Glow Beyond The Burn: 8 Practices You Need To Follow To Protect Your Skin From UV Rays

July is UV Protection Awareness Month, a perfect time to remind ourselves of the importance of safeguarding our skin from harmful UV rays. As someone who loves spending time outdoors and (has to) in front of the screen, I’ve learned the hard way how crucial proper UV protection is (literally typing this while reapplying my sunscreen). But it isn’t just about sunscreen. Sure knowing and reading your labels right, re-applying it and finding the right formulation for you is important, and they are a part of this list, but there are a lot of other things you could be doing to protect your skin from sun damage. Now you’ve probably heard all of these tips separately, so we are just putting it all together and imploring you to make most of these a practice. Consider this your go-to guide to all things UV protection and through the month we will dive deeper into a lot more on the subject.

1. Wear a Broad-Brimmed Hat

gucci
Gucci Horesebit Straw Hat

A hat is your first line of defence against UV rays. Pick a broad-brimmed style that covers your scalp, face, neck, and ears. Yes, this might seem like overkill, but if you’re going to be out in the sun for more than a couple of hours, this is your best bet. A brim of at least three inches offers optimal protection. Not only does the hat shield your skin, but it also protects your scalp and hair from sun damage, keeping it healthy and strong. Repeat after me: scalp is skin too, it needs protection too!

Availability: Gucci.com

2. Protect Your Eyes

shades
Opium Shield

Your eyes are sensitive to UV rays, which can cause cataracts and other eye conditions. Invest in a good pair of sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. Look for labels that state “UV400” or “100% UV protection.” Wrap-around styles are particularly effective as they block UV rays from entering the sides. Also if you’re constantly staring at a screen or multiple ones throughout the day, you might want to look at eyeglasses with a UV protection index as well.

Availability: opiumeyewear.com

3. Apply Sunscreen Indoors

sunstick
Thank You Farmer Sun Stick

Sunscreen is a non-negotiable part of any sun protection routine. That being said, choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 40. Apply it generously on your skin, not just when you are stepping out but also when you’re indoors, even if it is overcast. Reapply every two hours, or more often if you’re swimming or sweating. I’ve found that sticks make the most sense for reapplication – but find out what works for you.

Availability: Nykaa.com

4. Wear Protective Clothing

parka
Uniqlo Pocketable UV Protection Parka

Clothing can be a great barrier against UV rays. Long-sleeved shirts, long pants, or skirts made from tightly woven fabric offer the best protection. You can look for clothes specifically designed with UV protection in mind, labelled with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).

Availability: Uniqlo.com

5. Don’t Forget Your Lips

spf lip balm
The Body Shop Skin Defence Protective Lip Balm

Your lips can burn just like the rest of your skin, but they’re often forgotten in sun protection routines. Use a lip balm that contains SPF 30 or higher. Apply it frequently, especially after eating or drinking to keep your lips protected and keep them soft and healthy.

Availability: thebodyshop.in

6. Stay Hydrated

drinking water

While not directly related to UV protection, staying hydrated helps your skin recover from sun exposure. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated and prevent heat strokes. Carry a water bottle with you, especially if you’re spending long hours outdoors. Add a pinch of salt to the water for extra absorption of electrolytes, promoting better water absorption and preventing dehydration.

7. Use a Parasol

A sun umbrella or parasol is a stylish and effective way to protect yourself from UV rays. These umbrellas are designed to block UV radiation and are perfect for outdoor events, beach days, or even while walking around the city. Again, we know you might not want to look ridiculous, and I thought that too, but with the sun becoming harsher over time, I would pick this over the adverse effects any day!

8. Know Your Sunscreen Ingredients

sunscreen

When choosing a sunscreen, pay attention to its ingredients. Look for those that contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, as they provide physical barriers against UV rays and are often better for sensitive skin. Avoid sunscreens with oxybenzone or retinyl palmitate, which can be harmful to both your skin and the environment.

I’ve learnt that a little bit of planning and the right gear can help you stay protected and age better. Make these practices a habit and you are good to go.

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