It’s summertime once again. Time to bring out the swimsuits, call the barkada, and head to Boracay to enjoy the white sand and cool crystal clear waters. But before you dive in or play in the sand, you need to know first how to protect your skin from sun damage. You wouldn’t want to go home with sunburn or other sun-related skin problems. Read these skin care tips so you can truly enjoy your beach trip.

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Stay in the shade at peak heat hours

In the Philippines, the sun is at its peak and harshest from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. During this period, it’s highly advised for people to stay in the shade to avoid the harsh effects of ultra-violet rays from the sun on the skin such as sunburn, skin spots, melanoma, and, worse, skin cancer. It’s the safest and easiest way to protect the skin naturally.

Harmful UV rays and can be used to prevent burning, reduce aging and lower the risk of contracting skin cancer. UV umbrellas should have special design elements to help them block or absorb UV rays. Some are also suitable for use in extreme wind or rain, while others double as fashion accessories.

How do you protect the skin from the sun if you need to go out? Use a UV umbrella with double protective layers and beach clothing like rashguards, cover-ups, and sun shirts. You can also stay under the tree to seek shade. If you want to work on your tan, it’s recommended to do it in the morning or late in the afternoon. Tanning should never be rushed so you’ll have to lie down in the sand several times during your trip to do it safely.

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2. Apply sunscreen generously

With summer just around the corner, we can expect the days to be longer, as well as hotter and harsher on the skin. How to protect skin from sunburn during this season? One of the most famous ways to do so is by using sunscreen. Choosing the right one for your skin, however, isn’t as easy as it may seem.

According to the American Cancer Society, there are several things to check before buying sunscreen listed below:

Broad Spectrum protection label – You are protected against UVA and UVB rays. UVA contributes to skin cancer and premature aging, while UVB causes sunburn and skin cancer.

Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher – It’s highly recommended that you use sunscreen products with SPF 30 or higher. The higher the number, the better.

There’s no such thing as waterproof sunscreen – Sunscreens are only water resistant. Products that claim to be water resistant must specify how long it will last.

The American Cancer Society recommends applying this kind of sun protection every two hours, especially when swimming or sweating.

But more than that, it is also important to check if your sunscreen is marine life or reef-safe. According to a report made by Marine Life, sunscreen is one of the biggest causes of pollution in seawater and coral reefs. That’s because the chemicals found in regular sunscreens cause coral deformation and bleaching.

Thoroughly checking these factors will help you know how to protect your skin from suntan, sunburn, and the other harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays.

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3. Wear the right eyewear

While on the beach, do you find yourself squinting a lot? The sun could be too bright for you and could damage your eyes. The best way to protect your eyes and the skin around it is by wearing sunglasses.

Although cheap and stylish, don’t buy those knockoffs vendors are selling along the beach. According to WebMD, there are quite a few things to look for when choosing and buying the right pair for you aside from the way it looks.

If there’s one thing that we’ve learned so far is that we need UV protection. The same thing can be said when it comes to eyewear. You also need to check how it fits on you. If light seeps in, you might want to leave it on the rack. Polarized, dark tinted, or colored lenses don’t block UV rays unless stated on the label. Also, check if its lenses cause depth distortion. If it does, best to look elsewhere.

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4. Wear a hat that protects your face

Apart from an umbrella and/or sunglasses, one more way to protect skin from the sun naturally is by wearing a hat. It’s comfortable, affordable, and stylish. Who wouldn’t want to wear that on a beach like Boracay?

Aside from the looks, comfort, and durability, the clothing brand Aqua Design says that there are a few things to look out for when buying a hat/cap for the beach. Just like sunscreen, the clothing has filters that UV rays can pass through, called Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). Similar to sunscreen, a UPF rating of 30 or higher is recommended. To find out the UPF rating of clothing, the general rule to test if the fabric can protect your skin is to hold it up to the light. If you can see through it, then UV radiation can penetrate your skin. Applying this rule, darker-colored fabrics are more effective in blocking out the sun.

Moreover, the size of the brim and breathability should also be considered. How do you protect your face from the sun if you’ll be doing an activity that needs more movement? Wearing a cap or fisherman’s hat would be good choices.

5. Check the ingredients of your medications

If you’re taking any kind of medication, you might want to have a chat with your doctor first before heading to the beach. Some medicines can make you a little bit more sensitive to the harsh rays of the sun like antibiotics, tricyclic antidepressants, acne medications, and older antihistamines.

Photoallergy can happen when UV light from the sun causes structural changes in medicine. It can cause an eczema-type rash, which shows a few days after the exposure. Another way medicines can cause harm when exposed to UV is through phototoxicity. This usually happens after taking a drug, whether injected, taken orally, or applied on the skin. When the medicine is released into the skin, it may cause cell death or rashes. Yikes!

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6. Inspect your skin regularly

During your time at the beach or even while walking under the sun, regularly check your skin for noticeable changes such as spots, rashes, color, freckles, and such. Use a mirror or have someone you trust or comfortable with to check hard-to-see areas. If there’s something new or unsure about your skin, it would be wise to pay your dermatologist a visit and have yourself checked just to be sure.

This summer, visiting the beach and soaking in the sun, sand, and the sea can be exciting, especially if the beach bug has already bitten you. Just remember these skin protection tips so you don’t have to make a sudden trip to the doctor. Aside from protecting your skin, make sure to drink lots of water to keep your body cool from the heat of the sun.