Sun Protection Tips

Read these 15 Sun Protection Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Skin Care tips and hundreds of other topics.

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Can I get a sunburned while sitting in the shade?

You can get a sunburn in the shade!

Surfaces such as water, sand, snow, and pavement all reflect and intensify sun exposure. Because of this you can still get sunburned even when wearing a hat or sitting in the shade. Wear sunscreen that has an SPF of 15 or greater, even on cloudy or hazy days. Up to 80% of the sun's UV rays can penetrate these atmospheric conditions and cause sunburn.

What are UVB and UVA rays?

UVB and UVA rays

UVB rays are the burning rays and are stronger during the summer months. The UVA rays that cause long term damage to the skin are prevalent year round. Look for products which offer protection from both. Never use a product with an SPF less than 15. Try to stay out of direct contact with the sun as much as possible.

I am taking an antibiotic, should I stay out of the sun?

Be careful in the sun if you are taking medications

Many medications, including certain antibiotics, heart and blood pressure medicines, antihistimines and antidepressants, can cause photosensitive reactions when the user is exposed to sunlight. This can result in an unusual "sunburn", or a rash or other allergic-type reaction to the skin. Individual sensitivities vary widely and may not happen to every user, every time. Most people on daily prescriptions will have more sensitive skin types. Consult your physician or pharmacist before sun exposure when using ANY medication.

When should I apply sunscreen?

Sunscreen Application

Apply sunscreen products generously and evenly 15 minutes prior to sun exposure. Reapply occasionally and after swimming, excessive perspiration or toweling. Never use an SPF less than 15!

How do I use a self tanner?

Self Tanner

You can use a self tanner for the face to bring your color closer to that of your body. You may want to use one in a deep tone if you have a healthy tan. Read the instructions and reapply after a few hours if the desired color is not achieved with one application. This can be repeated the next day and so on to maintain the color you want. Remember to exfoliate really well before applying self tanner as this will restrict from streaking.

I got a really dark tan on my face, how can I lighten it?

Fading a Suntan

Exfoliate your entire body with a product that contains tiny sand grains, or something that will help gently remove dead skin cells. It is the top layer of skin that is tan, so over time and with some help by exfoliating, you will go back to a lighter, more natural color.

What do I do for peeling skin?

Peeling skin

Use a very rich moisturizer or lotion that contains Aloe Vera, vitamins, and water. Aloe Vera reduces inflammation, stimulates the production of collagen and also accelerates wound healing. Unfortunately once a sunburn occurs there is nothing you can do but let the healing process run its course. Do not peel the skin off especially when it is not ready to flake off naturally as this can cause permanent scarring. Use an exfoliator once a week to remove dead skin cells.

When do sun rays cause the most damage?

Avoid Sun Exposure During Peak Hours

Avoid sun exposure during the peak hours between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m., as this is the time the sun does the most damage to your skin. You can cut down on the overall exposure received by spending intermittent periods of time in the shade. Always wear an SPF of 15 or greater to protect skin from pre-mature aging.

What is an SPF and why do I need to use it?

What is SPF?

Anyone know what SPF stands for? Sun Protection Factor! SPF is essential for good skin care. Never use an SPF less than 15 or you will have to re-apply continuously throughout the day. Using an SPF will protect your skin from further sun damage and pre-mature aging. Damage from the sun includes wrinkles, cancer, dehydration, uneven skin tones or small patches of different shades on your skin, even burns. If you use an SPF you are preventing future skin damage. For those of you who use foundation, try to find one with an SPF 15 or higher as to not pile products on your face.

How can I tan so it´s effective and safe?

Safe Tanning

The best way to have the appearance of a tan is to use the self-tanning lotions which will stain your skin for a few days with tan color. Gone are the days that self tanning made you orange. They now make self-tanners especially for fair, medium and dark skin tones. Make sure to exfoliate face and body before applying self tanner. Use a moisturizer before hand for a natural, no streak look.

Why did my mother get skin cancer when she never goes in the sun?

Use extra caution with children in the sun

Teach children about the importance of sun protection. Eighty percent of all sun damage to the skin occurs before the age of 18 and can have disasterous affects later in life. Use SPF 15 or higher to prevent pre-mature aging and buring on sensitve youthful skin.

When I get in the sun, the skin above my lip turns dark. Why?

Darkening of the skin above lip after a sunburn

Melanin protects skin from Ultra Violet radiation. When skin is exposed to the sun, more melanin is produced and the skin darkens. The skin above your lip has more deposits of melanin than the rest of your face.

Is the sun´s rays more damaging in certain geographical locations?

Beware of Intense Sun Exposure While On Vacation

The sun's rays are more intense in tropical and semi-tropical locations because exposure becomes more direct as you get closer to the equator. Intensity is also increased in higher elevations where the atmosphere is thinner. Extra sunscreen for skin and eye protection is necessary in both cases. Choose a higher SPF in these geographical locations. Try to keep skin covered by wearing a hat or visor. Keep drinking water!

Should I use sunscreen everyday?


Select a sunscreen that blocks enough UV rays to adequately protect your skin type. Never use an SPF lower than 15 as you will have to reapply frequently. It is recommended to use sunscreen every day. Daily use of sun protection can significantly reduce the potential health risks associated with exposure to UV rays and can help prevent long term damage and pre-mature skin aging.



Protecting your skin from harmful UV rays is essential to healthy skincare management. Here are some tips to remember before you walk outside and expose your skin to the sun:

Sunscreens should not be used on children younger than 6 months of age.
Tanning will not equalize the skintone on your back. You can either try to hide the discoloration with concealer products such as leg and body cover cream, or a lightenting cream.
It is always advisable to consult a dermatologist when skin "flaws" become an issue.
Ultraviolet light from the sun is not reduced on cloudy days.
Sunscreen use does not lead to Vitamin D deficiency.

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Guru Spotlight
Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.