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How to Protect Skin from the Sun: Top 5 Tips

hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen
July 15, 2023

According to the National Cancer Society, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer in the country. But you can minimize your risk of skin cancer by protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. Here are our top tips on how to protect skin from the sun:

1. Wear SPF Daily

It’s important to apply sunscreen every day, whether it’s summer or winter, sunny or cloudy. Apply generously, about 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure to find an option with:

  • Broad-spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
  • SPF 30 or higher
  • Water-resistant

Remember that “water-resistant” doesn’t mean that it’s fully waterproof or sweatproof, so reapplying sunscreen throughout the day is necessary. Reapply every hour if you’re swimming or sweating heavily, otherwise 2 hours. Also, don’t forget to protect your lips! There are many lip balms available with SPF– try to find one with at least SPF 30.

2. Wear Protective Clothing

woman applying sunscreen

Wearing loose, flowy clothing is best for protecting your skin from sun damage, especially your arms, shoulders, and legs. Thicker fabrics and darker colors block more of the sun’s rays, and you can also find lightweight tops and bottoms made from special protective materials. Look for labels that say UV protection factor (UPF). The higher the number, the better the sun protection!

3. Don’t Forget Accessories

Protect your face, ears, neck, and scalp by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Baseball caps and other hats aren’t as effective since they may not protect areas such as the ears and neck. Look for a hat with a brim of at least a 3-inch diameter for the most effective protection. Sunglasses with UV absorption help protect your eyes and the sensitive skin around them. It’s tricky to know from just the color of the lenses– make sure they’re ones that block 99% or 100% of UVA and UVB rays.

4. Limit Direct Exposure

yellow umbrella and blue sky with clouds

Another tip on how to protect skin from the sun is to seek shade whenever possible and limit direct sunlight during times of peak sun exposure which is typically from 10 AM to 4 PM. Remember the shadow rule: if your shadow is shorter than you are, then UV exposure is high!

Know Medication Side Effects

Something to keep in mind is the medications you’re currently taking and their possible side effects. Some common medicines such as antibiotics, blood pressure medications, and chemotherapies can cause sun sensitivity, so it’s important to be aware of possible negative reactions. If you are taking a medication that increases the danger of sun exposure, definitely take special care to avoid peak times of strong sunlight and pay extra attention to applying sunscreen, wearing protective clothing and accessories, and seeking shade whenever possible.

Now that you know how to protect skin from the sun, you can enjoy the great outdoors and keep the risk of skin cancer low. If you have any questions, contact us, and we’d be happy to help!