With the unofficial start of summer just days away, it’s time for us to talk about ways to stay safe in the sun when you’re living the busy summer bucket list life. I’ve been paying even more attention than usual to being sun smart since my brush with melanoma earlier this year. I’m here to share with you what I’m packing in my summer sun arsenal this year in hopes that it helps you out.
UPF Clothing for the Family
UPF is the SPF of clothing. The “ultraviolet protection factor” lets you know how much of the UV radiation is blocked by the fabric. I’ve always been a fan of rash guards for kids and carrying a basic cover up or old t-shirt with me to the beach or pool, but now I’m all about that UPF.
For myself, I am a huge fan of Athleta. Yes, their products are expensive, but their quality is unbeatable. I love their UPF cover up dresses. They have long sleeves and a hood to keep out the sun’s rays, but are made of cool, breathable material so I don’t feel like I’m burning up. I’ve also had A LOT of luck shopping for UPF rash guards on Amazon and great UPF active wear at Old Navy.
Hats: Never Leave Home Without Them
Until this year, I didn’t consider myself a “hat person.” Sure, I would always tell my boys to bring a hat; both to cover up their crazy hair and to keep their faces shaded, but I never brought one for myself. For extra long beach days, I would pull on my visor to keep my face safe, but now I realize my scalp, and even my neck needs the sweet sun protection of a hat.
What should you look for in a hat? Regular baseball style caps are ok. I have even found a couple specifically designed for the sun with UPF ratings (Mine came from REI). You should also make sure you have at least one good, genuine sun hat. I recommend one that has a strong UPF rating and packs easily so you can just squish it into your luggage.
For kids, look for hats that are lightweight, adjustable, and quick dry. This way, they keep their hats on even when splashing in the ocean, the pool, or running through the sprinkler.
No Shade? Make Your Own
I never truly valued the power of shade until recently. Trips to the lake, the pool, and the beach can be brutal in the sun. Depending on where you live, the air temperatures alone can be enough to drive you out of the sun. A little bit of shade can really make a big difference in both your sun safety and your general comfort.
Investing in a large canopy tent is a great idea if you spend a lot of time outdoors. While they are pretty big and not really the easiest thing for one adult to put up or take down, they are surprisingly portable and can go most anywhere. I’ve even seen neighbors of mine set there big 10×10 canopy tent up at the pool!
What’s the best sunscreen?
We all know how important sunscreen is though, so let me start by saying I honestly believe ANY broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is better than NO sunscreen. Now that I’ve put that out there, I can share with you my favorite sunscreen. My dermatologist recommends that I use zinc based sunscreens. I honestly don’t know all of the science behind it, but according to her, zinc based products have less chemicals and protect your skin more effectively from harmful sun rays. I have since invested in Blue Lizard Sport Sunscreen. This stuff is amazing. For those looking for chemical free, this is not it. Blue Lizard Sport does have oxybenzone, but claims to be water resistant for up to 80 minutes: a necessity for my water filled summertime plans. I have put Blue Lizard Sport to the test a couple of times and have so far been VERY pleased. We use Blue Lizard Sport on our bodies and Badger Zinc Face Sticks on our faces. SO far, so good.
Need some other options? Check out Erin’s favorite sunscreens for the whole family.
Fun in the sun is still my ultimate summertime goal. Now I just go about it with a few more hats and better sunscreen.
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