Honestly, I don’t feel the most qualified to talk about this subject. I always get the worst sunburns when I’m outside for long periods of time no matter how safe I’m being in the sun. Seriously, I went to my church’s yearly summer camp to the beach one year, applied two full bottles worth of sunscreen in roughly five hours, and still managed to get horribly sunburnt.
Before you ask: yes, I’m incredibly pale and have prominent fangs, but I’m a sucker for some good garlic bread. Oh my gosh, let’s just get to the list of tips to be safe in the sun. Just forget I said that.
Use Lots of Bottled Sunscreen
This entry was pretty much a given.
If you’ve ever searched online for information about sunscreen, what you found may have made you feel less than sunny about slathering various lotions and creams on your body. Sunscreen is designed to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, but some of the claims made about it suggest it could do more harm than good.
Assertions include everything from statements that sunscreen is ineffective to warnings that it’s outright dangerous. Some writers even go as far as to state that sunscreen may cause skin cancer, thanks to a purported harmful cocktail of toxic ingredients. That’s enough to darken your day.
There are two types of sunscreens: Physical blockers reflect ultraviolet rays from the sun and contain one of two active ingredients, zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Chemical blockers contain chemicals that absorb the sun’s ultraviolet rays. In the United States, these typically include aminobenzoic acid, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, and oxybenzone.
Oxybenzone has received the worst press because of concerns that it may act as what is known as a hormone disrupter. A hormone disruptor is a chemical that has the ability to cross cell membranes and may interfere with your body’s natural hormone production.
However, there has been no conclusive evidence that oxybenzone is harmful to humans. Organizations that have raised concerns about oxybenzone typically cite studies done in rats, where the rats were actually fed oxybenzone. It would take an individual 277 years of sunscreen use to achieve the equivalent systemic dose that produced effects in these rat studies, according to a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. Oxybenzone is also known to cause allergic reactions in some people, although this is not common.
Even if you avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone, you may encounter it in other products, including plastic, hairspray, and nail polish. At this point, we are not recommending our patients avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone, and if people choose to do so, they should be aware that the chemical exists in many other common products of daily use.
Sunscreen is important for all skin types. Even if you don’t burn easily, like me, wearing sunscreen is still important. Sunburn is an immediate reaction, but sun damage occurs over a lifetime. Although skin cancer is more prevalent in people with lighter skin, it does not discriminate and can still affect those with darker skin.
If you have ever had sunburn, you understand just how unpleasant red, burning skin can be. Heatstroke and heat exhaustion are two other extremely nasty health issues that can arise from extended sun exposure. Sunscreen, in combination with other precautions such as increased consumption of water, can help you avoid these issues, which can lead to nausea, muscle cramps, and even brain damage if left untreated.
In addition to traditional lotions that have been around for decades, some newer types of sunscreens have been introduced and should be taken into consideration when selecting the right type for you and your family. While there is no perfect sunscreen, selecting one that you like is the key motivating factor for regular use. Here are a few kinds to consider depending on skin type and sun exposure:
Spray – Spray sunscreen can be more convenient than lotions, especially for parents applying sunscreen for children. If you do choose a spray, be sure to use a generous and even coating and apply more frequently.
Built-in Sunscreen – Some moisturizers, lipsticks, and foundations contain sunscreen. These are perfect for days when you will not be spending much time outdoors and are good for everyday protection. If you do plan on spending a lot of time in the sun, be sure to use a secondary source of sun protection.
Mineral – Mineral or hypoallergenic sunscreens are now available for those with sensitive skin. These types of sunscreen sit on the skin instead of being absorbed into it, providing you protection without irritation.
Sweat/Water Resistant – Although water-resistant and sweat-resistant sunscreens are not 100% waterproof, they are specifically formulated to stay on the skin even after getting wet. It is important to reapply every two hours or after getting out of the water.
Stick – Sunscreen sticks are perfect for spot application, such as your nose and ears. These areas are important and are among the areas most commonly affected by skin cancer.
When selecting a sunscreen, purchase one with an SPF of 15 or higher. You should also select broad-spectrum, or full-spectrum, sunscreen as it is designed to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. You can’t go wrong with sunscreen when trying to be safe in the sun.
Wear a Long Sleeve Swim Top
A trendy piece approved by fashion designers and surfer girls alike, long-sleeve bathing suits are great for protecting your skin from the sun while lounging poolside or playing beach volleyball. Not only that, but they can also act as a rash guard or wetsuit for paddle boarding, surfing, and kayaking. And since most have UPF built-in to the fabric, they block UV radiation and offer another layer of protection from harmful rays—score!
Also great? If you layer shorts or a skirt over your long-sleeve swimwear, it can double as a stylish bodysuit—perfect for going straight from the beach to dinner or happy hour. Here, the cutest, most versatile long-sleeve bathing suits that’ll protect you from the sun and help you keep up with your active lifestyle this summer.
Surfers figured out years ago that they needed to cover up their arms to protect themselves from the abrasions and rashes a surfboard can cause, making it perfect to be safe in the sun.
No matter how warm the sun feels on the sand, it is always colder underwater. Not to be confused with a wetsuit, a rash guard’s basic purpose is not to keep you warm; the extra layer that a rash guard provides is an easy alternative when the weather a too warm for a full wetsuit. Temperature aside, a rashie can also serve as a defense against foreign sea particles. With its added coverage, a rash guard will keep your heat in and ocean scraps out.
Whether you are waiting for the perfect wave or building a state of the art sandcastle, you are exposed to damaging sun-rays. Today, rash guards are designed to add extra coverage to your basic swimwear in order to prevent sunburns. In order to ensure efficient sun protection, most rashies are manufactured with Ultraviolet Protection Factors (UPF). Rash guards are not used to replacing sunscreen lotion, but the two preventatives serve as a dynamic duo when worn together.
In variation from a classic rash guard, a swim shirt is a relatively new addition to the swimwear family. Although it is not a traditional rashie, a swim shirt is growing in popularity as an alternative form of sun protection. The loose fit makes it a more versatile, casual derivative of the rash guard.
As if the benefits of rash guards are not enough, today rashies are seen making a splash in surf, sport and swim fashion. Varying in colors, shapes, and sizes, brands are taking this rash prevention, sun protecting shirts to a new level. Whether you want short, long or sleeveless, there is a rash guard to fit your every summer style. Don’t let the cold water and hot weather put a damper on your fun in the sun; rock a rashie to your next water excursion. You can’t go wrong when trying to be safe in the sun.
Bring an Umbrella
There are several benefits to having a lightweight portable beach umbrella. From décor to transportation, a collapsible portable beach umbrella is ideal for versatility. Whether you want an accent piece for your patio or are trying to stay out of the sun during a concert, portable umbrellas are what you need to be safe in the sun!
One of these benefits includes the décor factor. Since these umbrellas are collapsible or foldable, they can be used for many different areas. You can pick from a variety of colors or patterns to match your taste. They can even be used as an accent piece for your patio or deck! Decorate with a lightweight portable beach umbrella to create a chic, unique look while not making anything permanent.
Another benefit is obvious, but nevertheless, it’s shade. Due to this umbrella being portable, it can make shade anywhere! Perfect when wanting to be safe in the sun. Wherever you are, you can protect you or your kids from the sun. You no longer must worry about whether there will be shade avoid at your beloved beach or concert. You are sure to spend more time out in the sun with a portable shade.
One of the most important benefits includes transportation. Most portable umbrellas are lightweight making them easier to move from one location to the next. We understand that making a trip somewhere can require a lot of materials. Furthermore, collapsible beach umbrellas usually come with a carry bag. This will allow you to carry the umbrella while carrying an ice chest, chairs, or a kid! Portable umbrellas with carrying bags are ideal for parents or people needing both their hands.
From concert-goers to patio loungers, portable beach umbrellas are ideal for every customer. Collapsible beach umbrellas make transporting shade easier. They can even be used as décor for any location!
Don’t Forget to Bring Drinking Water
When you spend time outside in hot weather you probably start to feel thirsty in a fairly short time. That’s a normal response and one you should pay close attention to—it means your body needs more water to deal with the heat. Learn why this happens, the symptoms of dehydration, and how to ensure you are drinking enough water when the temperatures rise.
Your body functions best within a certain temperature range, and when you get too warm, it needs to cool off. There are a couple of ways your body accomplishes this cooldown. First, your blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow to the skin. This allows excess heat to radiate away from your body. Then, you also start to sweat. Evaporation of the sweat cools the skin, which in turn helps to cool the whole body. But, the problem is that excessive sweating can lead to dehydration.
You sweat more when the temperature’s hot, especially if you’re working or exercising in the heat. Drinking water helps replenish the fluids lost by excessive sweating. If you don’t get enough water, you may become dehydrated, and the combination of hot temperatures and dehydration can lead to serious heat-related illnesses.
For most people, thirst is a very good indication that you need more water. Even before you become dehydrated, you’ll feel thirsty, and your mouth may feel dry or sticky. After a while, you may also become lethargic and fuzzy-headed. Other signs include reduced urine output (and the urine is dark yellow). You might even notice your eyes look a bit sunken and feel dry. Even a little dehydration can be a problem, so don’t ignore those early signs. Even mild dehydration reduces your ability to think clearly and your physical coordination.
So gross, but you need to be safe in the sun.
Wear Sunglasses and a Hat
Well-made sunglasses do more than make you look like a movie star. According to a 2012 survey, nearly 90% of people believe that protecting their eyes is key to overall health. But most people who choose to wear sunglasses do so only to cut down on the sun’s glare.
There are many more reasons why you should wear sunglasses more often, especially when you’re enjoying the outdoors during the summer. Keep reading and I’ll tell you more about why you should remember to put a pair of sunglasses on.
Our eyes are sensitive. Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to a variety of ailments. Some are simply painful or irritating, others can be deadly serious. But remembering to wear a pair of high-quality sunglasses can help to keep you safe from the sun’s damaging rays.
Let me start by defining what I mean by “high-quality” sunglasses. When choosing sunglasses, start by looking for sunglasses with 100% UVA and UVB protection. This provides full protection against the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Polarized sunglasses can reduce glare, which is nice if you’re spending a lot of time on the water. Also, look for sunglasses that fully cover your eyes. Wrap-around lenses are even better because they block out light and glare from the side, as well as the front.
Now let’s look at diseases and health complications that sunglasses can help protect against.
The skin around your eyes, including your eyelids, is very sensitive to sunlight. And nearly 10% of skin cancers are found near the eyes. Wearing UV-protective wraparound sunglasses with large lenses can not only protect your eyes, but they’ll protect your skin, too.
Cataracts are cloudy areas on the eye’s lens. According to the Glaucoma Research Foundation, prolonged and long term exposure to the sun’s UV rays contributes to cataracts. UV exposure may also worsen the symptoms of Glaucoma, another serious eye condition that can result in blindness. Sunglasses with complete UV protection can help reduce your risk of cataracts or complications from glaucoma.
Now, let’s move onto how sunhats help you be safe in the sun.
Ah, the sun hat. It’s stylish, comfortable, and chock full of additional benefits. Many people have hang-ups about sun hats. Some of those hang-ups come from preconceived notions and misunderstandings about the awesomeness that is the sun hat.
If you haven’t heard me say it enough times within this article, the sun’s rays can cause melanoma and other forms of skin cancer. Even when the sun isn’t baking your cells, it’s baking your skin. That will give you the worst kinds of sunburns. In addition, your eyes are also under constant bombardment from those rays.
The Brim – The wider the brim, the more protection you receive. You don’t need to go for the giant floppy grandmotherly brims. About 3 inches of brim should suffice.
Go for a brim with a non-uniform shape. The sun’s rays aren’t just striking from above. They bounce off surfaces all around you. A brim with a non-uniform shape will do a better job of stopping those rays from hitting your face.
The materials – Sun hats can consist of any of a number of materials. These materials can dictate just how much UV protection the sun hat offers.
Natural materials, like hemp or cotton, do offer some protection. Synthetics materials often find use in sun hats with specific UV protection designs. These days, you can usually find the UV protection rating printed right on the hat’s tag or in its description.
The color – The color of your sun hat also plays a role in how much protection it offers. Lighter colors reflect rays, while darker colors absorb them.
Both of these things can help. Reflection is good, but a hat that absorbs rays means it’s keeping those rays from touching your face. If you can find a design that incorporates both, you get the best of both worlds.