There’s nothing like summer sunshine to remind you how much you love this time of year. And nothing like the state of 2020 to remind you that you can’t go enjoy it. As we all pretend to enjoy yoga a little more, and pick up new crafts and hobbies (I’ve discovered looming is a thing, and I’m actually quite enjoying it) – it may be months, who knows even years, before our skin sees the sun again.
But for those who are sneaking out and enjoying hikes, bikes, and runs (we see you Jesse Allen), while you may enjoy soaking up the sun – your skin may not be quite as enthusiastic. It’s especially important to protect your skin during summer when UV rays are the strongest.
To give you some ideas, here are 10 easy tips for protecting your skin from the sun:
1. Cover Up
Unless you’re looking to sweat off your Quarantine 40 (that’s me anyway) – the last thing you want is to layer up in the heat of the summer sun. But protecting bare skin doesn’t mean you have to overheat yourself. Choose loose, light-colored clothing that’s airy. Hats (especially mesh-backed trucker caps or wide brim gardening hats), moisture-wicking athletic clothing, or even breathable synthetic swimwear are good alternatives to tees and jeans. And yes Chad, make sure you wear a shirt.
2. Wear Sunscreen
Application – The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of your sunscreen rates its effectiveness at blocking UV rays. Never use sunscreen less than SPF 15, even if you’re blessed with beautifully bronzed skin (my Norwegian ancestors are laughing at me right now)! In fact I’d suggest you take a page out of cancer.org’s book and go for SPF 30 or higher. The sun’s rays are the most direct between high-noon and 2:00 pm – it’s advisable to avoid overexposure during these hours
Reapplication – Contrary to popular belief, sunscreen wears off. Be sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours or even more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating. And even if a company claims that its products of sweat or water-resistant, no sunscreen is sweat or waterproof. Don’t let clever claims fool you into a week of ouchy burns.
Choose a type – Did you know there are different types of sunscreen for different skin types? If you have dry skin, lotion sunscreen is the way to go. But if you have oily skin, try a gel or spray-on sunscreen. It will keep your skin from feeling greasy, and most spray ons will dry upon contact (like all of my exes affection during quarantine).
Expiration dates – Be forewarned that expired sunscreen won’t protect you. While it may still apply without irritation or separation, manufacturers cannot guarantee its success or effectiveness after the printed date (a fine game to play with Pringles… not so much with the safety and health of your skin). If you’ve owned any sunscreen for more than three years or it’s been exposed to high temperatures, toss it out and buy yourself a fresh bottle. Your skin will thank you (and so will your sunscreen company).
Cosmetics – Lots of makeup and lip balms have sunscreen in them too. And not just moisturizers but bronzers, shadows, foundations and even mascara’s (a little excessive if you ask me, but I’ve seen it). Try to choose brands that will protect your skin and most align with the stuff that you already use to make feel fabulous.
3. Slap on a Hat
We already talked about this a little bit, but some of the easiest areas to forget about are the part in your hair (or even the space between the follicles themselves… not even hair can totally block the sun), the tops of your ears, and your neck, forehead, cheeks and nose. So why not wear a hat? Usually a wide brim is enough, but if you can find a hat with a four-inch brim that will cover all these areas and the back of your neck too, then you’re sitting pretty sister.
4. Wear Sunglasses
Your eyes need protection from the sun just as much as your skin does. Did you know that you can sunburn the retina, iris and even your corneas? So don’t be afraid to pick up a pair of sunglasses for the next time you’re out and about.
And a word of advice: not all sunglasses are created equal. The ideal pair should block 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays – claims of “UV” blocking could refer to either or both, so be sure to check the label before you buy. Did you know LifeVantage has some sweet shades? Explore Our Product Offering Here
5. Watch Your Surroundings
There are lots of things around you that can increase the intensity of the sun’s rays. Water, snow, white sandy beaches, and even cloud cover can reflect the sun’s rays back at you and cause serious sunburns, so keep an eye out. Seek shade, and if it’s not available refer back to number 2 and apply and reapply often!
6. If your Doctor Says No, Listen
Many people take medications that make them more sensitive to the sun (I honestly was shocked about this one), so if your doctor prescribes you any antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antifungals, or blood pressure medications, they might also give you instructions not to spend time in direct sunlight. Procedures like chemotherapy or laser hair removal can make you extra sensitive to the sun too and in some terrible cases have irreversible or unrecoverable side effects. Don’t take your doctor lightly.
7. Avoid Tanning Beds
I know, I know. Guilty – I’ll be the first to admit I’m guilty. No matter how much you want that deep, beautiful bronze glow to go with your bikini, tanning beds and tanning lamps will expose you to harmful UVA and UVB rays that can cause permanent skin damage. If you MUST, be more inclined towards a spray tan and red light therapy as your substitute. But as a general rule, just say no to tanning salons and embrace the beautiful outdoors.
8. Protect Your Kids
Small children are especially vulnerable to sunburns since they spend so much time outside. In our 9 Things You Didn’t Know About Skin blog, we talk melanin production – kids also simply produce less melanin, and are therefore at higher risk to the harmful side effects of the sun’s rays.
Teach your kids how to protect themselves from the sun, even if you have to be the sunscreen police (I can already hear the complaints… you’re an angel for your efforts). Also, try as much as possible to keep babies younger than six months out of direct sunlight, and keep them suncreened and covered as much as you humanly can.
9. Seek Outside Shade
Sometimes all the sun protection in the world can’t keep you from getting burned. Things like altitude, humidity, season, hemisphere, and ecosystem can really screw up your skin protection knowledge. So whenever possible, give your skin a break. There’s no shame in sitting under a leafy tree. Try to walk in the shade, or even by a river (avoiding arid climates can help soothe and cool your skin). Whatever you can do to escape the sun’s fiery rays, do it. *insert Shia LeBoufe gif
10. Go Inside
As much as you want to be out and about this season, sometimes you just need to take a break and find some air conditioning. Try to limit your sun exposure during between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm (just to preempt and be safe before and after the high-noon to 2 deadlines) when UV rays are the strongest, and if you feel yourself starting to burn or getting dizzy, go inside immediately.
While we all love tan lines, that bronze glow, and freckles – no aesthetic is worth the health and safety of your skin. There’s no shame in taking baby steps to keep your tan, and some genetics just don’t let skin darken at all. Above anything else, simply take care of your skin, it’s the only one you’ve got.
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