Summer is coming soon. Whether you’re going to the beach, grilling in your backyard, going for a swim in the pool, or just walking around town, everyone loves having fun in the sun during Summer. Longer days and higher temperatures also increase the chance of UV rays from the sun damaging your skin. Sun damage leads to many types of cancer, and is a key contributor to forming wrinkles. Even if you don’t get a sunburn, your skin is still at risk. So how do we protect ourselves and keep our skin healthy?

1. Apply sunscreen regularly

Sun damage is caused by UV rays penetrating to the middle layer of skin (the dermis) and damaging it. Applying sunscreen or other high SPF products regularly can help minimize those effects by blocking the UV rays. It is recommended to use at least SPF 30 to get optimal protection for your skin. Be sure to apply to all areas that are exposed to the sun, especially the face, neck, shoulders, and ears 20-30 minutes before sun exposure. It should only take about 1-2 tablespoons to cover adequately. Re-apply every two hours (or more often for children) and after swimming, toweling, or excessive sweating.

2. Wear sun protective clothing

Sun protective clothing, such as sun hats which shade the face and neck, will greatly limit your skin’s exposure to the sun in those areas. You will still need sunscreen for the rest of your exposed skin, but the more you cover, the lower your risk of sun damage.

3. Seek shade when possible

In addition to wearing the right clothing and adequate sunscreen application, sitting or standing in the shade when possible greatly reduces the skins exposure to UV rays. In a backyard, find a nice shady tree, or consider putting up a sun tent. At the beach, umbrellas, sun tents, and other portable shade options are a great way to enjoy the outdoors without damaging your skin.

4. Try to minimize time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

During this time in the Summer, the sun’s rays are beaming down the strongest and the hottest. Although this is a great time for a lot of people to go out and have fun outside, it is safest to limit sun exposure during this time as much as possible. Try to plan outdoor activities around this time, or have shade options available.

5. Use skin care products like Retinol or peels at night

Certain skincare products, such as Retinol, or AHA’s can cause your skin to be more sensitive to the sun. To still enjoy the skin benefits of these products without increasing your risk of sun damage, apply them at night, and wash your face in the morning.

6. Don’t go overboard

There are some benefits of sun exposure, such as helping the skin produce vitamin D. About 2-3 20-30 minute sessions in the sun a week with bare skin will allow your skin to reap the benefits of sunlight without much risk of sun damage. For people with especially fair complexions who burn easier, vitamin D supplements are a good way to balance out avoiding the sun’s rays.

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