5 Summer Sun Safety Tips

In June 20, 2018

The start of summer is upon us, schools across the country are on break, and people everywhere are looking forward to some great summer vacationing! With summer comes lots of time spent outside in the sunshine, but even that comes with its risks. We’ve put together some summer sun safety tips so that you and your family can enjoy those sunny rays without having to worry about getting burned.

Sun protection

Sun protection is one of the most important things to consider when spending time outside!

  1. Sunscreen or sunblock? Is there really a difference? Yes, in how they work but thanks to modern technology most products referred to as simply sunscreen contain work in both ways (as a sunscreen and a sunblock). That is, as long as it’s broad spectrum. While most people know that SPF stands for sun protection factor, what you may not know is that there are two different kinds of rays emitted by the sun – UVA and UVB. Both can do damage to the skin, so make sure you use a product that protects from both. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, either sunblock or sunscreen is fine, so long as it protects from both UVA and UVB rays in a broad spectrum protection product.
  2. Sun Shirts – yes, that’s really a thing these days. Just like the name suggests, they are shirts that protect from the sun. You may not have been aware but not all fabrics actually block out the harmful ultraviolet rays so when it comes to sun protection, if you’re looking for a sun shirt, make sure to check the UPF listed. Similar to SPF, in clothes the sun protection is referred to as ultraviolet protection factor which is why you may see UPF rather than SPF on the label. You can learn more about sun protection clothing on the Skin Cancer Foundation’s website. Bonus – some sun protection clothing now even has insect repellent built in. Score!
  3. Wear a hat but not just any hat. The American Cancer Society recommends a broad brimmed hat to offer protection from the sun as a part of their fun, easy to remember catchphrase, “Slip! Slop! Slap!® and Wrap”.
  4. Sun safety for kids is even more important as their young skin can be more sensitive to the sun than that of adults. KidsHealth.org recommends in addition to using a baby-safe sunscreen, also making sure to have shade available at all times as children can burn much faster and should never be in the sun all day, even with sunscreen on. Pack an umbrella, a sunshade, or pop up tent to keep your child out of the harmful rays but still enjoying that summer vacation!
  5. Check any medications you or your family may be taking. Some medicines can cause increased sensitivity to the sun that can make someone sunburn in record – and dangerous – time! If you are on any medications, even over the counter or prescription, be sure to ask your doctor or pharmacist about any potential interaction or risks associated with being out in the sun. WebMD has a quick reference list of sun-sensitizing medications, but it’s important to also always speak with your doctor or pharmacist as every person reacts to medication differently and only your health care professionals will know what is right for you.
Summer vacation with the kids

Summer vacation with the kids

So there you have it – five quick tips for summer sun safety tips for sun protection on summer vacation. Whether you’re headed to the beach, the mountains, the woods, or an awesome theme park, being protected from the sun is important. If you’re traveling domestically or internationally, also keep in mind that the closer to the equator you get, the stronger the sun’s rays are. While it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere right now, even bright sun reflected off snow can damage your skin. So even for those of you heading on skiing vacations in South America, don’t just pack your passport (make sure it’s current), pack that sunscreen too! Not only will it help reduce damage to your skin, it can also prevent painful sunburn which can definitely put a damper on those fun activities you have planned with the family. Now go enjoy that vitamin D – safely please!

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