5 Easy and Effective Ways to Stay Safe in the Sun

Although the summer is coming to a close, the hot sun can still do some serious damage. Sure, you need some time basking in its rays to get that crucial Vitamin D blast for your health, but there’s a fine line between quality sunbathing and cooking yourself to a crisp. Overdoing it in the sun will do a lot more than give you a sunburn. Possible side effects include short term issues like heat stroke, and long term ailments like permanently discolored pigmentation and skin cancer. It’s all about preparation, so here are five easy and effective ways to stay safe in the sun.

One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to pick and choose your sun time properly. The sun is always the most dangerous from the middle of the spring through the middle of the fall, so definitely don’t think you’re out of the woods just because Labor Day is in the rearview mirror. The sun is also at its most damaging before 4PM and after 10AM. Ideally, try to keep your major sun exposure outside of that period. You can also protect yourself by going outside when there is at least a bit of cloud cover, which will cut out one-fifth of those dangerous ultraviolet rays.

The standard way that people protect themselves from the sun is by applying sunscreen. It is definitely effective, but only if you use it properly. Sunscreen isn’t the cure-all, and you definitely can’t put it on once and then forget about it. You should apply the sunscreen around fifteen minutes before you go outside, and choose a quality brand with a SPF of at least fifteen. Also be sure and pick a sunscreen that’s a cream or a lotion instead of a spray, as those options will offer better protection.

Children, seniors and those with sensitive skin or previous skin issues will need some extra attention. Start with dark clothing constructed with a tight weave. Add a hat with a full brim, which should protect your eyes and part of your face. If you can find a full-brimmed hat you’ll also get a bit of neck protection this way. Don’t forget about your eyes, either. You can definitely damage them through too much sun exposure. Grab a pair of shades that offer complete UVA and UVB protection. These aren’t the sort of sunglasses that you’ll find at the gas station. Invest in a quality pair and they’ll last you for years.

Keep in mind that you are being exposed to the sun every day you go outside, not just when you lay out on the beach. So it’s a good idea to think about sun protection as part of your regular skincare routine. For the ladies that means moisturizing lotion that includes SPF protection. You can use it in the morning and your face will be safe all day long, as long as you don’t get very sweaty. Guys can’t go this route, so if you’re planning on being outside for more than fifteen minutes in direct sunlight, apply sunscreen even when you don’t think you need it.

So you’ve got the proper head coverage from hats unlimited, a quality sunscreen slathered everywhere and perhaps a bit of portable shade as well. Just keep in mind that none of these things will prevent heatstroke. The only thing you can do there is to remember to drink water. Hydration is crucial, especially if you’re planning on being active. Stop frequently for sips of water, which will be better for your system than chugging whole glasses all at once. And don’t forget that alcohol and sugary drinks will dehydrate you. Since those frequently go hand in hand with sun exposure, you’ll probably need to up your water intake.