Beauty Tips: Protecting Your Skin from the Sun

how to protect your skin from the sun

During the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, I got a sunburn. I refer to this sunburn as "the sunburn that changed my life." I still have sun damage from this sunburn. I still have a line on my chest and shoulders that is plainly visible from this sunburn. It was a doozy. I was sunburn from my neck to my hips, then all over the front of my legs. All because I decided to float in a pool for a few hours. 

Every part of my body hurt

The day after I got sunburned, my parents decided to go to the coast. Being that I was on break, I went with them. I have, honestly, no idea why. I was in so much pain; I couldn't wear real pants, so I wore sweatpants and a baggy tank top and, because my feet were so sunburned, flip flops that killed all day. I was miserable. 

When we got home, for the next two days, I lied in bed covered in damp wash clothes, trying out every single remedy from the internet I could find to end my suffering. Milk bath? Tried it. Apple cider vinegar? Yep. Aloe vera? Applied regularly. Cocoa butter? Did it. I coated myself in everything I could think of. 

By the time the sunburn stopped hurting, I itched all over. It was one of those sunburns: the itchy ones. I actually itched so much that I developed small blood blisters around my belly button, shoulders, and hips from itchy. It was misery. 

It was a solid week of misery. 

So this is my plea: don't get sunburned. 

I know! I know you'll tan if you get sunburned! I know it isn't always that bad! 

But every sunburn is literally one step closer to the big bad: skin cancer. The most easily avoided skin cancer out there. And as well, even if you don't end up with skin cancer after a lifetime of bad sun habits, sun damage makes you look older. Plain and simple, I know it's not nice, but sun damage gives you wrinkles earlier in life--and that includes tanning. 

So this summer, protect your skin. It doesn't have to be a drag, either. Here are a few simple pieces to protect that pretty skin of yours (and avoid a miserable few weeks like I had). 

1. Get a sun hat. 

Sun hats are some of the cutest summer accessories. Really. They look both vintage and really hip at the same time. Plus, they're in style so you have a ton of cute, affordable ones out there. Here are a few options: 

2. Wear sunscreen every single day, on your face and body. 

Listen, I know: sunscreen is a pain to put on. But in the morning, when you're doing your routine anywhere, here is my advice: keep a bottle of sunscreen (good sunscreen, like Babyganics SPF 50, which is what I use) next to your regular body lotion; mix a small amount in with your body lotion and apply to your arms, chest, shoulders, and any other body parts that will be visible (don't forget your feet!). It's the easiest way for me to get that original coat and still have my normal body lotion. 

Then, if you're out in the sun, reapply every 60-90 minutes. I know! That's a lot! If you're driving, make sure to reapply in the car because you can get sunburned in your car while driving. 

What about for your face? I personally love First Aid Beauty's Ultra Repair Sunscreen. I mix it with my Ole Henriksen Transformation moisturizer to use after I tone and before I put on my foundation. Remember, foundation is a physical barrier to your skin from the sun, but you still need to put SPF on! (Also, don't forget your neck and ears!) 

3. Consider long sleeves. 

Here's the thing: if you're going to be in the sun for hours, either at the beach or hiking, consider wearing long sleeves or a rash guard. Rash guards are not the fuddy duddy little kids' garments they used to be. Look at this one from Old Navy! That's cute. I'd wear that! 

A few options for long sleeved tops: this lightweight options from GAP is perfect for fun or while being active; this long-sleeved dress from Lulu's is cute without looking sweltering; and this long-sleeved peasant top from Forever 21 is great for work or play.