Summertime (or Anytime) Sun Tips

Apr 16, 2024 | Patients

by Brent Hearn • 

Though it may seem like spring just “sprung,” summertime is right around the corner. Along with family vacations, watersports, and various camps for the kids comes a rise in temperatures.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2023 was the world’s hottest year since it started keeping records in 1850, and 2024 looks to be another scorcher. There’s a 99% chance it will be one of the top-five hottest years on record and a one-in-three chance it will top 2023’s temps.

An increase in temperatures means it’s more important than ever to protect your skin from the sun. We’ve talked a bit before about some general summertime safety tips, but today, we’re going to focus on a few specific ways to protect yourself from that big ol’ ball of fire in the sky. You’re likely familiar with some—maybe even all—of them, but you might still learn a little something. Plus, there’s no time like the present to make like it’s summer and, y’know…refresh yourself.

Sunscreen, Sunscreen, Sunscreen

Use it. Use plenty of it and use it often. Put it on at least 30 minutes before you go outside, and reapply it every two hours while in the sun. Just. Use. It.

Protect the Peepers

Wear sunglasses—and make sure they have UV-protective lenses. Your eyes will thank you, and there’s a bonus: Nobody in the history of ever has looked less cool wearing a good pair of sunglasses.

Read Those Labels

Some medications (antibiotics and birth control pills, for example) increase your risk of sunburn. The same goes for some skincare products, including retinoids and benzoyl peroxide. Heed the warnings, and alter your sun exposure accordingly.

Beware of Reflective Surfaces

Ever wonder why you got so sunburned at the beach? Or why you feel like a rotisserie chicken turning on a spit when you walk down the street on a hot day? Some reflective surfaces—think water, sand, cement, and snow—act to “supercharge” the sun’s UV radiation.

Bust the Myths, Trust the Facts

Think you can’t get a sunburn if there’s cloud cover? Think again. Think you won’t get a sunburn since you have naturally darker skin? Think again. Think you can’t get a sunburn through your clothes? Think again. (Check out Skin Cancer Foundation’s guide to sun-protective clothing to learn how to choose the best threads for sun protection.)

Know When to Stay Inside

In his famous treatise on military strategy, The Art of War, Sun Tzu states, “The greatest victory is that which requires no battle.” That sounds like excellent advice for the practice of warfare, but it’s not too shabby when it comes to skincare, either. The sun can’t burn you if it can’t get to you, so stay indoors during the most high-risk hours of the day!  (Though times may vary, that’s about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.) Was Sun Tzu a skincare expert? No idea. But it’s good advice, and the guy’s name was “Sun,” for crying out loud.

Remember: You don’t have to wait until the calendar says it’s summer to treat your skin like it’s summer. Be safe out there!


Healthline: Yes, You Can Get a Sunburn Even on a Cloudy Day

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: 2023 Was the World’s Warmest Year on Record, By Far

The Ohio State University – Wexner Medical Center: 5 Ways to Avoid a Sunburn

Skin Cancer Foundation: Sun-Protective Clothing