The best way to avoid sunburn is fairly obvious: Stay out of the sun. Specifically, avoid direct sunlight between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV light is most intense. If you must be outdoors, find shade. If you're heading to the beach, bring a sun umbrella to cast some shade when you're relaxing in the sand [source: Centers for Disease Control].
Most people don't think to protect their lips from sunburn as well. When spending extended periods of time in direct sunlight, be sure to use a lip balm or cream of at least SPF 30 strength [source: WebMD].
Although you may already use sunscreen, there are special techniques to picking and applying the right type for your activity level. Certain sunscreens are advertised as broad spectrum, which means they protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, so use these brands for the best coverage. For maximum effect, wear sunscreen for at least 30 minutes before going into the sun. Finally, you should reapply it every couple of hours, because the SPF values decrease when you sweat or otherwise get wet. Even waterproof sunscreens rub off once you dry yourself with a towel [source: WebMD].
Sun has always come along with sand and surf, but with myriad options for protecting your skin, you can enjoy the beach worry free. If you apply sunscreen regularly, wear sun-protective clothing and eat the foods that scientists say beef up your body's own innate protection, then sunburns, and their accompanying skin damage, will be a lot less likely. Read on to learn even more about different types of sunburn prevention.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Hazards to Outdoor Workers: UV Radiation." 10/22/08. (Accessed 8/10/09)http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/uvradiation/
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- Family Doctor. "Skin Cancer: Reduce Your Risks with 'Safe Sun' Guidelines." (Accessed 8/10/09) http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/common/cancer/risk/614.html
- Federal Trade Commission. "Sunscreens and Sun-Protective Clothing." 4/24/09. (Accessed 8/10/09) http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/health/hea14.shtm
- Gibson, Lawrence. "Are Tanning Beds Safer Than Natural Sunlight?" MayoClinic.com. 10/8/08. (Accessed 8/10/09) http://mayoclinic.com/health/tanning/HQ01487
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- Mayo Clinic. "Sunburn: Definition." 5/19/09. (Accessed 8/10/09)http://mayoclinic.com/health/sunburn/DS00964
- UC San Diego. "Complementary Medicine: Sunburn." 1/21/09. (Accessed 8/10/09)http://myhealth.ucsd.edu/library/healthguide/en-us/Cam/topic.asp?hwid=hn-4398006
- University of Michigan. "Healthwise Knowledgebase: Sunburn." 9/1/07. (Accessed 8/10/09) http://health.med.umich.edu/healthcontent.cfm?xyzpdqabc=0&id=6&action=detail&AEProductID=hw_cam&AEArticleID=hn-4398006
- WebMD. "Melanoma: Topic Overview." 1/11/07. (Accessed 8/10/09)http://www.webmd.com/melanoma-skin-cancer/melanoma-guide/skin-cancer-melanoma-topic-overview
- WebMD. "Protecting Yourself from the Sun --Topic Overview." 7/10/07. (Accessed 8/10/09) http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/protecting-your-skin-from-the-sun-topic-overview