Summer is in full swing in most parts of the country, and our family loves spending time in the outdoors. From fishing, boating, finding sand bars to perch upon and play, swimming playing in our back yard or around town – you can pretty much find us outdoors whenever we aren’t working.
Over the years we have learned the hard way how to protect ourselves from those painful sunburns that we know can be detrimental to your health. Here are the top tips my family has for not turning the color of a lobster while you’re enjoying yourself outside.
Wear Protective Clothing
Even the most diligent mamas can lose track of time and forget to reapply sunscreen to the whole family. This is why we LOVE our long sleeve protective shirts that protect us from both UVA & UVB rays. Our favorites for the kids are UsHood and Coolibar, and I love my long sleeve bathing suit and rash guard from Mott 50 that I purchased at one of my favorite local stores Linen & Waves.
The boys’ long-sleeve shirts have extra fabric around the neck (called neck gaiters) that can be pulled up over the face to protect more of the face. Put some sunglasses on and a hat and the sun has a hard time finding its way to my kiddos faces.
We also love broad brim hats. I finally found one that doesn’t flop in my face and have been wearing it religiously when I am in the sun for long periods of time. The boys always have a hat as well – but they prefer baseball hats for now (except when they’re stealing mine).
This one goes without saying! Apply sunscreen even on cloudy days. SPF 30 or higher that offers broad-spectrum protection from both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Put on sunscreen 15 to 20 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply at least every 2 hours to be safe, more often if you’ve been swimming or sweating a lot.
Watch for uncovered spots (bathing suit lines, ears, behind the neck, on the back of the hands and tops of the feet. It’s easiest to apply before putting on bathing suits! Another tricky spot if you’re like me and part your hair, either wear a hat or apply sunscreen to the exposed scalp (also get up into the hairline). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten sunburned where I part my hair – and when it peels it is like you have a bad case of dandruff – not a great look! I definitely learned my lesson there over the years!
** Be sure to check sunscreen expiration dates – the product’s active ingredients become less effective over time! **
Sunglasses shield your eyes from UV rays that reflect off sand, water, and even snow which further increases your exposure and can even cause your eyes to become sunburned. I prefer polarized sunglasses – they help reduce glare, reflection, and eyestrain.
Whenever possible, seek shade – whether it’s an umbrella or tent you bring to the beach, a tree, or getting creative draping fabric/towels into a makeshift tent. Your skin will thank you!
And Finally– Be Proactive
Don’t skip your yearly visit to the dermatologist and monitoring any changes to moles, freckles, or spots that pop up. Early detection is so important!
Enjoy your time outside this summer!