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From our hearts and our heads


BODYIn this day and age, most people know, generally, that they need to apply sunscreen when they go outside, but there are a lot of subtle mistakes that people make when applying sunscreen that can be the difference between burning up in 20 minutes and being able to sit on the beach for 5 hours safely. Here’s a list of all the things you should be doing to stay safe in the sun:

1. Make sure you’re using a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 for general body application. You may want to go higher if you have fair skin, or for places that burn more easily, like the face and chest. But there is a limit to effectiveness: Experts say that above SPF 50 isn’t really worth buying.

2. Make sure to buy sunscreen that says it’s “broad spectrum” and water-resistant. Broad spectrum means that you’ll be protected from both UVA and UVB rays, and water-resistant means that your sunscreen won’t come up immediately when you hop in the water.

3. That said, make sure to always reapply sunscreen after swimming. Water-resistant doesn’t mean waterproof and you’ll have less coverage post-swimming no matter how much time you spend in the water.

4. Always apply sunscreen before you get to the beach, or wherever you’re going outside. It takes about 15 minutes for your skin to absorb sunscreen, so if you wait to apply it until you get where you’re going, there will be a period of time during which you’re outside and unprotected.

5. Don’t forget about some key coverage spots on your body: make sure to apply sunscreen on your ears, the tops of your feet, back of your knees, and your hands. These are frequently forgotten-about places that can burn easily if you’re not careful.

6. It’s also important to apply a lip balm with at least SPF 15 in it. Sunscreen doesn’t taste good at all so don’t slather the regular stuff on your lips, and not all lip gloss contains SPF, so read the labels carefully to find one that works for you.

7. And remember to reapply. Sunscreen doesn’t last forever so you’ll have to reapply at least once every 2 hours if you’re planning to be outside for a while. But also pay attention to cues from your body and your activities. If you feel like you’re burning, you probably are, even if it hasn’t been 2 hours. And if you’re swimming or sweating a lot, you’ll have to reapply more often.

8. Don’t forget about your eyes. Make sure to only wear sunglasses that have lenses with UV protection in them.

9. Lastly, people with darker skin tones are not immune to skin damage from sun exposure. Melanin can help protect the skin from burning as quickly or easily, but it is still very important for people with all skin tones to slather on the SPF.