One of the most obvious forms of sun protection (besides simply staying in the shade) is sunscreen, but there are a few things to keep in mind when buying and using sunscreen.
- Read the label. Not all sunscreens are made up of the same ingredients. Some sunscreens contain potentially harmful chemicals that are best avoided. As noted by the Environmental Working Group, it is a safer bet to steer clear of any sunscreens that contain oxybenzone, retinyl palmitate, or insect repellent, as these chemicals have been linked to an increased rate of cancer based on some laboratory studies.
- SPF 30. You will get much better UV protection from sunscreens with SPF 30 or above. SPF 15 just is not strong enough.
- Repeat. Sunscreen should be reapplied every hour or two. Don’t be fooled by “waterproof” or “water resistant” claims. Sunscreen will wear off and leave you with a painful surprise, so reapplying frequently can help avoid burning.
- 30 minute rule. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside.
- Avoid sprays and powders when possible. Due to inhalation, try avoiding spray and powder sunscreens. If this is all you have, spray the sunscreen on your hands first, then apply to your face!
Sunscreen is a necessary first step to protecting your skin from the sun, but there are several other practices we can adopt for a safer sunny days.
- Shade. Consider taking a picnic break in the shade while the sun is at its peak. It is at this point in the day that UV rays are strongest, so it is the perfect time to sit in the shade of a tree and eat!
- BPA free bottles. Keeping our good health in mind, be sure to bring water bottles that are BPA free. A Lifefactory glass bottle is a safer choice to help will keep you hydrated and safe.
- Clothes. Clothing will go a long way to help keep the sun at bay. While outdoors, try to wear a long-sleeve lightweight shirt, hat, and sunglasses.