Hot summer days are the perfect time to go to the beach. Unfortunately, those days in the sun can result in sunburn, which can be unpleasant at best and downright painful at worst—not to mention how it increases your risk of skin cancer. Are you looking for ways to decrease sun exposure for yourself and your kids this year? Try some of these key strategies.
A physical barrier is often the most effective way to decrease overall sun exposure at the beach. Put the kids in swim shirts to help cover the shoulders and stave off uncomfortable sunburns. Keep in mind that girls’ swimsuits alone may not adequately cover the shoulders, which may be most prone to burning. You can also put on a long-sleeve shirt or rash guard to help decrease overall sun exposure when you’re out of the water.
In addition to swim shirts, you might:
- Add a hat to your beach outfit. A simple baseball cap can help prevent sunshine from touching your face or decrease the risk of burns on the scalp, especially for those with close-cropped hair. A wide-brimmed hat may be more effective for further reducing sun exposure.
- Wear sunglasses. Make sure you’re protecting your eyes from the sun, too!
- Put up a tent or umbrella when you’re not playing in the surf. While you may not want to keep an umbrella or tent very close to the water, it can serve as an effective barrier against the sun while you’re playing in the sand.
Make sure to monitor kids for signs of burning and remove them from the sun if they get too hot or red. Physical barriers are particularly important for babies under six months who may not be able to wear sunscreen.
It’s essential to wear sunscreen daily, any time you’ll be out in the sun. When you’re out at the beach, under the sun’s hot rays, it’s even more important to make sure you’re slathering it on! There are many sunscreen options to choose from—and not all sunscreens are created equal.
- Sunscreens that contain titanium dioxide or zinc help provide a physical barrier that reflects the sun’s rays like a mirror, guiding it away from your body. This is one of the most effective sunscreen methods.
- Spray-on sunscreens can be just as effective as rub-on sunscreens. However, it’s important to ensure that you’re applying adequate sunscreen since most people don’t. You should spray each area of your body for a minimum of six seconds to achieve adequate coverage.
- Look for a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. More isn’t always necessarily better: very high SPF products may contain more chemicals likely to cause an allergic reaction.
- Apply sunscreen at the right time: ideally, at least 15 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours or after getting out of the water. When in doubt, apply more often!
- Look for a sunscreen that helps protect against both UVA and UVB exposure.
Keeping yourself and your kids safe from the sun is essential through the hot summer months, whether you’re hanging out at the beach or exploring the local area. With these strategies, you can help reduce sun exposure, decrease the risk of sunburns, and make your entire vacation more enjoyable for everyone involved.
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