Summer Sun Protection Tips April 10 2013

As the weather warms up, we await the arrival of summer. Those long, hot days will be filled with fishing trips, mountain hikes, camping adventures and other favorite outdoor activities. Summer is a great time for fun, but if you aren’t careful it can also become a great time for sunburns. Here are some sun protection tips to help you enjoy the outdoors while protecting your skin.

Cover Up

When it’s hot outside the last thing you may think to do is wear long sleeves, but extra clothing can be an effective tool for combating UV rays. Different types of clothing have different levels of UV protection, so don’t depend on your clothing alone; instead consider your clothing as an extra layer of protection.

Wearing a long sleeved shirt is great, but don’t stop there. A hat can help shade your face and scalp (and possibly neck) from the sun, while quality sunglasses protect your eyes from damaging UVA and UVB rays. 

Use Sunscreen

Sunscreen is a vital part of summer sun protection and should be applied before heading outdoors. For the best coverage and to ensure you don’t miss a spot, put sunscreen on in the morning before you get dressed. Clothing can make it more difficult to apply an even coat on your body. Don’t be afraid to use a good amount and reapply throughout the day as needed. Don’t forget sunscreen isn’t just for your face and arms; make sure you apply plenty to your lips, ears and scalp as well.

While sunscreen is easy to apply, choosing the right one for your situation isn’t always evident. Walking down the sunscreen aisle in the store can be downright intimidating with the different choices available. Here are some tips for finding great sunscreen for your outdoor activities this summer:

·       Understand what SPF means: SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a number that indicates how much protection your sunscreen offers. The higher the SPF, the more protection you’ll receive. Technically the higher the SPF the longer you can stay in the sun without getting burned, but even when using sunscreens with a high SPF make sure to reapply every hour or two because sweat and water can cause your protection to wear off.

·       Waterproof or not? In 2011 the FDA passed new regulations prohibiting sunscreen manufacturers from using terms like “waterproof” on their sunscreen labels. No sunscreen product can be truly waterproof. You might still see a few brands using this terminology since regulations take time to enact, but in coming years you won’t find sunscreen labeled “waterproof”. Some products however are more resistant to water than others. Choosing a sunscreen specifically formulated for the water might provide more protection if you’re going to be getting wet. Consider choosing water-resistant options if you’re going to be swimming, sweating heavily or enjoying the water.

·       Is sunscreen toxic? Many people worry about the chemicals used to create sunscreen. They want to enjoy the sun, but don’t feel comfortable using just any product. If you’re worried about the toxins in sunscreen check out the sunscreen database from the Environmental Working Group. Various sunscreens use different active ingredients, each with different benefits and levels of toxicity. Don’t skip the sunscreen just because you are worried about chemicals; there are many great product options to meet your needs.

·       Is one sunscreen enough? With so many to choose from, you might be wondering if you need more than one. The answer depends on your preferences. Most sunscreens can be applied all over the body: arms, face, abdomen, etc. But, you can also find products designed for specific purposes like baby sunscreen or face sunscreen. Facial sunscreen tends to be less greasy and therefore less likely to clog pores and cause breakouts. They also tend to be more expensive, so you may want to limit application to just your face. Baby and child sunscreens work on anyone, but are specially formulated to be less irritating on developing skin.

Avoid Peak Sunburn Times

The sun’s UV rays are strongest during the middle of the day, usually from 10 am to 3 pm. If possible, stay out of the sun during these peak hours. Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day; the sun can still burn even if it isn’t shining brightly, so cover up and use sunscreen whether it’s cloudy, rainy or sunny outside.

Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water is essential during the summer months. Although a bottle of water won’t keep you from getting a sunburn, staying hydrated will help you to enjoy your summer outdoor activities more and stay safe. Always take along plenty of water (more than you think you’ll need) and drink often. Sweat can cause sunscreen to wear off, so reapply often especially if it’s a hot, sweaty day.  

Summer is coming. I can almost feel those fish tugging at my line and hear the gravel beneath my feet. Get out this summer and have some great outdoor fun, but be careful. T-REIGN wants you to come home with great memories, not nasty sunburns.