Skin and the Sun: Safe Practices for Sun Protection

by | Apr 5, 2024 | Blog, Healthy Skin, Skin Care

With the sun’s rays beckoning us outdoors, it’s more important than ever to discuss skin safety. Whether you’re planning a beach vacation or just spending more time in the garden, understanding how to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful effects is crucial. In this blog, we’ll uncover the essentials of sun protection, from picking the right sunscreen to the importance of shade and protective clothing.

Understanding UV Protection

Before we jump into protection strategies, it’s important to understand what we’re protecting against. Ultraviolet (UV) rays, although invisible to the naked eye, can lead to sunburn, skin aging, eye damage, and increase the risk of skin cancer.

“No matter the season, the sun emits harmful UV rays year-round,” says Dr. Ava Green, a leading dermatologist. “Sun protection isn’t just a summer concern; it’s a daily commitment to your health.”

Actionable Sun Protection Tips

Seek Shade

It’s not just about slathering on sunscreen. Shade can significantly reduce your risk of UV skin damage. While under an umbrella or tree, don’t forget that UV rays can reflect off surfaces like water or sand, so wearing sunscreen or protective clothing is still important.

Clothing Is Your First Defense

Before you reach for the lotion, consider your outfit. Tightly woven, long-sleeved shirts, and pants can provide an effective UV barrier. Opt for darker colors for even better protection.

Hats Off to Sun Safety

A broad-brimmed hat is one of your best defenses against UV rays capable of reaching your face, ears, and neck. The ideal choice is one made from tightly woven fabric such as canvas; steer clear of straw hats with holes that compromise protection.

Eyes on the Prize: Sunglasses

Sunglasses are more than just a style statement. Ensure your shades block both UVA and UVB rays, reducing the risk of cataracts. Wrap-around sunglasses are most effective at blocking rays from entering the sides.

Sunscreen Savvy

Sunscreen is a must. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher:

  • Apply generously to all exposed skin.
  • Reapply every 2 hours, or after swimming or sweating.
  • Note that babies under six months should be kept out of the sun rather than using sunscreen.
The Science of Sunscreen

The FDA regulates sunscreens for both safety and effectiveness. Amidst recent recalls over concerns like benzene contamination, select those with broad-spectrum protection and be aware of expiration dates.

When to Watch Out

The sun is strongest between 10am and 2pm. Plan your activities outside of these hours when possible, and always wear protective clothing and sunscreen when outdoors.

The Right Way to Read Sunscreen Labels

Labels can be confusing. Always look for “broad-spectrum” and a minimum SPF of 15. Be cautious of claims like “waterproof,” as no sunscreen completely repels water. Instead, look for water resistance ratings and reapply as directed.

Know Your Risk Factors

Some of us are more at risk when it comes to the sun. Those with pale skin, red or blonde hair, a family history of skin cancer, or on certain medications should take extra precautions. Understand your risk factors and protect your skin accordingly.

The FDA’s Future of Sunscreen

The FDA is working to further improve sunscreen standards. This includes revisiting SPF labeling to ensure clarity for consumers and proposing that all sunscreens have broad-spectrum coverage.

Eye Protection Isn’t an Accessory

When selecting sunglasses, prioritize UV protection. Lenses with UV400 rating or “100% UV protection” protect the eyes effectively, while dark-tinted lenses without proper UV filters can harm more than help.


Protecting your skin from the sun is an investment in your long-term health. Combine shade, clothing, hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen for comprehensive protection. By doing so, you drastically reduce the risk of unwanted consequences such as skin cancer.

If you’re looking to tailor your sun protection to your particular skin needs or have concerns about the health of your skin, consider consulting with professionals like those at Complete Family Dermatology. Reach out today and bask in the sun, safely and confidently.

Remember, every precaution taken is a step toward a healthier you. Stay protected and enjoy the beauty of sunny days responsibly!

Reach Out to Complete Family Dermatology

Ready for personalized skin care guidance? Contact Complete Family Dermatology for expert advice tailored to you.



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