What you need to know for a summer of safe fun in the sun.
- Written by:
- PATTY TORTOLANI
Hot take on sun safety: Slather on sunscreen consistently, reapply it every two hours (or after exposure to water), only SPF 30 or higher, please. We know the basics—the universally-held rules of sun protection—and we are fairly certain you do, too. And yet skin cancer rates continue to rise. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. With that sobering statistic top of mind we found ourselves at VIOLET HQ asking, What can we do better? How can we go into the next few months with the confidence to truly enjoy our sunniest and most social season?
To answer this question, we reached out to Dr. Loretta Ciraldo, a board-certified dermatologist and brand founder who also happens to reside in sun-drenched Miami, and Dr. Caroline Robinson, a board-certified dermatologist who works with the Barcelona-based sun protection line ISDIN. Herewith, the extra tips they give their patients, the mistakes they most often see (and how to avoid them), and their own best practices to guarantee a summer of safe fun in the sun.
NEGLECT NOT YOUR NECK (& OTHER OFTEN FORGOTTEN AREAS).
“The most commonly forgotten areas are the ears and back of the neck, but they need just as much protection as the rest of our exposed skin,” says Dr. Robinson. As for Dr. Loretta, “I always remind my patients that they need to do a full face application—and that includes rubbing sunscreen into your hairline.”
KNOW THE MAGIC SPF NUMBER.
“SPF chemistry is very interesting and very complicated because the SPF number only measures the UVB protection, and once you are over an SPF of 60 the formula is typically giving inferior UVA protection,” says Dr. Loretta. She, along with Dr. Robinson (and the American Academy of Dermatology), recommends an SPF of 30 or slightly higher.
WHEN IN DOUBT, APPLY MORE!
“A good rule of thumb is two finger lengths,” says Dr. Robinson. “Dispense sunscreen along the length of your pointer and middle fingers, and that is how much you need for your face.” Slipping on a swimsuit? The recommended amount for your body is one ounce (about a shot glass full). And if you are using a spray sunscreen, dermatologists suggest starting with a base layer of SPF lotion.
PROTECT FOR THE OCCASION.
“Make sure you select a sunscreen that reflects the protection you need for the activity that you are having,” says Dr.Loretta. “If you are going in the pool, don't depend on your nice cosmetic sunscreen and never depend on makeup with SPF. Use a sports formula that is both sweatproof and waterproof.”
“Clothing is the most foolproof sun protection,” says Dr. Loretta. “Wear the cap, wear the UPF 50 long-sleeved clothing, wear the big sunglasses. That’s the best because then you don’t have to worry so much about reapplication.”
WATCH THE CLOCK.
And not just because you are reapplying every two hours. According to Dr. Loretta, you’ll want to avoid the sun between the hours of 10am-2pm. “When my kids were growing up, we would go inside and watch Paula Abdul dance videos. I did anything I could do to get them out of the sun at midday,” she says. “Being outdoors in the morning and late afternoon is more comfortable anyway.”