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There’s been a lot of discussion in recent years surrounding sun exposure. The idea that we should be afraid of the sun and constantly lathered in toxic sunscreen is dissipating. Instead, people are coming around to the idea of more conscious sun bathing. This includes intentional time in the sun, more health-friendly sunscreen options, and knowing what your skin type and tone can handle.

In an effort to spread the reminder that the sun is an incredible pillar of health, we’ve compiled five of our best sunburn prevention tips to help you enjoy the summer without avoiding the sun.

*Image by @lemuelkesller

5 Tips for Preventing Summer Sunburns

If you love the sun, but not sunburns, here are our five best how-to-avoid-a-sunburn tips.

1. Focus on sunrise and sunset

The sun is strongest during the day, between about 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. If you get your beach time and sunbathing in before or after that timeframe, you’re less likely to burn. The perk of this tip is that if you can sustain it, you’ll be able to get a bit of sun every day of summer, rather than needing a break from overexposure and burns. In our opinion, sunrise and sunset are the most beautiful times at the beach anyway.

2. Use sunglasses responsibly

This tip always takes people by surprise. When we wear sunglasses, we trick our body into thinking it’s not sunny. In fact, when light enters our eyes, it signals our body to produce melanin, which acts as a UV absorbent and has antioxidant properties. [1, 2] Wearing sunglasses may not necessarily make you burn more, but perhaps faster. Try to avoid wearing sunglasses when you first go outside, and take breaks when possible.

3. Opt for mineral-based sunscreen

We’ve found in recent years that most of the sunscreen found in stores is full of sea and skin-harming chemicals. Instead, opt for zinc and mineral-based options with less ingredients. We like Manda, Salt and Stone, and Suntegrity.

4. Balance indoor and outdoor time

Being outdoors will, of course, increase your likelihood of getting sunburnt. However, giving yourself a variety of options to get out of the sun can help. Bring a beach-friendly tent or umbrella, or alternate indoor and outdoor activities. This will help give your skin a break as well as help you enjoy more days in the sun without needing a full day of recovery.

5. Focus on whole foods

Eating a whole food diet supports more than just a healthy body and mind. It turns out, eating foods rich in lycopene and β-carotene can help provide sun protection. This includes foods like grapes, tomatoes, watermelon, and carrots. This is likely due to the amount of antioxidant-rich micronutrients found in these foods. These nutrients can help defend against UV irradiation, as well as support longer-term protection, and contribute to maintenance of skin health and appearance. [3]

Happy Sun Bathing!

*Banner image by @sosiukin