Protecting your skin from sun damage is important year-round, but it’s especially top of mind come summer. Longer days, stronger rays and outdoor play mean that practicing proper sun safety should be a priority for the whole family. Here are 6 tips to keep in mind:
Slather on SPF
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends sunscreen for all, regardless of your age or skin color, to prevent skin cancer and aging. Look for a broad spectrum sunscreen (that means it protects against both types of rays, UVA and UVB rays, responsible for wrinkles and sunburn, respectively) with an SPF value of 30 or more. Spray sunblocks are super-convenient, but sometimes make it tough to tell whether you’ve applied enough. The AAD recommends applying 1 ounce (the size of shot glass) of liquid sunscreen to make sure you’re all covered. Don’t forget the tops of your feet, tops of ears, back of neck and shoulders, and buddy up for an extra hand reaching tough spots like your back. There’s nothing worse than a sunburned scalp (seriously … ouch!) so pay special attention to your hairline and part.
More than makeup
Even if your foundation has a fancy “Now with SPF 15!” label on it, chances are you aren’t applying enough for significant coverage. Add a separate moisturizer with SPF 30 or greater to your morning makeup routine, especially on days you’ll be outdoors. And don’t forget, your lips can get sunburned, too! Look for a lipstick or lip balm that has an SPF of 30 or more and reapply every two hours.
Physically covering your skin is a smart safeguard, too. Wearing a short-sleeve top versus a tank could safe your shoulders on a long sunny hike, and rashguards—water-friendly tops worn over your swimsuit that also happen to be super-trendy right now—can keep your family covered at the waterpark or beach. Portable beach umbrellas are an easy way to take cover in areas where shade can be hard to find.
Sporting a wide-brimmed hat is one of the very best ways to protect your precious face on a sunny day. Luckily, the styles out there couldn’t be more stylish, from breezy straw fedoras to beachy sun hats. The wider the brim, the better it’ll shade not just your ears and forehead, but the back of your neck, too.
Sunglasses are a summer fashion staple, but they can also protect your eyes and the delicate skin around your eyes, too. But not all shades are created equal: Look for a sun protection rating of UV400 or higher; which means they’ll block 99.9 percent of the sun’s rays.
If you’re still seeking a sun-kissed blow, dodge the damage with bronzers and sunless tanners. A bronzer is a temporary color that washes off when you hit the showers; sunless tanners (also called self tanners) work by temporarily darkening the top layer of your skin. For a bit of summer glow, try dusting bronzing powder on your cheekbones, nose and forehead. Sunless tanning lotions and sprays have also come a long way—they’re less foul-smelling and more natural than years ago—so if you were scarred by a past faux pas that left you orange-handed, consider giving the newest formulas a chance.
Whether your warm-weather adventures involve surfing lessons, a family bike ride or a day at the beach, arriving home sans sunburn is worth the extra effort. Happy summer!