Nothing feels as incredible as the summer sun on your skin after a long, cold winter. That is until you overdo it and end up with a sunburn.
Not only are sunburns painful and unpleasant, but they can do lasting damage to your skin. Over time, these damaged cells can become cancerous and put your life at risk. That’s why prevention is essential for long-term health.
Here are five effective ways to protect your skin against sunburns.
Throw on Some Zinc
Zinc is a naturally-occurring mineral that’s a common ingredient in sunscreen. It’s an effective barrier against the sun’s harmful rays because it quite literally reflects them away from your skin. Zinc is free of additives and irritants that could impact sensitive skin, and baby safe. In fact, most diaper rash creams are zinc-based.
Pick up a natural, chemical-free sunscreen that uses zinc as the main ingredient or make some of your own. You likely won’t get the higher SPF that’s common in chemical-based sunscreens, but it’s a great way to add a layer of protection to your skin.
Choose Clothing Wisely
While it’s nice to show a little skin and enjoy the heat of summer, covering up is the best way to protect your skin. If you’re worried about bad tan lines and being pale all year long, you should know that the sun can still burn you through clothing. However, wearing lighter clothing creates a protective barrier that limits how much sun gets through.
Invest in breathable, natural materials like cotton or bamboo. Throwing on a light, long-sleeved top over your bathing suit when you get out of the water will do wonders for your skin. Don’t forget to protect your scalp by wearing a hat, as well as UV-rated sunglasses for your eyes.
Seek or Create Shade
Balance your time in the sun with some time in the shade. If you can’t find natural shade, create it with an umbrella or pop-up tent. Try to avoid being in direct sunlight during peak hours, generally around the middle of the day.
When you retreat to the shade, be mindful of the potential for glares and reflections. For example, if you’re on a white-sand beach, the sun can reflect into your shady area and burn you even if you’re well-covered overhead.
Nourish Under Sunscreen
Protecting your skin from sunburns isn’t just about creating barriers— it’s about nourishing and healing your skin. Giving your skin the nutrients it needs to heal is an integral step in caring for sunburns. Before you put on sunscreen each day, hydrate your skin with argan oil or aloe vera. You can also put these on after spending the day in the sun to help your skin heal properly.
The summer is a fantastic time to get in a whole-body skincare routine. Exfoliate regularly to remove dead skin cells and promote new growth. This will also create better absorption for the aloe vera and argan oil.
Eat Your Fruit and Veggies
While nourishing your skin with topical treatments is crucial, there are ways to promote skin regeneration from the inside as well. Eating foods that are rich in carotenoids— like carrots and bell peppers— help promote cellular regeneration. Watermelon is another fantastic food for sun protection thanks to its high content of lycopene and antioxidants.
Foods that contain high amounts of lean protein, such as poultry, eggs, and Greek yogurt, are also ideal for promoting skin health.
With these five tips, you can protect your skin from sunburns naturally.