Spending time in the sun can be both enjoyable and beneficial for our mood and health, but it also requires responsible skincare to protect against potential damage. Whether you’re lounging on the beach, hiking through nature, or simply enjoying a sunny day in your backyard, here are essential tips for keeping your skin healthy and radiant under the sun.

Wear Sunscreen

Sunscreen is your first line of defense against harmful UV rays. Opt for a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) 30 or higher. Apply it generously to all exposed skin areas about 15-30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, or more frequently if you’re swimming or sweating heavily. Don’t forget commonly missed spots like ears, lips, back of the neck, and tops of feet.

Seek Shade

While sunscreen is crucial, it’s also wise to seek shade, especially during peak sun hours between 10 am and 4 pm when UV rays are strongest. Shade from trees, umbrellas, or buildings can significantly reduce your UV exposure and help prevent sunburn and premature aging.

Wear Protective Clothing

Clothing can be an excellent barrier against UV rays. Opt for lightweight, tightly woven fabrics that cover your arms and legs. Wide-brimmed hats can provide shade for your face, neck, and ears, while sunglasses with UV protection shield your eyes and the sensitive skin around them.

Stay Hydrated

Proper hydration is essential for maintaining healthy skin in the sun. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration, which can make your skin more vulnerable to damage. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine, as they can dehydrate your body and skin.

Be Mindful of Reflections

Water, sand, snow, and even concrete can reflect UV rays and increase your overall exposure. Take extra precautions in these environments by applying sunscreen more frequently and wearing protective clothing and eyewear.

Check Medications

Certain medications, such as antibiotics, acne treatments, and some herbal supplements, can increase your skin’s sensitivity to the sun. Check with your healthcare provider or pharmacist to see if any of your medications could make you more susceptible to sunburn.

Practice Sun-Smart Habits

Developing sun-smart habits can help protect your skin year-round. Make sunscreen application part of your daily routine, regardless of the weather or season. Consider using a moisturizer or makeup with SPF for added protection. Teach children sun-safe habits early to instill lifelong practices.

Monitor Your Skin

Regularly check your skin for any changes, including new moles, freckles, or spots that change in size, shape, or color. Early detection of skin changes can be crucial in identifying potential skin issues, including skin cancer.

After-Sun Care

After spending time in the sun, treat your skin with care. Take a cool shower or bath to soothe sun-exposed skin, and apply a moisturizing lotion or aloe vera gel to replenish hydration and help repair any sun damage. Avoid products that contain alcohol, which can further dry out your skin.

Know When to Seek Medical Attention

If you experience severe sunburn, blistering, or sun poisoning symptoms such as fever, chills, nausea, or dizziness, seek medical attention promptly. These could be signs of a more serious sun-related illness that requires medical intervention.

By following these tips, you can enjoy the sun safely while protecting your skin from its harmful effects. Remember, good sun protection practices not only prevent sunburn and premature aging but also contribute to the long-term health and beauty of your skin. Enjoy the outdoors responsibly and cherish the sunshine while keeping your skin healthy and radiant.

Central Oregon Dermatology – (541) 678-0020