rely solely on spray sunscreen
  5. Do: Wear sun-protective clothing
  6. Don’t: Overdo sun exposure
  7. Do: Seek shade
  8. Don’t: Forget to monitor your skin

Let’s learn more about these eight tips to protect skin from sun.

Do: Apply sunscreen everywhere

When you’re planning on going out in the sun and want to protect your skin, you should put sunscreen on every exposed area of your body — not just your face. That usually includes your neck, chest, arms, and legs, plus often-forgotten areas like the backs of your hands, the tops of your feet (if wearing sandals), and your ears! Other than covering up, this is the most reliable way to ensure that your skin is protected from the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.

Don’t: Forget to reapply sunscreen

It would be nice if applying sunscreen once was enough, but unfortunately, it should be an ongoing task if you have an entire day of outdoor activities planned. As a general rule of thumb, you should reapply sunscreen every two hours or more often if you are swimming or sweating heavily (even if it is labeled as “water resistant”). 

Do: Stay hydrated

Hydration is key to staying healthy in the summer heat, and it also plays a role in sun protection. Drinking plenty of water helps your body regulate its temperature and prevents sunstroke, thanks to the ability of water to absorb and transfer heat. The water inside your body essentially moves the sun’s heat away from your organs and towards the skin, where it can be evaporated as sweat!

If you need to up your water intake, check out these seven tips for drinking more water and staying hydrated.

Don’t: Rely solely on spray sunscreen

Spray sunscreen can be convenient and easy to apply, but it should not be your only form of sun protection. Because it’s typically clear as it goes on, the transparent spray is difficult to apply evenly in a way that completely covers the skin. Plus, you need a lot of spray to get enough protection, not just a quick spritz. Often, you won’t realize you’ve left some areas unprotected until they’re sunburned later! To ensure full coverage, use a sunscreen lotion as your primary form of sun protection, and save the spray for touch-ups.

Do: Wear sun-protective clothing

If you’re tired of going through what seems like a gallon of sunscreen a week, consider looking at your clothing choices too! As long as the material is light and breathable, long sleeves and long pants can be a smart and comfortable option for sun protection, even on hot days. Also, wear a wide-brimmed hat (much better than a baseball cap!) and sunglasses to shield your face, ears, and eyes.

Don’t: Overdo sun exposure

The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.. If possible, try to limit your time in direct sunlight during these hours. If you must be outside during this time, make sure to take extra precautions like the ones above, but do your best to avoid making afternoons in the sun a frequent habit.

Do: Seek shade

As the sunniest season approaches, it’s time to start testing your “shade radar!” When you’re spending time outdoors, where is the closest shade? How can you design your outdoor spaces so you have plenty of shady areas to relax in? Trees and umbrellas provide great protection against the sun, and they can make being outdoors safer and more enjoyable.

Don’t: Forget to monitor your skin

No matter how religiously you follow these tips to protect skin from sun exposure, it is important to check your skin regularly for any visible signs of damage. Look for any changes in the color or texture of your skin, as well as moles or freckles that may have changed in size or shape. Regularly see a dermatologist if you can, so they can help monitor your skin health as well.

By remaining mindful of your sun exposure and taking these simple steps, you can protect yourself and your skin throughout the seasons. If you plan to beat the heat by taking a refreshing dip in the pool, lake, or ocean, review our swimming safety tips next!