For the beach lovers out there, summer is synonym with holidays and sun exposure. While spending time in the sun has its benefits—that vitamin D!—, it’s important to be aware of its risks too. Excess sun exposure can cause premature skin aging and dark spots and hyperpigmentation, not to mention sunburn and, of course, skin cancer. Prevention is key when it comes to sun exposure. Minimize unnecessary risks, and you will be able to make your summer much, much safer. In order to help you make the best of your summer holidays, we are sharing our best sun protection tips below.
Enjoy the sun, and stay safe!
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Avoid sun exposure in the hours of peak sun intensity
Sun intensity is greater in the middle of the day, particularly between 10am and 4pm. If at all possible, avoid being out in the sun during these times—even on cloudy days! If you’ve ever suffered a serious sunburn from being out in the sun on a cloudy day, you know we mean it!
Apply the right amount of sunscreen—more is more!
We get lots of questions about sunscreen–everybody wants the best sunscreen there is!–and it’s never easy to answer them. The truth is that even if we could find you the ultimate sunscreen, the Holy Grail of sun protection, you’d still have to apply it properly. When it comes to sun protection tips, this is one of the most important: correct application is just as important as the quality of your chosen sunscreen.
As a rule, we recommend picking a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. Choose a product with SPF30, at least, and pick a water-resistant formula if you can—it can help it stay on longer. No sunscreen is 100% waterproof, so don’t think you won’t have to reapply it!
Apply your sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before sun exposure, and don’t skimp on the quantity. In order to ensure that your sunscreen provides the exact amount of sun protection that is written on the package, you must apply a sufficient amount.
To cover the entire body, you will need an amount similar to a shot glass. When in doubt, lay it on thick: it’s best to apply too much rather than too little! For your face, you should apply a dessert spoon of product (or just about the length of two fingers).
Whatever you do, resist the urge to apply only a thin veil of sunscreen to the areas you believe are most likely to burn, such as the nose or cheekbones. The sun doesn’t pick favorites! Apply sunscreen all over your face, always—but feel free to reapply more frequently to areas of concern, if you are worried about spots or sunburn. Sunscreen sticks and mists can help you do this easily.
No hair? Don’t forget sunscreen on your head
If you don’t have much hair, make sure to wear a hat and apply sunscreen to the top of your head. The top of the head is extremely exposed to the sun, and precancerous lesions known as actinic keratosis, or solar keratosis often appear on exposed areas of the head and neck, so don’t risk it.
Reapply your sunscreen
Here’s another one of our favorite sun protection tips: frequent reapplication is key to maintaining a good amount of protection. Reapply the same amount of sunscreen every two hours, and don’t forget to reapply immediately after bathing, perspiring, or wiping your skin with a towel.
If you’re wearing makeup and feel a little nervous about reapplying sunscreen throughout the day, don’t worry: that’s what mist sunscreen is for!
Use fashion to your advantage
Hats, sunglasses, and summery fabrics are more than just fashion statements: they actually provide valuable protection against sun damage, so don’t forget about them when preparing your beachgoing kit. A short sleeve may end up being the only thing between you and sunburn!
Add a sun supplement
Food supplements can help you protect your skin from sun damage. Supplements like Heliocare capsules are particularly popular for their high antioxidant content, which helps the skin resist and repair existing sun damage. Keep in mind, however, that they are not replacements for topical sun protection.
Sun supplements may also be a good choice if you have a very fair skin tone, or deal with extreme photosensitivity. Do you have what’s called a “sun allergy”? Consider a supplement to give your skin the best shot of making it through the summer unscathed.
Careful with medication!
Some medications and over-the-counter drugs can make your skin more sensitive to the sun. We’re talking about some antibiotics, antifungals, antihistamines, cholesterol, and blood pressure drugs, and, last but not least, cancer treatments. If you suspect your medication may be increasing your sensitivity to the sun, consult with your doctor to find the best solution for you.
Keep babies younger than 6 months old in the shade
Babies deserve some sun protection tips of their own. As babies have extremely sensitive skin, it’s better to avoid the sun altogether for the first six months of life. Avoid direct sun exposure, and keep to the shade whenever you’re out and about.
Remember what we said earlier about clothing offering sun protection? This holds especially true for babies, as it’s important to keep them fully dressed, in a brimmed hat and lightweight clothing that fully covers their tiny arms and legs.
From six months onwards, feel free to start using sunscreen on exposed areas such as the back of the hands, face, ears, and neck, but continue to keep your baby as protected as possible!
Check your skin regularly
Everybody’s skin looks a little different, and that’s ultimately the challenge when it comes to sun protection and “sun etiquette”. Nobody knows your skin like you, so make sure to do regular self-exams so you recognize what’s normal for you, and what’s worth checking out with your doctor.
Now that you’ve got your bags packed and your sun protection tips on hand, you’re ready to enjoy your summer. Let us know how it goes!