How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun: Easy Ways to Protect Your Skin

Learn about sun protection, ways to protect your skin from the sun naturally, and how to treat a bad sunburn.

By: Cathy Schutt, Editor,
How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun - Easy Ways to Protect Your Skin
How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun - Easy Ways to Protect Your Skin
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Sun time, fun time! Summer is when most people head outdoors to work and play. Mowing the lawn, playing baseball, hanging out at the pool ... there's so much to do when the weather is warm. But many people often forget about something very important when they're out and about - their skin.

The truth is, the sun can be harmful to your skin even on cloudy days because of its damaging UV rays. But add to that the possibility of a painful sunburn, and you're got a recipe for disaster if you're not protected. 

Below you'll find tips on how to protect your skin from the sun, tips on how to protect your baby's delicate skin, and ideas for how to soothe sunburnt areas.

With these helpful hints, you'll learn several ways to protect your skin from the sun and be able to enjoy your backyard this summer without the threat of damage to your skin. Check out our ideas for how to get the best sun protection below.

Plus, learn how to make your own sunscreen, ingredients to include (and to avoid) in your DIY sunscreen, and why it's important to make your own sunscreen!


How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that exposure to UV rays is worst between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. in the continental United States. Even on cloudy days, UV rays can reach you and can cause damage to your skin, including premature aging.

The good news is that there are measures you can take to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays and to keep you from getting sunburnt. Continuing reading to learn how.


Ways to Protect Your Skin from the Sun

  1. Stay in the shade when you're outside, especially during the sun's peak hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

  2. If you do need to be out in the sun, wear clothing that covers your arms and legs. 

  3. Wear a hat with a wide brim to protect your face, ears, and neck.

  4. Wear sunglasses to shield your eyes from UVA and UVB rays.

  5. Use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher on both sunny and cloudy days.

  6. Make your own sunscreen! See below for DIY sunscreen recipes!

How to Protect Your Baby's Skin

Baby skin is extra sensitive to the sun, especially during a child's first six months of life. Research shows that being exposed to UV rays early in life can increase a person's risk of getting skin cancer later on. Here are some tips for keeping your baby safe from sun exposure during the first six months.

Pro Tip: "So you remember in old family photos when everyone had white patches on beach day? That’s zinc oxide. You can buy zinc oxide as a powder at Whole Foods (make sure it's non-nano). It’s a great physical barrier sunblock and perfect for babies or fair skin. Mix in some loose foundation powder to make the white effect less noticeable." - Stephanie Gerber from Hello Glow

  1. Because baby skin is so sensitive, it's better to shield your child from the sun during the first six months instead of trying to use sunscreen. Instead, cover your baby with a lightweight long-sleeve shirt and pants.

  2. Make sure your baby wears a brimmed hat to keep the sun out during the first six months.

  3. Keep your baby in the shade, especially between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.

  4. Make sure your stroller has a sun shield on it.

  5. Buy some baby sunglasses to protect your infant's eyes, since the melanin is still forming during the first few months. (You can get tiny sunglasses with a soft elastic strap to make sure they stay on.)

  6. At six months old: When your baby is six months, you can start using a broad-spectrum sunscreen on all exposed areas of skin (i.e. the hands, face, ears, and neck). She should still wear a hat and protective clothing. Make sure the sunscreen is SPF 15 or greater and that it's water resistant. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out and reapply every two hours. (Reapply more frequently if the baby has been playing in water or is sweating.)

  7. For toddlers and children: Apply sunscreen liberally to all exposed areas of skin (sunscreen sticks and sprays work well). Continue to use hats, sunglasses, and lightweight clothing to decrease sun exposure. Schedule your child's playtime before 9 a.m. or after 3 p.m., when the sun's rays are less intense. 

What To Do If You Get Burned + DIY Sunburn Relief

How do you fix a sunburn? There are several ways to relieve the sting and itching that often comes after you've been burned. Here are some natural remedies to give you some relief.

  1. Apply cold compresses: Place a compress soaked in cold water on the burned area. Rinse the cloth every few minutes as the cloth warms and repeat. Do this several times a day for 10-15 minutes each.

  2. Use yogurt: Apply yogurt to the sunburn and let it sit for a few minutes. Rinse it off in a cool shower, then gently pat the skin dry.

  3. Avoid soap: Soap can irritate sunburnt skin, so avoid using it on the burned area (especially bar soap) while your skin is healing.

  4. Soak in the tub: Instead of taking a bubble bath, which would irritate your skin, fill the bathtub with cool water and add 1 cup of white or apple cider vinegar to soothe sunburn pain.

    If you don't have vinegar, you can use baking soda. Sprinkle baking soda into the bathwater, and let it dry on your skin instead of toweling off afterward.

  5. Try aloe vera: Gently dab aloe vera lotion or gel on the sunburn to cool the skin and promote healing. 

  6. Drink water: To counteract the drying effects of a sunburn, drink lots of water. The cool liquid will also help release some of the extra heat in your body caused by the sunburn.

  7. Here is a recipe for DIY Sunburn Relief: Cooling and Soothing DIY Sunburn Relief

DIY Sunscreen, Homemade Sunblock, and More DIY Recipes to Protect Your Skin

Using sunscreen is one of the best ways to protect your skin from the sun. Use these DIY beauty products to prevent sunburn - or help treat it - as you enjoy the great outdoors this summer. Enjoy these natural recipes!

  1. Coconut Oil Homemade Sunscreen

    "When you DIY it makes it easy to control the ingredients you use, which you can see is important in sunscreen." -Jessica Healy from Scratch Mommy

Why It's Important to Make DIY Sunscreen (and Homemade Sunburn Relief)

"Protecting your skin from sunburn is so important, but even more so is using natural safe ingredients that won't cause more harm than good! That's why I love making my own sunscreen that I know is made from healthy natural ingredients!" - Rachel Kaly from Sweet Simple Living

Additional Advice Provided in this Article By:

  1. Stephanie Gerber from Hello Glow

  2. Rachel Kaly from Sweet Simple Living

  3. Jessica Healy from Scratch Mommy

Let us know:

What are your tips and tricks for summer skin protection?

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These are great. I don't burn easily, but as a lifeguard I know that just because you're not burning doesn't mean your skin isn't being damaged.

These are great tips! Aloe vera is definitely a lifesaver. I'd never thought to make my own sunscreen before - I'll have to try it out.

Good advice, however there really is no reason to expose a babys tender skin to the suns harmful rays. Many ingredients in sunscreen formulas are considered toxic, especially on infant skin. https// == o-do-instead/ Look for sunproof clothing and beachwear. Its made in all sizes, baby to adult, and it really blocks the UV rays.

As a red head with fair skin, these are some VERY useful tips!

As someone with extremely fair skin that burns easily, I can't thank you enough for these tips and tricks. Proper sun protection is so important!

There are some great ideas here! I will definitely keep them in mind when bringing my baby nephew outside this summer!


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