Sun Protection Basics

Sun Protection is a fact of life™

Sun Protection is a fact of life™

Sun protection basics are essential for everyone who wants to enjoy the outdoors without risking skin damage or cancer.

Sun exposure can cause premature aging, wrinkles, sunburns, and even melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer. Fortunately, there are simple ways to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun and still have fun in the sun.

Board shorts diving in the ocean

The first step to sun protection is to know your skin type and how it reacts to the sun. Different skin types have different levels of melanin, the pigment that gives color to the skin and helps protect it from UV rays.

People with fair skin have less melanin and are more prone to sunburns and skin damage than people with darker skin. However, people with darker skin can still get sunburned and develop skin cancer, so they should not skip sun protection.

Floppy Sun Hat

The second step is to choose the right sunscreen for your skin type and activity level. Sunscreen is a product that blocks or absorbs some of the UV rays that reach your skin.

There are two types of UV rays:

UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and cause long-term damage such as wrinkles and age spots. UVB rays cause sunburns and increase the risk of skin cancer.

Sunscreen products have a sun protection factor (SPF) that indicates how well they protect against UVB rays. The higher the SPF, the more protection they offer. However, no sunscreen can block 100% of UV rays, so you should also use other methods of sun protection.

sun gloves

The third step is to apply sunscreen correctly and frequently. You should apply sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours or more often if you sweat or swim.

You should use about an ounce of sunscreen to cover your entire body and pay special attention to areas that are exposed to the sun, such as your face, ears, neck, arms, and legs. You should also use a lip balm with SPF to protect your lips from drying and cracking.


The fourth step is to avoid peak sun hours and seek shade when possible. The sun is strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the UV rays are most intense and damaging.

You should limit your exposure during these hours and seek shade under trees, umbrellas, or buildings. You should also avoid tanning beds and sun lamps, which emit artificial UV rays that can be even more harmful than natural sunlight.

cute girl with sunscreen on her nose

The fifth step is to wear protective clothing and accessories that cover your skin and shield your eyes from the sun. You should wear loose-fitting, long-sleeved shirts and pants made of tightly woven fabrics that block or reflect UV rays.

You should also wear a wide-brimmed hat that covers your head, face, ears, and neck. You should also wear sunglasses that have UV protection lenses that filter out both UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses can prevent eye damage such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and corneal burns.


By following these five steps, you can enjoy the outdoors safely and reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer. Remember that sun protection is not only for sunny days; you can still get burned on cloudy or overcast days, as UV rays can penetrate through clouds.

Sun protection is also not only for summer; you can get burned in winter as well, especially if you are near snow or ice that reflect UV rays. Sun protection is a year-round habit that can help you maintain healthy and beautiful skin for life.

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