News and Information

Not-So-Obvious Sun Protection Tips


Not-So-Obvious Sun Protection Tips

Summer is filled with pool parties, beach trips and outdoor activities. But it’s also full of sunshine and longer days, making sun protection even more important to your daily health routine. Of course, applying sunscreen is the first step in protecting yourself from unhealthy amounts of ultraviolet (UV) rays. But there’s more than meets the eye, like these eight not-so-obvious tips to protecting yourself from the sun this summer.

  1. Choose the right clothing:Clothes provide different levels of UV protection. Generally speaking, tightly woven fabrics, dark colors and dry fabrics are more protective that loose, light or wet clothes. Consider adding a rash guard to you wardrobe, too. These stylish shirts come in a variety of colors and can give your upper body great coverage. A hat, preferably one with a wide brim and if possible, some neck coverage, is another great way to protect yourself from the sun.
  2. Know your expiration dates: Most sunscreens are good for two to three years but sunscreens that have been kept in a hot area, like a car glove box, might be less effective the longer they’ve been sitting in the heat. Always make sure you’re mixing up each bottle before use.
  3. Use your smartphone: Putting sunscreen on once doesn’t guarantee you’ll be protected all day. Instead, set an alarm on your smartphone for 90 minutes to remind yourself it’s time to reapply.
  4. Keep in mind the time: We all want to spend as much time enjoying the nice weather as possible but it’s important to keep in mind how much time you’re spending in direct sun exposure. Seek out shade during the day, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the UV rays are strongest.
  5. Understand the SPF: The sun protection factor (SPF) is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays. Sunscreen can be labeled as high as 100+ SPF; however, you should understand the SPF scale before making your choice. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93 percent of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97 percent, SPF 50 sunscreens about 98 percent and SPF 100 about 99 percent. Sunscreens with an SPF of 15 or less must now comes with a label warning users that it is only shown to protect against sunburn, not skin cancer or early skin aging.
  6. Don’t rely on makeup: Many makeup types, including foundation and powders, include an SPF value on the bottle; however, the amount needed to protect you fully would likely not be what you’re used to using. Instead, apply sunscreen as part of your makeup routine. This will keep your face fresh and protected.
  7. Stay stocked up: Most dermatologists offer plenty of free samples and travel size options make carrying sunscreen on-the-go no problem. Grab a few and make sure your car, purse and office are all stocked up and readily available.
  8. Cover all your bases: When applying sunscreen, think about all skin areas, including your lips and scalp. Use a spray sunscreen to get sunscreen through your hair and onto your head. In addition, lip balm should be reapplied more often, especially after eating or drinking.

For specific questions on how to best protect yourself from harmful UV rays, consult with your doctor.