Sun tanning may seem like an innocent way to get some sun, but it can cause serious damage to your skin and even put you at risk of developing skin cancer over time. To prevent these problems from developing, take the following steps to limit your exposure to the sun when it’s highest in the sky (generally between 10 am and 4 pm). You’ll find that these tips are more than just ways to protect your skin; they can also help you feel better and have more energy throughout the day!

Get Started Early

The sun’s rays are especially damaging at peak UV times of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., so stay inside at these times if you can. If not, remember to reapply your SPF once every two hours or more often if you’re swimming or sweating, as water and sweat can wash away the sunscreen.

Wear Sunscreen Everyday

A sunscreen is a valuable tool for preventing sunburns. As well as blocking UV rays from penetrating your skin, it also fights off harmful free radicals, which can lead to premature aging and wrinkles. Make sure you choose a sunscreen that’s got both UVA and UVB protection (look for at least SPF 30). In Australia, more than two in three people who went out in summer wore no sunscreen or used one with an SPF below 30. Australian Cancer Council

Avoid too Much Time In The Sun

We’ve all been told time and again not to stay out in direct sunlight for too long. The reason for that is UV rays are harmful when you’re exposed too long and can lead to sunburns, skin cancer, and a variety of other issues. One way you can avoid spending too much time in direct sunlight is by simply spending more time indoors under a parasol, umbrella, or another form of shade.

Wear Protective Clothing

Sunscreen isn’t enough. Avoid wearing shorts, short-sleeved shirts, hats, and sandals when possible. Wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from UV rays, especially those with photochromic lenses. Sunglasses are not only cool but will help prevent sun damage.

Exfoliate Regularly

Whether you’re using a cream or a scrub, exfoliating regularly can help remove dead skin cells and reduce your chances of burning. Apply before sun exposure, since it also helps remove dead skin cells that can clog pores. Choose products with at least an SPF 15 rating and apply liberally—especially on trouble spots like your face, chest, neck, and tops of feet. Reapply every two hours while in direct sunlight.

Eat More Foods With High Amounts of Antioxidants

Antioxidants are nutrients that protect your body from damaging free radicals and help fight skin cancer. Eat more foods that contain high amounts of antioxidants, such as dark chocolate and blueberries. Scientists have also found an association between high antioxidant levels and low incidences of melanoma. If you want clear skin, eat your fruits and veggies!

Drink Water

It may seem like a lot of work, but stay hydrated by drinking at least one glass of water per hour you’re outside. During long days spent out in the sun, that could add up to multiple glasses an hour! Don’t underestimate how much water it takes for your body to deal with summer heat; you’ll find yourself far less dehydrated if you maintain a steady intake.

Limit Alcohol Intake To Prevent Sun Tanning

Alcohol causes your skin to burn more easily and can increase your chances of getting skin cancer, so limiting your intake while you are in direct sunlight is key. This applies whether you are drinking or not: alcohol leads to dehydration, which causes blood vessels in your skin to dilate, which can cause damage from UV rays.

Avoid Naps in The Sun

The longer you stay in direct sunlight, the more UV radiation your skin absorbs. If you’re planning on lounging around outside for a long time, try taking a 30-minute nap under an umbrella.

Talk to a Professional About Whether Skin Peels are Right For You

When you’re planning on spending time in or around sunlight, it’s a good idea to talk with your dermatologist about how to prevent and treat any adverse effects. Most people think of sunburn as the only problem when it comes to unprotected sun exposure, but overexposure can also cause premature aging and result in wrinkles, freckles, uneven skin tone and even skin cancer.

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