Summer’s here and the time is right… to talk about sun safety! Whether you’re heading to the beach or dancin’ in the street, sun safety should be a constant consideration. And while sunscreen plays an important role in keeping you safe in the sun, it is not the only factor. A mindful approach to sun safety encompasses many factors, but most of all: common sense. So while added steps may seem to complicate sun safety, it can actually save you time (and even money). Most importantly, being sun safe can help save your skin. So here are three easy tips for mindful sun safety.
Tip 1: Apply Enough Sunscreen and Apply in Advance
Mineral sunscreens work differently than chemical sunscreens because they sit on top of the skin instead of absorbing into the bloodstream. Because of this, it’s especially important that you apply the recommended amount of mineral sunscreen to get a full and even barrier on the skin. And applying half of the recommended amount doesn’t give you half of the SPF – it gives you the square root of the SPF! So if you apply half the recommended amount of an SPF 30, you will only end up with an SPF 6!
As part of your mindful safe sun ritual, take time to apply an ample amount of sunscreen at least 15 minutes before you head out into the sunshine. Even though mineral sunscreens are technically active as soon as they’re on the skin, 15 minutes gives the nourishing oils time to soak in leaving a fine protective coating of zinc oxide on top of your skin.
What does it mean to “apply enough” sunscreen? For a full adult body in a swimsuit, this is about 1 oz, or 1/3 of a tube of Badger’s Active Cream sunscreens. Be sure to reapply after swimming, sweating, towel drying, or in any instance that the zinc oxide might be rubbed off. Remember, the minerals need to be on top of the skin in order for the sunscreen to work! Even if you haven’t jumped in the water, be sure to reapply at least every 2 hours, and check your skin regularly to make sure you’re not overdoing it.
Tip 2: Save Time, Money and Your Skin by Covering Up
You might be thinking that 1/3 of a tube of Badger per application is a lot. However, don’t let your thrifty side compromise your sun safety. Instead of skimping on the sunscreen to save pennies, cover up! The less skin that is exposed means less sunscreen is needed, and this can save you money over time.
Your best bet is to invest in some UPF clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, and use sunscreen on skin that remains exposed. While UPF clothing requires an initial financial investment, it can be worth it for those who spend the majority of their summer outdoors. And the washable and re-usable clothing pieces will save you big bucks on sunscreen in the long run.
Tip 3: Moderation
Have you noticed that the term “sunblock” has almost disappeared? There’s a reason for this: no sunscreen will block 100% of the sun’s rays, not even high SPFs. When applied properly, an SPF 15 blocks 93% of the sun rays and an SPF 30 will block 97%. So even when you apply the recommended amount of sunscreen and reapply often, it’s still possible to get too much sun. Since sun exposure builds up during the day, the first thing to remember is to apply before you go out.
Badger Bill once explained sun exposure build up by using this toast metaphor: Say you put bread in a toaster but after a few seconds decide that you don’t want toast and pop the bread out. You’ll notice that the bread has already started to toast – so even though you’ve stopped the process, the bread doesn’t return to its previous untoasted state. And if you decide that you do want toast and put the slice of bread back in, it may burn more quickly than anticipated because you’ve already toasted it a little. This is kind of how it works for our skin–applying sunscreen after you’ve already been in the sun for a little while won’t undo earlier sun exposure, and your skin will continue to “toast” as the day goes on. So, if you apply sunscreen 30 minutes after you’ve arrived at the beach, the “toasting” process has already begun!
Sometimes taking a break from the sun is the only way to avoid a sunburn – and that’s where the idea of moderation comes in! This means finding or creating shade, planning activities for staying out of the sun between peak hours of 10am and 2pm, and knowing and respecting your body’s limits. This last one is especially important. If you start to turn pink, it’s time to get out of the sun immediately. Even if you reapply sunscreen, once the burning process has started, it’s time to seek some shade.
The key to holistic sun safety is mindfulness. Since sun strength varies at different times of the year and in different locations, there’s no one single formula that will work for everyone. By taking a common-sense approach to your time in the sun, you can help ensure a lifetime of healthy skin.
What does your holistic sun safety ritual look like? Join the conversation in the comments below!