How to Stay Sun-Safe This Summer

spf summer sunscreen

After being cooped up all winter, and even spring, we can finally spend our days joyfully engaging in outdoor activities in the summer sunshine. Posting up at the beach all day in your bathing suit can feel rather tempting but it’s important to remember that prolonged exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to a bunch of consequences. For example, one could get a painful sunburn that leads to lasting skin damage and premature aging, or increase their chances of developing skin cancer. Even though it’s nice to have tanned, sun-kissed skin, the risk is simply not worth it.

In this blog post, we’ll explore various ways that you can stay sun-safe this summer.

Tips for choosing and applying sunscreen

Lathering your entire body and face with sunscreen is a simple yet effective way to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Because you’ll be using your sunscreen multiple times a day in the summer, it’s wise to find a formula that is made with natural ingredients and that you feel comfortable wearing. There are few things worse than sunscreen that is too goopy or too chalky. When searching for the perfect sunscreen, consider these tips:

  • Make sure that titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are the only active ingredients. These are both classified as effective and safe and will protect your delicate skin from becoming the colour of a tomato after an afternoon in the sunshine.
  • Ensure it provides broad-spectrum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. These rays differ in how they impact your skin, but they both are considered very harmful.
  • Read through the list of ingredients and don’t purchase the sunscreen if it contains any parabens or endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) such as oxybenzone and octinoxate. Any ingredient that has a name that ends with “paraben” like methylparaben and isoparaben should be avoided.
  • Pay attention to the SPF (sun protection factor). The SPF that’s right for you depends on how easily your skin burns. If you burn easily, opt for SPF 50 or 60. If you plan on spending an equal amount of time in the sunshine and shade and don’t burn easily, you might be able to get away with an SPF of 30 or 40. It’s always a smart idea to wear a higher SPF on your face to protect against premature aging and skin cancer.
  • If you plan to spend your summer swimming in a lake, river, or ocean, make sure you select a clean sunscreen that is water-resistant. But even with water-resistant formulas, you should reapply sunscreen after getting out of the water.
  • For those who have problematic skin and battle with clogged pores and acne, a non-comedogenic sunscreen can help keep your skin clear.

Other ways you can stay safe in the sun

In addition to slathering sunscreen all over yourself every few hours, there are other ways you can ensure that you’re not heading home with a sunburn at the end of the day. Check out these other helpful sun safety tips:

  • Wearing protective clothing that has UV protection built-in or layer up with linen fabrics. When you aren’t swimming, toss on a linen beach cover-up to protect your skin from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Linen is a fairly breathable fabric so you won’t get too hot when wearing it.
  • Don’t be afraid to take a break from the sun and move into the shade. If there’s no shade nearby, consider bringing a large umbrella or tent that can keep you cool.
  • When spending all day outdoors in the summer heat, it’s key that you stay hydrated. This way, you won’t come down with heat stroke or heat exhaustion, two conditions that are incredibly unenjoyable. It’s recommended that you drink one cup of water every 15 to 20 minutes when you’re hanging out in the sun.
  • Avoid the sun’s peak hours. If you’re going hiking or to the beach, look up the daily UV ray forecast on the Internet before choosing when to meet up with your friends. Peak hours are typically between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. This is a surefire way to avoid getting a sunburn that will be painful and peeling for days to come.
  • Take a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses with you everywhere you go. These will keep your face and eyes protected from the sun’s harmful rays.

Even though the summer sun provides us with longer days and ample vitamin D, practicing safe-sun measures will keep you healthy for years to come.

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This blog post is part of a paid partnership with all brands mentioned. All opinions and information shared in this post is our own interpretation of a trusted source.

How to Stay Sun-Safe This Summer was originally published in Think Dirty on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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