Let’s start this conversation off with the topic of SPF, because we already know those UVA/UVB rays are going to be changing they way we pretty much do everything. So, to be pretty blunt, use it!
1. Choose the right sunscreen. This involves a few different factors, so let’s break it down right away for you.
- Remember what that SPF number means: it tells you how long you can stay in the sun without getting burned. An SPF of 15 means that you can be in the sun for fifteen times longer without burning than you’d be able to without sunscreen. If you’re planning on being outside for hours, a higher SPF may be appropriate.
- But, slapping on an SPF 60 once in the morning doesn’t mean you’re protected for the rest of the day. Sunscreens wear off surprisingly fast, even faster if you come in contact with water. Even most high quality waterproof sunscreens only have a resiliency for about 80 minutes, and that’s without toweling off. To play it safe, reapply often and take breaks from direct sunlight. Remember, sunscreen can only protect you from sun damage, it can’t reverse any damage already done. If you get burnt, you’re burnt.
- But a good SPF isn’t the only thing you need to look for—you need to make sure that your sunscreen of choice offers broad spectrum protection. This means it’s going to protect you from both UVB rays (which cause burning) and the deeper-penetrating UVA rays (which cause premature aging, fine lines, and can cause skin cancer). Reach for a sunscreen like La Roche-Posay Anthelios Ultra Light Suncreen Fluid that blocks both UVA/UVB rays, and go for physical sunscreens if you’re sensitive to chemicals.
2. Apply generously. Wearing sunscreen is a great start, but it won’t live up to its sun protection potential if you’re not putting enough on. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends following the “one ounce, enough to fill a shot glass” rule. That means applying as much sunscreen as would fit into a shot glass over every exposed part of your body. This will tell how long your tube of sunscreen will last—hint, probably not the entire summer.
3. Don’t lean on clothes for protection. Covering up is a great added measure of protection, but experts say that an average tee only provides an SPF of about 8. Pretty slim, right? Load up on the sunscreen before covering up with clothes, whether tha be linen or board shorts.
4. Don’t miss those hard-to-reach or easily forgotten spots, like your ears, behind your knees, the tops of your feet, and even your scalp. If it’s exposed, it’s getting some love from the sun.