Sun Safety: Essential Tips for Summer

As our days get warmer, it becomes easier to spend hours basking in the sunshine. However, it’s important to do so safely to avoid the dangers of excess sun exposure. 

Therefore, I have compiled a list of six tips on how to safely enjoy the summer heat while staying sun-protected. 

Protect Your Skin by Staying Covered 

  • When the ultraviolet radiation (UV) index reaches a 3 or higher, it becomes very important to shield your skin from the sun as much as possible to prevent skin damage and premature aging. 

  • You can actively protect your skin by wearing sunscreen, light-coloured clothing, long sleeve shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses.

Always Wear Sunscreen 

  • All skin tones require sunscreen whenever you venture outdoors, it’s important to wear at least an SPF  (Sun protection factor) 30 sunscreen as it will block 97% of UVB rays.

  • When you engage in physical activity or movement outside, you should always wear water or sweat-resistant sunscreen to avoid sunburns.

  • Particularly when swimming or in water, it is advised to apply water- resistant sunscreen and reapply once you are out of the water for better protection.

Minimize Your Duration in the Sun

  • The UV levels are typically at their highest between 11:00am and 3:00pm, which is why it is necessary to stay out of the direct sunlight as much as possible during this time.

  • A good indicator that the sun is very strong is when your shadow is shorter than you.

  • If you happen to be outside during this time frame, you should look for shade in sources such as big trees and umbrellas.

The Importance of Checking the UV Index

  • Checking the UV index is a critical step to protecting your skin, as the UV can be damaging regardless of the 

  • even when it may not seem very hot outside the UV can still be damaging.

  • Too much exposure can cause sunburns, premature aging of the skin, eye damage and skin cancer.

Stay Hydrated in the Heat

  • Aside from sunscreen and seeking shade, an important step in sun safety is to ensure you are regularly drinking water.

  • It is critical to drink plenty of water before you feel thirsty to prevent the onset of sun-related illnesses such as heat stroke and dehydration.


Avoid Sun Tanning Oils


  • Contrary to common belief, it is very harmful to use tanning oils as they commonly lack enough SPF to protect your skin and they attract more UV rays to help you achieve a darker tan.

  • Additionally, layering tanning oil with sunscreen has been found to make the sunscreen less effective, so it is crucial to avoid tanning oil altogether. 

Check Your Medication for Sun Sensitivity

  • A common side effect of many medications is sun sensitivity (photosensitivity), which can increase one’s risk of experiencing severe sunburns and rashes

  • If your doctor, pharmacist or warning label on your medication recommends avoiding sunlight it is important to do so to protect your skin as it may be more susceptible to burning

Stay sun safe this summer!

-Madeline Fabiano, SHW Summer Student