Sunburns are coming. They happen to the best of us. The sun shines and the pool beckons and we are filled with the burning desire to get some color. But after a long winter, it is easy for that burning desire to turn in to another kind of burn, the painful red kind that turns your skin flaky after a few days. Sunburn will keep you away from the pool for a few weeks, but it also leaves a more permanent mark.
The sun’s UV light damages fibers in skin called elastin, causing your skin to break down and sag. So trying to look better with some color in the short term can sabotage your future looks. It also has more nefarious damage, such as causing pre-cancerous skin lesions, tumors, and melanoma.
But your body also craves the sun and the mood-balancing properties of Vitamin D, and life is too short to hide from the light forever. Luckily you can take these steps to prevent sunburns:
Apply SPF 15-50 Sunscreen Every 2 Hours
The sun can be a blessing and a curse. When trying to get your tan on, sometimes things don’t go as planned and you end up with a 2nd degree burn (thanks, sun!) Sunscreen that contains SPF 15, 30, or 50 is going to protect your skin best if you’re spending time outdoors, but the higher the SPF the better. For optimal protection, apply sunscreen about 30 minutes before going outside to let it set. Reapplying every two hours is the average recommendation, but it should be done more frequently after sweating or swimming. When reapplying, don’t forget about the lips and ears, two locations where skin cancer can also form.
Wear The Correct Type Of Loose Clothing
Obviously, if you’re at the beach sportin’ a swimsuit, clothing isn’t in the picture. But for everyday activities like going to work, traveling, or during any other form of outdoor bustle, you’re going to want to wear the right attire. If you’re one to burn easily, plan on wearing tightly woven/loose fitting clothing. This tactic really helps as a protective barrier against the sun’s rays. Specifically, try to dress in dark colored clothing because they absorb the most UV rays. Wanna wear something fun for summer? Bright colors like red have been shown to help as well!
Limit Exposure Between The Hours Of 12pm-4pm
The sun’s UVB rays are the main reason for sun burning and causing serious consequences like cancer and premature aging. Between the hours of 12pm and 4pm, the sun’s rays are especially dangerous as your skin is most vulnerable to sunburn. If you can help it, it’s best to not be out for an extended period during this time. But if you have no choice, remember to load up on sunscreen and take cover in the shade! It’s essential to nourish your skin, so every time you plan on going outside remember to be smart and prepared!
Protect Your Eyes And Head
Don’t be fooled, hair will protect your head only so much. If you have a kid, it’s especially important for them to stay covered too. The scalp can get burnt pretty fast without us realizing it. Defend your head with a protective hat that covers the shoulders from sun exposure (one that won’t fly off in the wind). The sun can negatively impact the eyes because of how thin and fragile our eyelid skin is. Investing in a good pair of sunglasses that block those harmful UV rays is always a good idea.
Avoid Sun Tanning Oil
- Sorry tanning lovers, but tanning oil does more harm than good. If you’re looking for that “healthy” glow, tanning oil can be risky. The levels of sunscreen in tanning oil are pretty low, so sunburns are best avoided with sunscreen. But don’t worry, you can still get tan! The more you’re looking to get dark, then the more you’re probably loading up on the oil. So applying oil throughout your tanning session instead of sunscreen can promote lots of health problems, like skin cancer. But if you can’t go without it, look for tanning oil that contains a good amount of SPF.
- The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that taking omega-3 fish oils can help protect against sun damage and bolster immunity against the sun. In their study, a 4g dose of omega-3 daily has been shown to reduce sunlight-induced suppression of the immune system. There are plenty of ways to make sure you are getting enough in your diet. In addition to supplements like fish oils, it is found naturally in olive oil and salmon. The health benefits of Omega-3 are more than just skin deep: they also protect the brain.
Decrease Consumption of Processed Foods
Processed foods are bad for you on so many levels, but they also compromise skin quality. Just as you should be loading up on omega-3 fats, you need to avoid diets full of processed foods including vegetable, soy oil, corn oil, and sugars. Avoiding those fatty and fried foods can protect your skin from sun burns, and will make you look even better while you are out at the beach. So the next time you are tempted by a processed food, ask yourself whether you want to be chubby and burned or have a healthy weight and skin. Plus, many processed foods can increase the risk of getting other cancers as well.
Add Antioxidant-Rich Foods To Your Diet
- Antioxidant-rich foods are also a surefire way to increase immunity against harmful sun rays. Cherries, blackberries, kale, and spinach are all foods that are rich in the cancer-fighting antioxidants that protect the cells against the sun. Many of the fruits are also rich in vitamins C and E that will reverse the aging effects of sun damage. So eating healthy will not only lengthen your lifespan, but can supplement your skin care routine.
Invest In A Smart Bracelet
If you wanna go all out to protect that beautiful skin of yours, you might want to get a smart bracelet. The device JUNE by Netatmo syncs right to your iPhone and will notify you about the sun’s UV index (You go, technology!) You’ll even be alerted about when to reapply sunscreen and ways prevent sunburn. So if you want to be health conscious in your everyday life, this might just be a great way to remind you about protecting yourself.