Summer Sun Protection Tips: How to Enjoy Extra Sunshine Time Without Damaging Your Skin

Summer Sun Protection Tips: How to Enjoy Extra Sunshine Time Without Damaging Your Skin

While enjoying sunshine-filled adventures is always fun, protecting your skin in the summer is vital for your immediate and short-term health.

Use our summer sun protection tips to help you maximize your time outside this summer and get all the rays your heart desires in the coming months.

Why is Protecting Your Skin So Vital?

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can bring some health benefits, including triggering the production of  vitamin D3 in our bodies, which is vital for muscle and skin health. UV light is also used in light therapy, which can help treat conditions like rickets, psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo. There's even evidence that UV light therapy can help with pain relief.

However, overexposure to UV light can lead to severe consequences.

UV light contains both UVA and UVB rays:

  • UVA rays make up around 95% of all UV radiation that reaches us. They can reach the middle layer of your skin, called the dermis.
  • UVB rays have slightly more energy than UVA rays but a shorter wavelength. Therefore, they can only reach the outer layer of your skin, the epidermis.

Let’s explore the risks these pose to your skin health.

Avoiding Premature Skin Aging

Because they penetrate deeper, UVA rays can cause premature aging. Common signs of premature aging include skin wrinkling, while fine lines and "age spots" may develop later.

Tanning, Burning, and Skin Cancer Considerations

There's no such thing as a "healthy tan." When our skin tans, that's our body protecting our skin from damage caused by UVA rays. And if we spend too long in the sun, our skin burns, which is often the first time we recognize skin damage. Both of these can lead to us developing various skin cancers.

Sidestepping Skin Blistering

Overexposure to the sun can cause painful blistering, possibly leading to scarring.

Plus, in addition to damaging your skin, UV rays can also damage your eyes and weaken your immune system.

Now we understand the damage sunlight and UV rays can do, let's explore everything you can do to protect yourself while still making the most of your summer.

Choose the Right Sunscreen

Woman sunscreen to protect from the summer sun

Sunscreen is our first defense against harmful UV rays, but what should you look for when buying one?

  • Choose broad-spectrum sunscreens like this Solbar Zinc Sun Protection Cream. Broad-spectrum means it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays. Avoid anything that says it offers protection from rays while allowing you to get a "healthy tan," this often means you're not fully protected.

Solbar Zinc Sun Protection Cream SPF 38 - 4 Oz

  • Use sunscreens with an SPF of at least 30 for you and 50 for your children. The higher the SPF, the better. It is also best to use a higher SPF sunscreen on areas where the skin is more sensitive, thinner, or exposed, such as your face. For example, this Neutrogena Sunscreen Lotion is specially formulated for anti-aging and has an SPF of 70.
  • Choose water-resistant sunscreen if you plan to go swimming or enjoy any other water-based activity. Many sunscreens are water resistant as standard, but remember to check!
  • Use a moisturizer that offers sun protection, too. While you should always use sunscreen, moisturizing with a product that has an SPF factor can provide added protection while also hydrating your skin. It's also a great habit to get into, so when it comes to winter, you're protecting your skin from the sun even when it's less obvious you should be wearing sunscreen. Try this Olay Complete All Day Moisturizer.

Sunscreen Best Practices

Choosing the right sunscreen is the first part of protecting your skin and staying healthy.

You must also remember these best practices to maximize your protection from the sun this summer:

  • Apply sunscreen generously to all exposed skin.
  • Pay particular attention to sensitive areas and those we often miss, despite them generally getting the most exposure, including your face, ears, and back of your neck – easily missed if you're wearing a t-shirt and a cap! - hands and feet.
  • Reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. Aim for every hour if you’re swimming or sweating, even if you’re using a water-resistant sunscreen.
  • Remember your lips, too. Carmex Lip Balm will moisturize them and protect them from the sun.

Carmex Lip Balm SPF 15 Original - 12 Count

Wear Protective Clothing

Covering up is an effective way to reduce your skin's exposure to UV light. While there's a growing trend for SPF/UV-resistant clothing, what's already in your wardrobe will do the job.

Aim to:

  • Wear to cover as much of your skin as possible.
  • If possible, choose tightly woven, lightweight fabrics - linen is ideal for sun protection and keeping cool in the summer!
  • Wear darker colors if possible, as these provide more UV protection than lighter ones. But be wary that darker colors retain more heat from the sun, so ensure you remain hydrated.
  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat that shields your face and the back of your neck. Alternatively, choose a cap with rear and side flaps that cover your ears and the back and sides of your neck.
  • Choose sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays. Wraparound styles and pairs with wide arms offer the best protection - and often look the best, too!

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is essential for your skin and overall health - it'll also help prevent heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Remember to drink water even if - or especially if! - you're consuming other liquids. Cups of coffee or a cocktail might taste great and refreshing but will leave you dehydrated and at a higher risk of suffering skin damage.

Use After Sun Aloe Vera Lotion

Fruit Of The Earth Aloe Vera After Sun Lotion - 20 Oz

After sun lotion soothes and cools your skin, restoring moisture and providing essential vitamins and minerals to help your skin thrive. Using an  after-sun aloe vera lotion is a great way to continue protecting your skin after a day of fun in the sun. Don't just use it if you're suffering from sunburn!

If you’re showering after a day spent outdoors, after sun aloe vera lotion can substitute for your usual body moisturizer.

Seek Out Some Shade!

Ultimately, avoiding the sun is the best way to protect your skin in the summer! Aim to minimize your exposure to direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are at their strongest. And if you are around the swimming pool or at the beach, seek shade under an umbrella, trees, or the canopy at the ice cream kiosk!

If you can plan your summer adventures in advance and have some flexibility around when you can do things, use a weather app to look at the UV index and try to plan activities on days when sunlight won't be as intense.

Maximize Your Protection to Maximize Your Summer Enjoyment!

Enjoying the summer sun is wonderful, but you must protect yourself from the harmful effects of UV rays.

Follow the tips we’ve provided here and stock up all your essential  sun care products here at Thrifty White Health Essentials to ensure you have a fun and healthy summer.

See you at the beach!

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