Tips for skin care

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. Updated: February 6, 2017
How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun

UVA and UVB rays from the sun are highly damaging to skin health, especially when exposed for an extended length of time. In addition to cosmetic problems, such as dark spots, premature aging and dry skin, sun exposure can also lead to more serious long-term effects such as skin cancer. To prevent the above repercussions, it is vital that you take the necessary measures to protect your skin when exposed to the sun's rays. You may be sunbathing, spending time at the beach or taking a stroll, but whatever the case, you need to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays. Keep on reading this informative OneHowTo article to find out how to protect the skin from sun properly.

You may also be interested in: What Are the Effects of the Sun on the Skin?

Steps to follow:


To minimise the risks of exposing the skin to the sun it is important that you try to spend most of your time in the shade. In addition to this, avoid sunbathing when UVA and UVB rays are most intense, which is between 10 a.m. in the morning and 3 p.m.

On the other hand, experts recommend being exposed to the sun directly for no longer than 30 minutes a day. Sticking to this limit is the best way to prevent sun damage, premature ageing and burning in the sun. Likewise, initial exposure should be a gradual process. Start with about 10 minutes and increase gradually to 15 minutes, then 20 minutes, etc. Also, it's best to move about in the sun rather than sit directly beneath it and stay in the same place for a long time.

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun - Step 1

Sun cream is essential for staying protected from the sun, preventing sunburn and for catching a nice, healthy tan. Sunscreen is beneficial for the skin as it filters UVA rays (those that penetrate to the deep layers of skin) as well as UVB rays (those that affect the upper layer of skin and lead to redness and sunburn).

Make sure you choose the appropriate sun protection factor for your type of skin. Below are the most important things to take into consideration when buying sunscreen:

  • Go for high-quality brands and buy from a pharmacy if you can.
  • The best sunscreens are those that filter both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Check that it has a SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or more. Children and people with sensitive or very white skin should choose a protection factor of 50.
  • Go for waterproof sun creams, which will stay put when you go swimming, get wet or sweat.
  • Of equal importance is choosing a sun cream that's specifically designed for the face. This is because the skin is thinner and more sensitive in this area. We recommend using a cream with a sun protection factor of between 30 to 50 for people with very fair skin, who have freckles and burn very easily, or who are sensitive to the sun. However, a sun cream with a SPF of 15 - 20 is alright for people who tan easily and who don't tend to burn in the sun.

Choosing the right cream is not enough. You also need to apply it correctly and use it properly in order for it to work effectively in protecting you from the sun. First, keep in mind that you have to use sun cream not only during the summer months but all year round. Prime areas of the body include the face, neck and cleveage, which are constantly exposed to the sun's rays. Also bear in mind that you need to apply the sun cream around 30 minutes before heading outside, to give the skin enough time to fully absorb it.

Put a generous amount of sun cream in your hand and begin to apply it all areas that will be exposed to the sun. Don't forget areas like the folds of the knees, armpits, feet, ears, neck, etc. Reapply every 2 hours or more often if you've been swimming or have sweated a lot.

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun - Step 3

In addition to the sun cream, also use suitable garments to protect skin from the sun. It is always advisable to wear a hat or cap to shade the face, a pair of sunglasses with protection against both UVA and UVB rays and also to choose clothing that are fresh and light yet provide good protection. If you are going to be doing activities or sports outside, it is important to choose clothes that have a logo which specifies their SPF.

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun - Step 4

Remember to stay well hydrated whilst you're exposed to the sun's rays by drinking plenty of fresh water or hydrating liquids. Also try to eat food that has a high water content, e.g., pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe melon, tomato, etc. This will prevent your body from becoming dehydrated and will reduce the risk of heatstroke or heat exhaustion.

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun - Step 5

Follow all the aforementioned recommendations to keep your skin perfectly safe from the harmful effects of the sun and in tip-top condition. Do not forget to moisturise after you get in from a long day in the sun. This will assist skin recovery and help prevent redness.

Finally, to prevent severe health problems such as skin cancer, we strongly advise keeping an eye on your moles, looking out for any changes. If you notice asymmetry, irregular borders or significant changes in colour we urge you to see a dermatologist.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.

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How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun