Many people welcome long, sunny days and waste no opportunity to cultivate a golden tan. Too much sun exposure in never good, but there are, however, health benefits from well-managed exposure to sunlight. Follow these dos and don'ts of tanning to ensure that you mitigate any risk of damage from the sun.
Do apply the right sunscreen. According to the American Academy of Dermatologists, you should use a sunscreen that has a Sun Protection Factor of at least 30. SPF refers to the multiplier of the time that you can stay in the sun without burning. So, if your skin type would normally take 10 minutes to burn, then with SPF 30, you can stay in the sun for 300 minutes before you will burn. SPF does not offer unlimited protection and does not make sunbathing safe.
Do wear a sun hat and shirt. If you are out and about in the sun, protective clothing offers the best defense against harmful sun rays. A wide-brimmed hat will shade your face and neck from the UV rays. A long-sleeved shirt and pants protect your arms and legs. Sunglasses will protect your eyes.
Do avoid the midday sun. The sun's rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Ideally you should avoid direct exposure to sunlight between these hours. Try sunbathing in the shade. Your skin still tans in the shade, but there is a lower risk of burning.
Don't rush the sunscreen. Sunscreen needs to be applied thoroughly to certain parts of the body, which are very susceptible to sun damage but are often overlooked. Apply cream to your ears, nose, neck, hands and toes. Your lips are also very sensitive and should be protected with a lip balm that has SPF protection.
Don't stay out all day. Minimize your exposure to the sun and limit the time you spend sunbathing in direct sunlight. There are a number of ways that you can damage your skin by spending too much time in the sun, so find the right balance between a healthy glow and a charred complexion.
Don't forget to take extra care at the beach. When at the beach, remember that water can interfere with your sun protection regime. Opt for waterproof sunscreen, which continues to offer protection while you are in the water. If you don't have a waterproof version, then remember to reapply the sunscreen as soon as you leave the water. Don't be fooled by the cooling effect of water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reflection from water, sand or snow increases the risk by reflecting the UV rays. While the water may cool you down on the beach, the UV rays are potentially amplified and you can burn more quickly.