Those of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s probably remember slathering on a greasy concoction of baby oil and iodine and basking in the sun for hours. Or, worse yet, browning our bods via tanning beds before any big event. Fast forward a decade or two and we now know that, ironically, that golden glow that makes you look so healthy, is actually very harmful to your skin. At best, it leaves your skin looking like worn leather. At worst, it can leave you with something much worse—skin cancer. While studies show that most sun damage occurs in our youth, it is never too late to start protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. In fact, you may be able to reverse some of the damage sustained in your youth while preventing further damage from occurring. Here are five of our favorite ways to enjoy some summer fun in the sun without feeling the burn.
- Never Skip the Sunscreen: Admit it—unless you are headed to the pool or the beach, how often do you really put on sunscreen? And how often do you reapply it throughout the day? We thought so! A broad spectrum, sunscreen with both UVA and UVB protection is a must before exposing any part of your body to the sun’s rays. In fact, it should be the final step in your daily skincare routine all year long, regardless of season or weather conditions. Look for one that is water resistant with an SPF of 30 or higher, and make sure you reapply every two hours---even more frequently if you are swimming or sweating. If you’re worried about it clogging your pores, don’t! Many brands now offer formulas that don’t just protect the skin, they benefit it with nourishing and hydrating ingredients.
- Leave Your Hat On: A large, wide brimmed hat (at least 4 inches all the way around) is a must when it comes to protecting your face, neck and ears from the sun. Plus, it looks super chic with everything from swimsuits to sundresses. Make sure to choose one made from a sturdy material like cotton or canvas so the rays can’t get through. Baseball caps are fine in a pinch, but they don’t offer as much coverage, so make sure you have plenty of sunscreen on your exposed neck and ears.
- Guard Yourself: We know you work hard at the gym and you want to show it off, but consider swapping that skin-baring bikini for something with a little more coverage and ultraviolet protection factor (UPF). Originally designed for surfers, long sleeved rashguards have come a long way with many of your favorite designers offering fun colors and bold prints so you can look sexy and stylish while being sun smart.
- That’s A Wrap: When it comes to choosing sunglasses, it’s easy to be drawn to fashion over function—but look again! Those cute, colorful sunnies might not be offering you much in the way of true protection. According to the Center of Disease Control, wrap around sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays are your best bet for protecting your eyes, and the delicate skin around them, from damage.
- Throw Some Shade: Sometimes it’s okay to throw shade, in the form of a beach umbrella, pop up tent or other portable covering. If all else fails, a nearby tree or covered awning can offer a little respite. Your best bet? Avoid going into the sun during the peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., even on overcast days.
Picnics, pool parties, boats and beaches are all things we love about summer, and no one wants to be the proverbial wet blanket. Being sun savvy and following the above tips will allow you to enjoy your favorite summer activities now, and for many seasons to come.