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The Best Ways to Protect Your Skin From the Sun (Without Hiding Indoors All Summer)

Summer is a wonderful time to spend outdoors, enjoying hikes, taking strolls along the beach, and sitting around barbecues with friends and family. But this is also the time of the year when skincare, or rather skin protection, is even more important because sun damage doesn’t just accelerate aging and cause sunburn, it can also result in skin cancer.

One of the easiest ways to prevent sun damage is with sunscreen, which might sound like a simple solution, but the percentage of people who regularly use it is shockingly low. According to, a study showed that just 14 percent of American men, and 30 percent of women, regularly applied sunscreen to exposed skin when spending more than an hour outdoors.

The publication recommends using sunscreen every day, even when it’s overcast, and the product should be a broad spectrum sunscreen (that protects from ultraviolet A (UVA) rays, and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays) which contains at least 30 SPF. Be sure to use enough sunscreen, and apply it at least 20 minutes before exposure to the sun. Reapply throughout the day, especially if swimming or if you have been sweating. And, if possible, avoid the sun during the hottest times of the day: “between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UVB rays are strongest,” WebMD reports.

Sunscreen can be tricky to use every day, especially when applying a full face of makeup, which is why it’s helpful to also use makeup products that contain a sun protection factor. Primers, foundations, and moisturizers with at least 30 SPF will do wonders for your skin.

Although it’s unlikely people want to go out in the heat with dark, tightly woven clothing which covers their arms and legs, this is another way to prevent sun damage. An alternative would be to cover up with sun hats (like a wide-brimmed style), oversized sunglasses, and geometric prints—try to avoid white because according to, it doesn’t block out as much sun. It’s also worth mentioning that some clothing has a higher ultraviolet protection factor, and Harvard Health Publishing notes that it’s best to “look for a UPF of 40 or more, and make sure the product is certified by the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists (AATCC) or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).”

[Image via Shutterstock]

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