Summer, Sunburns, & Sunscreen

That’s right, Blugolds, Finals Week is upon us, which also means that Summer 2016 is just around the corner. Nothing will feel better than the sun’s warm and loving rays on our tired and pale faces after a challenging academic year, but don’t embrace the sun’s glorious gift of Vitamin D without protection. Yes, in the SWAT Office it seems like all we do is talk about protection, so why wouldn’t this conversation carry over to sun+skin care tips?


I’m sure we’ve all heard the dangers of tanning beds and the sunburn we’ll most likely get from spending all day in the sun without sunscreen, but did you know there are other negative effects on the body? Eye problems, a weakened immune system, and sun damage to the skin such as spots, wrinkles, or “leathery” skin can be a nasty result of extended sun exposure without protection. This damage comes from invisible ultraviolet (or UV) radiation from the sun’s rays, and this radiation is known to cause skin cancer. While sunburns are an easy tell-tale sign that you spent too long in the sun, having a tan is a typical and much-desired beauty standard here in the U.S. While getting a nice, even tan over the summer may be #goals, tanning is actually your skin’s reaction to this UV radiation by producing additional pigmentation in an attempt to protection against sunburn, even though this isn’t effective enough to completely protect you… “A” for effort, though.


You may look cute, but tanning isn’t the healthiest practice.

Regardless of our skin color, we are all at risk for sunburn and the other harmful effects of UV radiation. With this being said, we all need to protect our skin, but people who need to be extra-super careful in the sun are those of us who have:

  • pale skin
  • blond, red, or light brown hair
  • been treated for skin cancer
  • a family member who’s had skin cancer

Sometimes certain medications can affect the way your skin reacts to the sun and UV radiation, especially topical and oral medication for acne. Be sure to ask your health care provider if this pertains to you.


Sunburns on overcast days truly seem mind boggling, but remember that even though the sun may be hiding behind clouds, up to 80% of these UV rays can get through the cloud cover. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10AM and 2PM, so be sure to reapply that sunscreen every two hours especially during this time frame. Summer days are known for that heat and humidity combo, so dressing in protective clothing isn’t always the most comfortable option. However, hats are a great option for shading your eyes and scalp from those pesky UV rays, and beach umbrellas are good for full-body coverage. Sunglasses will protect your eyes the best, but make sure that the label specifically offers UV protection.


When it comes to sunscreen, we’ve seen everything from SPF 4 all the way up to SPF 80. Choosing a sunscreen with a higher Sun Protection Factor (SPF) will serve as a better protector against UV radiation. Be sure to apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes before heading outdoors, and don’t forget to apply to your lips, ears, and even feet! Some lip balms conveniently offer SPF so you don’t have to deal with tasting actual sunscreen all day.


Our love-hate relationship with the sun doesn’t have to be love-hate. When using the tips above, it can be love-love. Which sounds win-win to me. All our information for this blog came straight from the FDA. For more information visit their Sun Safety page here!

Happy summer Blugolds, and stay safe!



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