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Everyone loves the beach. There’s nothing like the feeling of sun on your skin, the sound of the ocean, and the warmth of the sand.
But there’s one part about the beach that nobody likes: sunburn. No matter how much you prepare, sunburn always seems to find its way on the skin.
You buy sunscreen you apply it when you arrive at the beach, then somehow you end up staying longer than you expected and you forget to apply a second or third application.
More than likely you’ll be having too much fun to realize your skin is burning. Yet that evening, you notice some tenderness around your neck and the red begins to appear. Why!
Everyone seems to have a cure-all for sunburn, however, the best top to avoid sunburn is to not get one in the first place. You might need to set the alarm on your phone and you might need to buy that beach tent you meant to buy years ago. Your health is worth the cost!
Below, I’ll share 11 tips to reduce the chance of sunburn. You’ll recognize most on the list but it’s a good reminder to apply sunscreen, cover up, and care for your skin after.
11 Tips To Avoid The Chance Of Sunburn
Apply Sunscreen Before You Leave The House
Everyone knows they should apply sunscreen but did you know sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before being in the sun?
Yes, sunscreen needs time to settle on your skin. Almost all beachgoers apply sunscreen when they arrive at the beach but this mistake may expose the skin to 10-15 minutes of unprotected sun exposure (skin can become red in only 15-20 minutes without sunscreen).
One application of sunscreen before heading to the beach or pool will go a long way to avoid a sunburn.
Use A Beach Umbrella
An umbrella! This is an easy way to avoid sunburn but it’s not foolproof. If you only rely on an umbrella you might be surprised to learn that you’ll still become sunburned. Why?
Ultraviolet radiation reflects off the ocean and white sand so even if you sit under an umbrella all day you might not be protected (check out the best beach umbrellas under $50).
In addition, most umbrellas won’t block 100% of ultraviolet light, so although it’s good to use an umbrella, make sure you double up with a hat and sunscreen.
Apply Sunscreen Every Two Hours (Set Alarm On Your Phone)
Sunscreen is usually applied when you first arrive at the beach, but it should be 1 of many applications of the lotion. Most people spend 6 hours or more at the beach so plan on applying sunscreen 3-4 times.
An easy way to remember is to set your alarm to go off every 2 hours. It’s a great way to make sure your kids are protected too. Applying sunscreen more often means you’ll need a few bottles of sunscreen!
Apply Sunscreen After Every Swim
It’s just as important to apply sunscreen after swimming as it is every 2 hours. Many sunscreens are considered “waterproof” but take that description with a grain of salt.
I reviewed the best sunscreens for kids, adults, and the environment.
If you’re in the water for an extended amount of time, or if you’re riding the waves, your sunscreen will slowly come off. Apply a few layers throughout the day and after every swim.
Wear A Rash Guard
Rash guards were initially created for surfers to protect their chest from rubbing against their board. These days you’ll see kids using rash guards to protect their upper body from sunburn.
Sometimes you’ll even see adults wear them on the beach for added sun protection (caution: might cause farmers tans).
Rash guards are commonly stretch polyester and can be loose fitting or tight. There are plenty of styles to choose from too.
Use A Pop Up Beach Tent
An alternative to an umbrella is a beach tent. Don’t worry, beach tents aren’t like the old days where it takes 3 people 15 minutes to set up.
Most beach tents are pop up easily. They and can be ready-to-go in minutes and broken down with the same speed (also read the best pop up beach tent for families).
Some beach tents just cover the upper body while others can fit the entire family. They are great for a temporary place to rest out of the sun. Remember, there is rarely shade at the beach so you’ll need to bring your own
Wear A Hat And Sunglasses
I’m sure you’ve already thought of this one. If you’re spending a lot of time in the sun you’ll need a hat and sunglasses.
A wide-brimmed floppy hat works great to protect from the sun from above and from the sides, but it won’t help with reflection. Wearing shades and applying sunscreen will help with the ultraviolet rays reflected by the water and sand.
If you’re taking sunglasses, take a cheap pair. Even though sand is small it can damage lenses and get into the small hinges. Take a pair that offers good protection and won’t be a problem if they are scratched.
Take An Ibuprofen After A Day At The Beach
Ibuprofen will not protect you from the sun, however, it will help with inflammation after you’ve been in the sun too long.
If you suspect you’ve been in the sun too long, taking an ibuprofen is a good idea to reduce the inflammation response to your skin and can help reduce redness.
Apply Natural Moisturizer As Soon As You Get Home (Don’t Wait)
After being the sun all day, you want to take care of your skin. Don’t be rough on the skin after a day at the beach. Instead, take care of it and keep it hydrated and moisturized.
Natural moisturizers like grape seed oil and coconut oil can help nourish skin so sunburn doesn’t set in. The vitamins in these natural oils are great for healing skin (vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids).
Allowing skin to dry out will only make a sunburn worse.
Take Cold Shower
Hot showers are great but if you’re suspecting you’re showing signs of sunburn it’s important to soothe your skin.
Hot showers attract blood to the surface of the skin and they open up the pores of the skin. The natural oils produced by the body can be lost if standing under a hot shower but a cold shower will keep skin pores tight and protect the natural oils on the skin.
Don’t Wash With Soap
In most cases, you’ll want to wash with soap. Especially if you have sunscreen coating your body for a day in the sun.
But soap has its own costs. Similar to heat, soap strips the body’s natural oil from the skin making it prone to dryness and irritation. If you think you’re getting sunburn then you’ll want to think twice before using soap.
A sunburn is something that no one enjoys. A few hours of mistake can result in days of redness and peeling.
Most people understand how to avoid sunburns but we’re forgetful. Once we’re at the beach our mind is occupied by the water, the sand, and all the people in their bathing suits.
Sunscreen, though not enjoyable to use, is essential no matter which approach you take. It’s wise to combine sunscreen with a beach tent, or an umbrella to ensure you and your family don’t become red. There won’t be much shad at the beach so it’s on your to bring protection.
If you’re an active swimmer or sweat a lot, make sure you apply multiple coats of sunscreen.
After you get home you can take steps to hydrate your skin and reduce the chance of sunscreen. Moisturize and bathe with cool or lukewarm water.
Thanks for reading another Beach Life blog post. Check out more beach tips to ensure you enjoy your day (or week, or month) at the beach.