With the warm weather and longer days, spending time outdoors becomes a favorite pastime for many. Whether you're hiking, at the beach, or enjoying a picnic, it's important to stay sun safe to protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to stay sun safe while making the most of your time outdoors.

Understanding The Risks Of Sun Exposure

Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to several health issues, including:

  • Sunburn: Painful, red skin that can peel and blister.
  • Premature Aging: UV exposure can accelerate the development of wrinkles, age spots, and loss of skin elasticity.
  • Skin Cancer: Increased exposure to UV radiation heightens the risk of developing skin cancers, including melanoma, which can be deadly.
    Two adults and a child paddling in the sea on a bright sunny day at the beach

To enjoy the sun safely, it’s essential to follow a few key protective measures.


Essential Tips For Sun Safety

Use Sunscreen Effectively

  • Choose the Right Sunscreen: Select a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, with an SPF of at least 30.
  • Apply Generously: Apply a thick layer of sunscreen to all exposed skin about 15 minutes before going outside. Don’t forget often-missed spots like the ears, back of the neck, and tops of the feet. For good practice, read our blog article: The Art Of Suncream Application
  • Reapply Regularly: Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if swimming, sweating, or towel-drying. 
  • Applying sun cream to a persons skin

Wear Protective Clothing

  • Opt for long sleeves and trousers: Lightweight, long-sleeve shirts and trousers provide an effective barrier against UV rays. Look for clothing with a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rating.
  • Choose Dark Colors: Darker colors generally offer more UV protection than lighter shades.
  • Wear a Wide-Brimmed Hat: A hat with a wide brim can protect your face, neck, and ears from sun exposure.
    Wide brimmed hat being worn by a person in the sun

Seek Shade

  • Avoid Peak Sun Hours: The sun’s rays are strongest between 10am and 4pm. If possible, schedule outdoor activities for early morning or late afternoon.
  • Use Umbrellas or Sun Shelters: Create your own shade with umbrellas, tents, or sun shelters, especially during peak sun intensity hours.
    Parasols providing shade form the sun on the beach

Protect Your Eyes

  • Wear Sunglasses: Choose sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays to protect your eyes and the surrounding skin.
  • Look for Wraparound Styles: Sunglasses that wrap around your face can prevent UV rays from entering from the sides.
    Wall of different sunglasses styles and colours

Stay Hydrated

  • Drink Plenty of Water: Staying hydrated is crucial, especially when spending extended periods in the sun. Drink water regularly to avoid dehydration.
  • Eat Hydrating Foods: Incorporate fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as watermelon, cucumber, and oranges, into your diet.
    Three plastic water bottles

Be Extra Cautious for Children and Babies

  • Keep Babies Under 6 Months Out of Direct Sunlight: Their skin is highly sensitive to UV rays. 
  • Use Sun Protection for Older Children: Teach children to apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing. Set a good example by following sun safety practices yourself
    Child sheltering from the sun in a Littlelife beach sheleter

Monitor Your Skin

  • Regular Skin Checks: Perform regular self-examinations to check for any new or changing moles or spots on your skin. Early detection of skin changes can be crucial in preventing skin cancer.
  • Visit a Doctor: Schedule a checkup with your doctor if you have any concerns with your skin.
    Tanned skin showing arm hair and a large mole

Staying Sun Safe - Conclusion

Staying sun safe doesn’t mean you have to avoid the outdoors. By taking a few simple precautions, you can protect your skin from harmful UV rays and reduce the risk of sun-related health issues. Remember to apply sunscreen, wear protective clothing, seek shade, and stay hydrated. With these practices, you can enjoy sunny days safely and confidently.