Avoid Getting a Sunburn This Summer

July 22, 2016
avoid getting a sunburn

While we’re well into summer at this point, and you hopefully have managed to avoid a sunburn I still wanted to write my best tips on how to avoid getting a sunburn – be it this summer or next. Truthfully, I am talking from experience. The last few years I have been really careful not to get sunburnt, as my skin is extremely sensitive and I easily get UV damages. UV damage on the skin is a darker area on the skin that gets darker and darker the more sun you get, and it is usually caused by sunburn. This year, while vacationing in Croatia, I wasn’t as careful though and wound up with some pretty hurtful, painfully red areas on my body. Ouch! Without further ado here’s how to avoid getting a sunburn:

  1. Start at a higher SPF and work your way down.
    Look, I get it. You want a tan. My normal skintone is somewhere between Morticia Addams and Voldemort, so naturally I like a little bit of color during the summer. The color I’m after, however, isn’t Jessica Rabbit’s hair so I like to start off with SPF 30 when I travel south. In Denmark, I usually don’t go that high, and if you live in a warmer climate your skin gets used to the UV rays a bit more, but I’d still recommend to start off with something  around SPF15-20. Don’t overdo it though – SPF 15 blocks around 93% of the damaging rays while SPF50 blocks around 98. So the difference isn’t huge – however, sun screens with a higher SPF contain more ingredients, which can be bad if you’re sensitive.
    After a few days of sun and SPF30, I usually switch to SPF15-30.
  2. Higher SPF for your face…AND chest!
    Many people have a specific sun screen for the face, with a bit higher SPF. The skin on your face is more sensitive and the sun can easily cause damage here – everything from lines and wrinkles to dark spots (UV damage). But the skin on your neck and upper chest is actually just as sensitive! So use your face cream for the face, neck and chest.
  3. Apply sunscreen generously!
    Since there’s no difference in sun protection between cheaper and more expensive sun screens, always go for the cheaper one so that you can apply it generously all over your face and body. If you don’t, you risk not getting full protection. Remember that you must apply your sunscreen every 2 hours!
  4. That parasol though!
    I’m not going to tell you to stay out of the sun between 11-16 (11am-4pm) because well, what else are you supposed to do on your vacation? Of course you want to be in the sun! If it’s possible, I always rent a parasol at the beach and put it up sporadically throughout the day to get a little bit of shade. This is partly because I don’t want a sunburn and partly because I feel like a fried egg in a pan and can barely breathe with the sun on me all day. Plus: your drink stays cool! 😉
  5. Get in the nude!
    One of the best things I’ve learned over the years is to apply your sunscreen before you head out to the beach and before you put on any clothes. Otherwise, I would always end up with a sunburn around the edges of my bikini, areas I often overlook when I put on sunscreen at the beach, and it hurts like hell! So get in the nude and start slathering that sunscreen on!


Photos from Elle Sweden, July 2016 issue.

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