When the summer months roll around, there’s nothing better than spending the entire day outside surrounded by friends and family. But while you might be spending all your time hanging out and having fun, you could be putting yourself at risk in the process by not protecting your skin in the process.
The facts are scary: The World Health Organization reported that there are around two to three million skin cancer cases per year, including another 132,000 cases of melanoma skin cancer. Additionally, one out of every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer, and many are preventable through simple daily actions.
Luckily, there are several key precautions you can take before you head out for your day in the sun to ensure that your skin is protected before, during, and after your daily routine, so you can focus on the activities and people who mean the most to you. These types of preventative measure include:
- Making sure to use sunscreen every day and be diligent about reapplying it on sun-heavy days.
- Wearing strong outerwear and accessories to protect yourself from further sun exposure.
- Staying hydrated all the time, especially during time outdoors or doing strenuous activities outdoors.
- Taking care of your skin after spending prolonged time outside, even if there aren’t any noticeable sunburns or blisters to tend to.
To make sure you’re ready for a summer of sun protected from the rays, here’s your guide to preparing your skin for a day outside.
When it comes to skincare, the best thing you can do for your skin is use a high-SPF sunscreen (at least SPF 15 or 20) every day, and on sunny outdoor days, reapply it every one to two hours. You should also aim to use a sunscreen that’s “broad spectrum,” meaning that it protect your skin against UVA and UVB rays. Some of the best options to try are:
- Banana Boat Sport Performance Faces Sunscreen Lotion ($6.44)
- Eucerin Daily Protection Face Lotion ($6.47)
- Badger SPF 35 Sport Sunscreen Cream ($13.99)
If you’re looking for face-specific sun protection, try out Dove Men + Care Face Lotion ($9.73) or Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer ($19.50). And remember: The sun’s rays are out even on cloudy days, so don’t skimp on sun protections just because it’s overcast!
Additionally, one of the most important parts of sunscreen application is when you do it; sunscreens should be applied at least 20 minutes before sun exposure to ensure that they’re absorbed into the skin and most effective. This is especially important if you’re heading somewhere like a pool or the beach (where freshly applied sunscreen could come off upon water entry) or if you’re doing activities where you sweat a lot.
In addition to sunscreen, wear the right clothing and accessories to make sure your skin is prepared and protected. Be sure to bring a hat with you and clothing options like long-sleeve shirts and other cover-ups with tight knit patterns. Even if you’re headed to the beach or somewhere where your skin will be exposed, it’s important to bring these clothing items so you can cover up at the end of the day or when you start to feel burned.
Something else to bring with you? Sunglasses. Find a pair that protects your eyes from UVA and UVB rays. Cool shades you could slip on include:
- Warby Parker Topper Sunglasses ($95.00)
- MVMT Runway Sunglasses ($75.00)
- Huckberry Madronas Sunglasses ($44.98)
Hey, just because you’re protecting yourself from damaging sun rays doesn’t mean you can’t look good doing it.
Your body becomes dehydrated when you’re outside in the sun, so be sure you’re drinking a steady stream of water before, during, and after you’re out.
Just how much water should you be consuming? Experts recommend 16 to 20 fluid ounces of water before you’re outdoors. While you’re enjoying the sunshine, follow up with six to 12 fluid ounces for every 15 minutes you’re outside. Once you back indoors, end your day with another 16 to 20 fluid ounces of water. You’re also free to add a sports drink or other beverage that restores your body’s depleted sodium or potassium levels, but steer clear of dehydrating drinks like soda and coffee.
If you want to look trendy while you hydrate, there are plenty of great water bottle options for you to choose from, including:
- Stanley Classic Vacuum Bottle ($30.00)
- S’well Smokey Quartz Bottle ($25.00)
- Brita Fill and Go Water Filter Bottle ($29.98)
The bottom line? When in doubt, take a swig of water. If you’re feeling dehydrated, you probably are. Step out of the sun, drink some water and check in with how you’re feeling.
Even if you don’t show any signs of a sunburn after spending all day outside, it’s still important to take several recovery steps to ensure that your skin doesn’t suffer long-term damage.
Once you get home, take a cool shower, exfoliate, and apply a moisturizer to remove any dead skin cells and recover. If you have sunburnt areas, apply a cooling aloe vera gel to heal your skin. You may also want to consider spot-treating for specific areas, like using a hydrating lip balm for your lips and moisturizing eye cream for your under-eye area.
Want to get started on the moisturizer train? There are a few products to try out:
- Lavo Daily Moisturizing Cream ($20.85)
- Jack Black Double-Duty Face Moisturizer ($28.00)
- Lab Series Night Recovery Lotion for Men ($33.25)
It’s extra important to do all of these steps continuously (not just when you get a gnarly sunburn). Remember that your skin requires constant attention.
While it’s easy to throw caution to the wind and just head out into the sun with no preparation, doing so can create serious short-term (hello, lobster look) and long-term problems for your skin and your health overall. By taking the time to ensure that your skin is properly protected and your body is ready to spend an extended period of time in the sun, you’ll be able to rest easy knowing that you took care of yourself.