I used to be one of those people who thought she’d never burn. I took this mindset with me as I visited the Bahamas and decided to lay out all day. I got back home with a huge burn on my chest. Learn from my mistake. Everyone burns; skin is skin. Take care of it now; you’ll thank me later.
This summer essential absorbs or reflects some of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation helping to prevent skin cancer. Many sunscreens do not block UVA radiation, which does not cause sunburn but can increase the rate of melanoma, so you could be exposed to high UVA levels without realizing it. Using broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen protects you from both types of sunrays. Be sure to cover all exposed skin, including the part in your hair, the top of your ears and your feet. Purchase an SPF over 30 and apply before heading outside.
Most of us seek shade as an escape from the heat. While shade is a great respite, it’s also saving your life. Shade protects you from the damaging effects of the suns UV rays, but not all shades are created equally. What’s the best shade for you? Trees! Trees with large spread of dense foliage best protect us from the sun. If you can, choose a tree near other trees or buildings to further block out the sky.
3. Protect Yourself from the Elements
Pool chlorine and sea salt can irritate your skin, and the constant heat can dehydrate you. Be sure to rinse off thoroughly with fresh water after hitting the beach or pool and say hydrated by drinking at least eight glasses of water every day (more if you’re out and sweating a lot).
Resource: Daily Glow
4. Avoid Peak hours of the Sun
The sun’s rays are the strongest from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., and you risk the most skin damage if you head outside during those hours, especially during the summer. Don’t think you’re protected on overcast days — the most damaging ultraviolet rays penetrate cloud cover.
Resource: Daily Glow
5. Change Your Pillow Case
This is something you might not think about, but oil collects on your pillow after you sleep on it each night. This is often the reason why your face feels greasy when you wake up.
6. Reapply Sunscreen
Sunscreen only lasts about two hours after application and needs to be reapplied in sufficient quantities, probably about the size of a quarter onto the hand and apply that dollop or quarter onto the face for adequate protection.
An SPF of 30 is probably the magic number. You can also protect your skin with clothing: hats, umbrellas and tightly woven clothing.
Already been burned? Follow these tips (resource: skincancer.org)
After a cool shower or bath, slather on a moisturizing cream or lotion to soothe the skin. Repeat frequently to make peeling and flaking less noticeable. And consider a product containing vitamin C and vitamin E: It might help limit skin damage (though studies have not proved that), says Shawn Allen, a dermatologist in Boulder, Colo., and spokesman for The Skin Cancer Foundation. It’s also OK to use a hydrocortisone cream for a day or two to relieve discomfort, Allen says. Not OK: scrubbing, picking or peeling your skin or breaking blisters.
Any burn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body. So drink extra water, juice and sports drinks for a couple of days and watch for signs of dehydration: Dry mouth, thirst, reduced urination, headache, dizziness and sleepiness. Children are especially vulnerable, so check with a doctor if they appear ill.
9. Don’t Wait to Medicate
Take (or give your child) a dose of ibuprofen (for example, Advil) as soon as you see signs of sunburn and keep it up for the next 48 hours, Schmitt advises. “It cuts back on the swelling and redness that is going to occur” and might prevent some long-term skin damage. “It’s not just treating the symptoms; it’s treating the severity of the symptoms.” Acetaminophen (for example, Tylenol) will treat the pain, but does not have the same anti-inflammatory effect.
10. BE SMART
- Wear sunblock
- If you stay outside all day, reapply
- Find shade when you need to.
Take care of yourself and enjoy summer.