Summer is a great time to slow down and make memories with the ones you love most. The long days and warm weather offer the perfect opportunity to spend more family time outdoors relaxing and soaking up the sun.

Whether you plan on vacationing at the beach, swimming in the pool, or making more time for outdoor activities, it’s important to protect your skin in the process. Nothing can ruin a family vacation or pool day like a sunburn. 

Spending time in the sun can provide you with vitamin D that helps your body absorb calcium, which keeps your bones strong. A little sun can also improve mental health and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.

But while basking in the sun can be fun and beneficial for your health, knowing how to protect your skin from the sun can keep you looking and feeling your best.

With some extra precautions, you’ll be ready to hit the beach while also keeping your family healthy and protected. Here’s how to protect your skin from sun damage this summer while doing all your favorite outdoor activities.

How to Protect Your Skin in the Summer

It’s great to schedule a few minutes per day in the sun to recharge and energize during the day. But, spending too much time in the sun without protection can lead to sunburn, dehydration, and skin cancer.

Depending on your skin type and the daily UV level, your skin can burn in as little as 20 minutes without sunscreen or protective clothing. It’s important to protect your skin from the sun no matter which season it is.

Remember: you can still get a sunburn on a cloudy day.

A few simple steps can make a big difference in ensuring you have fun in the sun this season without jeopardizing your skin.

Pick the Right Sunscreen

It’s wise to wear sunscreen every day, but especially in the summer. This is because you’re more likely to spend time outdoors when the sun is at its strongest.

When choosing an effective sunscreen, keep these factors in mind:

  • Choose one with “broad-spectrum protection” that will protect your skin from both UVB and UVA rays. This is essential to prevent both premature aging as well as skin cancer
  • Be sure the sunscreen is at least SPF30, which will filter out approximately 97% of harmful UVB rays
  • Read the instructions for best results, including how often to reapply and its expiration date
  • Always reapply sunscreen at least every two hours, especially if you’re sweating or swimming

Once you have quality sunscreen, be sure to apply it anywhere that is exposed to the sun. This includes your neck, ears, feet, and the top of your head. Don’t forget to protect your lips with a UV-blocking lip balm.

Avoid Tanning Beds

Visiting the tanning bed can be tempting to get a sought-after tan before you hit the beach — but it’s not worth the risk.

Tanning beds may help you achieve a bronze glow quickly, but they also contribute to a number of health concerns. While in a tanning bed, the UV rays expose you to:

  • Premature aging
  • Eye injuries
  • Skin cancer
  • Lower immune system

The Best Clothing to Wear in the Sun

When it comes to protecting your skin from the sun this summer, protective clothing can also help.

Not all clothing is created equally in terms of sun protection. To keep your skin well-protected from the sun this summer, be sure to choose pieces that have an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) of at least 30.

To put this level of protection into perspective, a cotton shirt has a UPF of about 8. For the ultimate defense against the sun this summer, choose clothing that has a UPF of 30 or more, including shirts, hats, swimsuits, and pants.

What to Take to the Beach or Pool

If there’s ever a place to protect your skin from the summer sun, it’s at the beach or pool. You might spend hours in the sunshine at both the beach and pool, and don’t always remember to reapply sunscreen when you should.

To make sure your skin is well-protected, have these items on hand:

  • Extra sunscreen (and a timer for when to reapply)
  • Umbrellas 
  • Hats
  • SPF clothing
  • Water to stay hydrated
  • Lip balm with SPF

Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming. You should also drink plenty of water, wear protective clothing, and sit in the shade as much as possible.

What to Do If You Get Sunburned

Even when you take all the recommended precautions for protecting your skin from the sun, sunburns can still happen. When they do, knowing how to properly treat them can make a big difference in alleviating discomfort and helping your skin heal.

If you experience a sunburn this summer, here are some skincare tips to help you heal as quickly as possible:

  • Take cool showers or baths to relieve pain
  • Soothe your sunburned skin with a moisturizer that contains aloe vera
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Take an over-the-counter medication, like ibuprofen, to reduce discomfort and swelling
  • Avoid popping any blisters that may form and let them heal on their own to prevent infection
  • Avoid sun exposure until your skin has healed completely and wear protective clothing when you’re in the sun again

Tips to Keep Your Skin Healthy This Summer

With a few simple steps, you can help keep your skin in a healthy condition for years to come, while looking and feel your best all year round.

Here are some helpful tips to protect your skin year-round:

  • Avoid taking hot showers that can dry your skin out
  • Moisturize daily, especially after showering
  • Don’t use tobacco
  • Use spray tans or lotions instead of tanning beds
  • Stay in the shade as much as possible when outside
  • Eat a well-balanced diet
  • Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water every day

Protect Your Skin All Year Long

In the summer, it’s easy to forget to put on more sunscreen or bring hats, umbrellas, and protective clothing to the beach. And even in the winter months, you might not realize how much your skin may be exposed to the sun’s harmful rays.

At myCallADoc, we’ll help you monitor and treat potential skin issues, no matter the season. For healthy skin all year long, make an appointment to see an online dermatologist >

This article is not intended as medical advice. Always check with your doctor before embarking on a new health and wellness plan.

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