When you think about when you were younger, you might remember days of running around outside without a care in the world, basking in the sun – and then you came home and suddenly you cared. As children, many of us remember sunburned days where our noses and cheeks peeled in the early days of summer. However, that isn’t the case anymore. We now know the dangers of sun exposure and what can happen if we don’t protect ourselves.
But we aren’t doing that. We haven’t been protecting ourselves and our skin from the sun’s rays, nor have we been trying to find out better ways to do it.
In the end, it is simple. If you are going outside for more than an hour, you need to do whatever you can to protect yourself. Think the only way to do that is to slather on sunscreen before going out on the beach? You’d be surprised. In fact, there are dozens of ways to keep your skin protected throughout the year – even when the sun isn’t shining. Here are just ten of them – if you can’t find even one that works for you, consider moving into a night-bubble:
1. Apply sunscreen every single day as part of your morning routine. Even if it is cloudy, even if there is snow on the ground, and even if you aren’t sure where you’re going. You can get many sunscreens that have lotions mixed into them.
2. If you are going to be outside in direct sunlight for a long time, apply an ounce of sunscreen half and hour before you go outside. You should also think about protecting other parts of your body as well, like your lips, your eyelids, and the tops of your feet.
3. Always choose a broad spectrum sunscreen that will protect you against both types of radiation, UVA and UVB. You want to get protection from both because they prevent you from getting sunburn and they prevent you from getting skin cancer. If you are going to be in the water, you can get water resistant varieties. When in doubt, choose one that is SPF 30 or higher, and always ere on the side of caution. If you are extremely pale, you may want to go into the baby section to get your sunscreen.
4. If you are swimming or sweating, reapply your sunscreen every hour. If you are outside continuously for more than two hours, you will want to reapply every two hours.
5. Remember to be even more careful when you are around white surfaces and reflective surfaces. This means sand, water, white houses, car windows, and pools. These surfaces can double the amount of damage that the sun’s rays can do, increasing your risk for sunburn and sun damage.
6. Babies who are under 6 months old should be completely covered and in the shade at all times. You should still put sunscreen on them because their skin is extremely sensitive.
7. If at all possible, try to limit the amount of time you’re in the sun between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM. This is when the sun’s rays can do the most damage and when you are in direct sunlight. If you aren’t sure what time it is, check your shadow. If your shadow is shorter than you, you want to get out of the sunshine and into the shade.
8. If you are going to be in the sun, wear a lightweight long sleeve t-shirt and long pants. Most of the clothing that does the best job at protecting you is heavier and tightly woven, but that isn’t always the most comfortable to wear in the heat. If you work in the sun, there are special types of clothing that you can wear that is made of sun-protective coatings and materials.
9. Bring many accessories with you when you are going to be outside. A hat is always a good idea, even just a baseball cap. Still, a wider brim that will shade the back of your neck is best. You’ll also want sunglasses that have 100% UV absorption to protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around your eyes. Finally, carrying a parasol is another great way to cover all parts of your body that aren’t easy to cover.
10. Read your medication tubes to see if they will make you more sensitive to sun. Some blood pressure medications, antibiotics, and anti-inflammatories will make you more susceptible to sunburn. In some cases, people undergoing chemotherapy have to stay out of the sun.
Even if it feels a little funny or you want to be tanner, try to avoid it. It will feel better when you are older and don’t have as many wrinkles as your friends or you don’t get skin cancer.