This post will show you the best sun protection tips to prevent sun damage and still look amazing this summer.
Summer is finally here, and if it feels like we’ve gone years without summer, and that’s because we have. Two years, to be exact.
So, we can all agree this summer is long overdue — and I can’t decide what I’m most excited about. Going to the beach? Lunch with friends? Shopping in stores? Sunday brunch? Going to the movies? Or maybe it’s simply being outside in the sun. Cue Phineas and Ferb theme song: “There’s 104 days of summer vacation” and so much to do.
And while we’re making up for lost time, the last thing we want to do is lose more time later in our lives. While sun protection is essential year-round, it’s never more more so than during the summer.
Thanks to longer days and stronger UV radiation, our skin is more susceptible to the harmful effects of sun rays. While wrinkles may be many people’s top of mind issue, don’t forget the very much so life threatening illnesses that can arise far before signs of aging can become a problem.
Below, I’m sharing some facts about sun exposure, plus our best sun protection tips to have a safe summer while still looking amazing. (Don’t worry, you can still look tan without harming yourself — scroll to the bottom for details.)
Table of Contents
- ANY visible tan on your skin that differs from your natural skin color is sun damage; the deeper the color, the worse the damage.
- All skin colors are susceptible to skin cancer, not just fair skin.
- Most skin cancer is caused by sun damage that occurred before the age of 20.
- You can get melanoma on your scalp.
- Melanoma is the most common form of cancer for young adults, and can often be deadly.
- The sun doesn’t just damage your skin: it can cause numerous eye problems, such as cataracts and pteryguim.
- 90% of fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots on skin are caused by sun damage and could have been prevented.
Scary, right? And those are just a few of the facts. For more information on skin cancer, check out the American Academy of Dermatology and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – both are excellent resources that are worth reading.
Basic Sun Protection Tips:
So how do we protect our skin from sun damage and cancer?
Well ultimately, it comes down to your habits, so here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours: Sunscreen isn’t a one and done deal, it’s not the J&J vaccine. It’s not even like Pfizer and Moderna — if you want results, you’ll be having to reapply often throughout the day. Keep this in mind: getting red is not a sign that you’re going to tan after, it’s a sign that your skin has been damaged.
- Get any sun exposure during weaker UV hours: While you may be looking for the strongest UV hours to really get that model tan, laying out in strong sun is super bad for you. Fake tan instead and limit your summer sun exposure as much as possible to the hours before 10 am or after 4 pm.
- Always wear a hat and/or sunglasses: Your face, chest, and neck will show the most signs of aging, that’s because the skin on these areas is among the thinnest on our body. So protect it at all costs, especially the skin around your eyes. You can always use makeup to match the tan on the rest of your body, but no amount of makeup will be able to fix wrinkles and sun damage. Pro tip: sunscreen, hat and sunglasses, triple protection.
- Never, never, NEVER!!!! go into a tanning bed. Really, just don’t. Despite what the salon owners may try to tell you, there is NO such thing as a safe tan!! According to the skin cancer foundation, worldwide, there are more skin cancer cases due to indoor tanning than there are lung cancer cases due to smoking. Stay away!!
Now, for some more detailed sun protection tips and strategies. Here are your summer essentials to look great this summer without sacrificing your health.
I don’t think I need to reemphasize the importance of sunscreen every day no matter the season. But I will reemphasize the importance of wearing it constantly during the summer.
And with this tinted, dermatologist-approved sunscreen, you can skip the makeup. This product evens out your skin tone and looks completely natural and glowy, while providing excellent sun protection.
SPF Translucent Powder
Reapplying sunscreen all the time can make the skin on your face look oily and if you have makeup on, that can get really messy.
My solution is to carry some Translucent Powder with SPF embedded into the formula.
My favorite is this ILIA powder because it’s also made with natural ingredients so it won’t harm your skin and will keep you shine-free.
If you’ve ever felt like your lips get really red during the summer and exceptionally dry that’s probably because you aren’t drinking enough water. Oh, and because you aren’t protecting the skin on your lips from the sun.
So add a reusable water bottle to your Amazon Shopping cart, preferably one with a straw (ensures you drink often) and stock up on this amazing lip sunscreen.
Life hack: you can buy “tanning” oil with a high SPF that will help you look bronzed while keeping you extremely protected. It’s a great way to wean yourself off of tanning oil if that’s something you’ve used in the past — you’ll feel like you’re laying out, but you’re actually protecting your skin.
Also, this Australian Gold spray gives you an automatic shimmer that will look great while you’re chilling by the pool or hanging out at the beach.
Okay, so this isn’t a sun protection tip, but it’s a summer must-have. It’s important to moisturize your skin every day, even during the warm summer months.
This sun protection tip is especially useful if you’re going lighter for the summer — your hair is already damaged, don’t let the sun add on to it. Also, it protects your scalp at your part.
As we age, the skin around our eyes is the first to show damage. And while I hope all the wrinkles around your eyes show the joy in your life rather than your forehead showing the frowns in your life, it’s better to let those signs come on later in life.
So protect your eyes with sunglasses. Bonus points: they are the best summer accessory.
Regularly wearing a hat is one of those basic sun protection tips you should really add to your routine. You can never protect your face enough, and a hat provides an extra layer of protection that’s needed during the brightest hours of the day.
When you’re not in the water or doing some activity, throw on a cute cover up and take some Instagram-worthy pics with your friends. Every extra bit of sun protection helps.
Protecting your skin is crucial to avoid any unwanted illnesses and it’s another reason to go shopping. For your health, of course.
And if you still really want to be tan…
If you still feel the need to look bronzed in the summer, self tanners are amazing these days and can give you a natural tan with minimal effort. Here are two CF favorites for 2021:
Tanluxe The Gradual
This is the easiest and most convenient self tanner, period.
If you don’t have hours to spend applying traditional self tanner, waiting for it to dry, avoiding water for multiple hours, potentially turning your sheets orange, and planning your schedule around your fake tanning routine, this is the product for you.
TanLuxe The Gradual is a lotion you apply after your shower (or whenever you like), just like you would any body lotion. Just wait a minute or two for it to dry, wash your hands, and go. Your tan will develop over the day and it won’t turn your clothes orange like a regular self tanner would.
You can reapply the next day for a darker look. Minimal effort, great results.
Tanluxe The Face
Since you don’t want to use a product designed for body on your face, these self tanning drops will give your face all the color you want without breaking you out.
Just mix these drops with your moisturizer and apply all over your face and neck. A glow will appear in just a few hours. Reapply as needed from day to day to keep your face as bronzed as you want.
As a reminder, most dermatologists say no amount of natural tan is the healthiest amount. So, keep that as your guiding principle when trying to look tan.
Have a great summer! Stay outside but stay protected.
What’s your best sun protection tip?
What activity will you be doing in the sun? What are you most excited for this summer? Let us know!
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in 2010; it was completely updated and revamped in 2021 with new photos and information.