Summer Sun Protection…What You Need to Know

The summer sun is upon us, so what should we do about it? We all know people who are sun worshipers, while others avoid it like the plague. Who is right? Let’s take a look into some sun facts and make sunshine a tool for our health.

Is it good or bad?

Let’s make this very simple and say that sun is both good and bad for us. Too much sun increases your risk for skin cancer, causes dehydration and physically hurts when it burns us. Too little sun can cause vitamin deficiencies and lead to poor health outcomes. So what do we do? Get sun smart!

So how much do we need?

The perfect amount of sun is however much your skin can take without getting burned. This means no pink at all. If you are getting pink, that means the sun’s rays are physically damaging your skin cells. Many people can only tolerate about 15-30 minutes of sun but this is very dependent on natural skin tone (find out more by taking the Fitzpatrick Skin Type quiz!).

On days when we want to be in the sun for longer than 30 minutes, what do we do? Here are 5 tips for keeping you sun safe:

  1. Wear a good, clean barrier sunscreen. Sunscreens can be broken into two categories, chemical and barrier. Chemical sunscreens can contain toxic ingredients that actually are known carcinogens (which is what we are trying to avoid with excess sun exposure). Barrier sunscreens are easy to identify based on their “active ingredients.”

    We want to use sunscreens that only state titanium dioxide or zinc oxide in the active ingredients label. Often times, these are products manufactured for babies or children but there are also many companies making them for adults. A great resource you can use to check the quality of your sunscreen is the Environmental Wellness Group - simply search your sunscreen at

  2. Sunscreen needs to be applied every 2 hours. Yes, this is regardless of the SPF number (SPF 15-100)! Also, it needs to be applied at least 15 minutes before getting in the water.

  3. Rash guards and hats can be a skin saver and also a stylish accessory for men and women. Major companies have jumped on sun protection as a fashion statement and have made great clothes to help us comfortably cover up in the sun. Check with your favorite fashion retailer and you may be surprised at what you find!

  4. Vitamin D supplementation. Did you know you that low vitamin D levels can actually make you more likely to get sunburn?  Additionally, after a sunburn, vitamin D can be used to decrease redness and inflammation.  In case that is not enough, low vitamin D levels are associated with decreased bone health, low blood pressure and a weak immune system. Talk to one of our doctors to see if vitamin D supplementation is right for you.

  5. Enjoy a hydrating beverage while you are in the sun!  Burns and sweating from the sun cause fluid to go to the skin surface, taking it away from other parts of your body and causing dehydration. In order to prevent the many ailments associated with dehydration, we must drink plenty of fluids. If plain water is a little boring to you, try mixing up your water intake with chia seeds or a splash of detoxifying lemon juice!

Try our delicious superfood hydrating drink recipe!

We have more to say about water! Check out our next article, 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Hydration.

Medical Disclaimer
The information and reference guides in this website are intended solely for the general information for the reader. The contents of this web site are not intended to offer personal medical advice, diagnose health problems or for treatment purposes. It is not a substitute for medical care provided by a licensed and qualified health professional. Please consult your health care provider for any advice on any exercise, medication, nutrition, or supplementation.

Amy FlahertySun, Summer