How to Protect Yourself from Sunburn

sunscreen in shape of sun on woman's back

How to Protect Yourself from Sunburn

June 20, 2024

One of the things people look forward to most in the warmer months is getting to spend more time outside. This is the perfect time of year to go fishing, head to the beach, host a cookout, play sports, and enjoy other outdoor activities. However, spending time outside in the sun can lead to sunburn, which can not only be painful but can also contribute to early aging and even skin cancer. If you’re going to spend time outdoors, make sure you follow these tips to protect yourself from sunburn and skin damage.

1. Use Sunscreen

One of the best ways to protect yourself from sunburn is to wear sunscreen. You should apply sunscreen to your skin any time you spend time outdoors, no matter the season. For optimal protection, use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Check the label and make sure it has broad spectrum protection to protect you from both UVA and UVB sun rays. You should apply sunscreen before you go out in the sun, then reapply every two hours to make sure your skin is staying protected. Apply a lip balm with SPF to ensure your lips are also protected.

2. Wear Protective Clothing

young kids wearing sun protective clothing at beach

To protect yourself from sunburn, you should wear clothing that acts as a barrier between your skin and the sun’s harmful rays. It may be tempting to wear light and breezy fabrics to stay cool in the heat. However, thin, loose-knit fabrics allow more UV rays to get through to your skin, which means you could get a sunburn even through your clothes. For complete sun protection, opt for clothing that is made from tightly woven fabrics to block out UV rays. Instead of wearing light colors, choose dark-colored clothing that won’t reflect the sunlight onto your skin and into your eyes. If possible, wear clothes that are labeled with SPF for additional sun protection.

3. Seek Out Shade

One of the easiest ways to avoid sunburn is to avoid direct sunlight. Whenever possible, try seeking out shade. If you are watching a sports game or going to the beach, sit under an umbrella or canopy tent. If you’re having a picnic in the park, try setting up under a shady tree. It’s important to keep in mind that shade does not always offer full protection from the sun, so make sure you are taking other precautions as well such as wearing sunscreen and sun-protective clothing.

4. Wear Sunglasses & Hats

smiling woman wearing sun hat and sunglasses outdoors

A great way to keep UV rays off your face is wearing sunglasses and hats while you’re outdoors. A wide-brimmed hat will provide shade to shelter your face from the sun and help prevent a sunburn. A good pair of sunglasses provides protection for your eyes, which can become damaged from too much sun exposure. For optimal sun protection, try finding sunglasses with lenses that have 99 percent to 100 percent UV absorption. This will protect your eyes from damage that could lead to worsened eyesight.

5. Watch the Clock

If you want to protect your skin from sunburn, you should be mindful of what time you choose to spend time outdoors. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10:00 in the morning and 4:00 in the afternoon. It’s best to avoid being outside in the sun during this period. If you need to be outside during these hours, try to stick to shady spots and make sure you’re taking other precautions against sunburn, such as sunscreen, protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses.

6. Check Your Medications

hand holding prescription bottles and checking their labels

Some medications can increase skin sensitivity, making it more susceptible to damage when exposed to the sun. Take a look at the medications you are taking to see if they put you at a higher risk of sunburn and skin damage. If any of your medications have the potential side effect of increased skin sensitivity, make sure you minimize your exposure to the sun’s rays. Stay out of direct sunlight as much as possible, and make sure you use sunscreen and wear sun-protective clothing.

What to Do if You Get a Sunburn

If you do get a sunburn, it’s important to treat it quickly to minimize the amount of damage to the skin. As soon as you notice a sunburn starting, get out of the sun immediately. A cool shower or cool compress can help stop the burning. Aloe vera gel can be applied to the affected area to soothe the burn. You may find it beneficial to take an over-the-counter pain reliever like acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help ease pain and inflammation. Make sure you keep the sunburned area moisturized to promote healing.

If you have questions about whether your medications cause skin sensitivity to sunlight or you’d like recommendations on products that can protect your skin and keep it healthy, please reach out to us at Springfield Pharmacy. Our knowledgeable and experienced pharmacy team will be happy to answer your questions and provide advice to help you prevent and treat sun damage to maintain healthy skin!