Sunscreen is a must, especially when vacationing at the beach! It might be hard to remember your sunscreen when you just want to have fun in the sun, but too much sun can be damaging to unprotected skin. It can cause skin damage, skin cancer, eye damage, and it can even suppress your immune system. There are many factors that impact how much sun we get. Some people are able to avoid the sun and have good color year-round, but for most of us, there is a cost to sun-kissed skin.
Though it might be tempting to forgo sunscreen for a natural tan, it isn’t worth the risk. Using sunscreen has many benefits. Sunscreen helps reduce the signs of aging, including preventing sunspots, premature wrinkles, and blood vessels from breaking. It can also protect the skin from minor and serious sunburns, which in turn reduces the risk of developing skin cancer. To avoid the dangers of unprotected sun exposure, use sunscreen every day—especially when at the beach!
Check out these tips for using sunscreen at the beach so you can protect your skin while having fun.
Choose the Right Sunscreen for Your Skin
We live in a world with so many choices for everything, including sunscreen, which can make finding the right sunscreen feel overwhelming. But it doesn’t have to be! There are a few things to consider when selecting the sunscreen that will work for you: SPF, active ingredients, and your level of sun exposure. SPF is the sun protection factor of sunscreen. The lower the SPF, the lower the sunscreen protection. Typically, an SPF of 15 is sufficient for daily use. Still, you’ll likely want something with SPF 30 to 50 when spending a lot of time outdoors at the beach or swimming in the gulf (or ocean). You’ll also want a sunscreen that has broad-spectrum coverage, as this protects you from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to look at the active ingredients and select a sunscreen that has titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and avobenzone, and avoid those with vitamin A. Another factor to consider, particularly if you’ll be doing a lot of swimming or sweating, is making sure your sunscreen is water-resistant. By following these guidelines, you should be able to choose the right sunscreen for you and avoid the dangers of selecting the wrong sunscreen, such as one with a low SPF or without broad-spectrum coverage.
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Properly Apply Your Sunscreen
Once you’ve found the right sunscreen for you, you’ll want to make sure you apply it properly. There are three common sunscreen types: sunscreen sprays, sunscreen lotions, and sunscreen sticks (and powder sunscreen). For each of these, you want to be sure to apply about an ounce of sunscreen to all exposed areas of the skin. This includes hard-to-remember spots, like lips, scalp, ears, tops of your feet, and behind your knees. Apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside—don’t wait until you’re already at the beach! You will also want to reapply your sunscreen often, about every two hours or right after swimming or sweating.
Mistakes to avoid when applying sunscreen include:
- Using an old or expired product.
- Applying too little sunscreen.
- Forgetting to reapply.
- Not using sunscreen on cloudy/overcast days.
- Forgetting to apply to exposed areas.
Use Sunscreen Even When Using a Tinted Moisturizer
You may think that your tinted moisturizer with SPF means you don’t need to apply sunscreen to your face. While your moisturizer might provide some level of sun protection, it doesn’t hurt to add extra sunscreen as coverage. It’s also important to be mindful of how much moisturizer you use—if you haven’t used the full amount of moisturizer, you may not have as much protection as you think. Additionally, if you’re going to be in the sun for a long time, you’ll want another layer of sunscreen with a higher SPF to protect your face from sun damage.
Wearing sunscreen every day is an easy way to protect your skin from the damage caused by the sun’s harmful rays. It’s especially important to wear sunscreen during a beach vacation, as you can often spend hours having fun in the sun without realizing it. If you can get into those good habits now, you will continue to protect your skin for the future!
Don't know which beach to visit next? Check out: Which Beach has the Clearest Water in Florida?