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How to Protect Against Sun - UV Defense and Sunscreens

Updated on September 26, 2014

Protect Yourself against Sunburn and Heatstroke

Summer is the season that gets us out of our homes no matter what. However, the danger of sunburn and heatstroke is a serious threat.

We go out for a swim, or for a hike, or camping, just anything to go out in the nature. It's fun and healthy and everybody in a good health should do it, but we should take precautions when we go out, especially on hot weather.

Many people die every year because of extreme heat or are seriously affected by sunburns. The good news is that there are easy ways to protect yourself and the loved ones by taking easy inexpensive measures.

Vanicream Sunscreen, Sensitive Skin, Spf 60

How to protect from UV?

UPS vs SPF, What Does SPF and UPF Mean?

Protection from sun exposure can be done in several ways.

The most effective way is to avoid to get outside during the maximum sun activity, this is between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM.

The next most common way to protect from sun is to use sunscreen. Sunscreens come in different forms, from lotion to cream and spray, each with its advantages. The higher the SPF, the longer your skin will be protected from UV rays.

The oldest form of sun protection is the clothing. Clothes have been used since the beginning of civilization for protecting us from sun rays. In our times though the clothing against UV are special designed to stop a maximum of UV rays. A special weaving, the thread count and, in some cases, the special treatment of the fiber, render some clothes very effective with an UPF of up to 50.


What is the difference between SPF and UPF, do they measure the same thing?

Even though they ultimately refer to protection against sun radiation, they measure different things.

SPF means Sun Protection Factor and is time measurement, and it tells us how long does it need for the skin to get reddened from the sun radiation. It is calculated relatively to your skin. It is basically a multiplication factor, that helps you know how long you can stay in the sun before your skin gets burned. Example: if your skin without any protection gets red in 10 minutes, applying an SPF 15 lotion will protect you for 15 times 10, meaning you can stay in the sun 150 minutes. After the 150 minutes your skin gets red. There is also a slightly more protection with the higher SPF products. The SPF 15 blocks about 92 to 94% of the UVB rays, whereas a cream with an SPF of 30 blocks around 97% of the UVB rays.

UPF is the abbreviation for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. It measures the amount of UV radiation that passes through a material, compared to the amount that passes through the air. This is a fabric's property, and it depends on the material, the weaving, and the thread count.

Coolibar Women's Sunblock Hoodie - UPF 50+ Trendy Hoodie

Coolibar UPF 50+ Women's Seaside Hoodie - Sun Protective
Coolibar UPF 50+ Women's Seaside Hoodie - Sun Protective

A great looking hoodie very lightweight and cooling on the skin.I bought one for my wife who complained about her skin burning in the sun while driving or walking outside. Initially she was concerned about the long sleeves but as she wore it she was pleasantly surprised by the great air circulation and the real protection from the heat.

Hot day at the pool - (Photo Credit Paul Stocker)
Hot day at the pool - (Photo Credit Paul Stocker)

How to Protect Yourself from Heatstroke

Hypertermia and Heat Stroke

Heat stroke is a condition in which the body temperature raises dramatically, and is related to exposure to extreme heat conditions.

When the body is not cooled off properly for long time the hyperthermia sets in. This is a very serious condition and it can be easily prevented by taking a few preventive measures.

  • Avoid going outside if the temperature is too high.

  • Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers in your home or office.

  • If either of the two is not available cool off your body by taking showers or going to the local community pool.

  • If you have to be outside in the sun, wear protective clothing, specially designed with a high UPF

  • When it's very hot outside, drink plenty of water, this will your body regulate its temperature.

  • On very hot days, take a cold shower, or a bath at the swimming pool. This will lower your body temperature, helping for the next few hours.

  • If you can't take a shower, at least wash your hands, feet and face with cold water, this will help too.

Neutrogena Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 100

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 100, 3 Fl. Oz.
Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, Broad Spectrum Spf 100, 3 Fl. Oz.

Contains Helioplex, the Neutrogena's formula of ultraviolet skin protection.It is waterproof and sweat proof, paraben free and it won't clog your skin pores. It is not greasy at all.SPF 100 WOW! Total protection against UVA and UVB. One of the best sunblocks on the market.The drawback: stings a bit under the eyes, nowhere as much as other products. Best facial sunscreen, period.I use this on my first days of intense sun exposure. This allows my skin to fully prepare for a nice tanning. Once the skin is prepared, and I get a little tan, I switch to other lower SPF products. My wife though uses the Neutrogena the whole summer, as she has a very white skin.


Extreme Condition Sun Hat

This specially designed hat will not only protect you from the damaging UV rays, but it will prevent you from getting a heatstroke.

Its special design promotes airflow helping moisture release maintaining a proper body temperature. The fabric is is treated for a greater UV protection. UPF is 45+.

The design will also protect the neck area, which typically is not protected with regular hats. This is a must have if you spend a lot of time outside in the sun.

Badger SPF30 Sunscreen

This is a great sunscreen, it is perfect for sensitive skin, it gets absorbed easily in the skin and it is almost all natural.

It is a great product for daily regular use. Do note though that this is an SPF 30 so it is not going to block properly if you stay in the sun for more than three hours.

If you already have a decent tan you can rely solely on this low SPF as the natural UV block in your skin will be complemented by this product, otherwise use a higher SPF sun-block.

I personally take the gradual exposure to sun approach, I have been living in the north hemisphere, around the 45th parallel my whole life. So when summer comes, you enjoy it. However, we know we have to get exposed to sun gradually, so we don't get burnt. Three hours extra protection it is a lot.


Water Jel, First Aid Burn Relief, Burn jel, 25 count
Water Jel, First Aid Burn Relief, Burn jel, 25 count

This water based gel is absolutely magical. It actually works on any kind of burns, but if you go to the beach or local pool, or anywhere you can get a sunburn take this with you you won't regret it.


Sunburn Relief and treatment

What do you do if in spite of all your preventive measures you still get burnt?

Take a lukewarm shower or bath to cool off the skin and soothe the pain. Avoid any soap or shampoos, as they can cause more damage to your skin.

If your skin presents blisters, go to the doctor as this is very serious. Do not start to pop blisters as this can lead to infections.

The use of a corticosteroids cream is sometimes a good thing and the low concentration cortisone cream can be obtained over the counter.

Drink plenty of water and liquids to hydrate yourself.

Wear lose and soft clothing, cotton is very good.

This following gel is a great product that should not be missing from any home. Dab on the burnt skin abundantly without trying to rub it in.

Rit Sun Guard - Laundry Treatment UV Protectant

A regular shirt will block very little of the UV rays, and it is rated UPF 5.

With only one treatment, the Sun Guard will raise the sun-blocking effectiveness to UPF 30. The treatment is good for up to 20 washes.

The product doesn't work on synthetic materials, so don't waste your money if you intend to treat polyester swimsuits.

ACV (Photo Credit Andy Roberts)
ACV (Photo Credit Andy Roberts)

Natural Improvised Sunburn Treatment

Vinegar As A Sunburn Treatment

If you need to treat yourself or someone else urgently, and don't have the best sunburn treatment with you, apple cider vinegar, or just any natural vinegar would do a great job. Just mix it with water in a solution of 10% vinegar, and 90% water and spray it on your body. You can also imbibe a bed sheet with it, and cover yourself for a couple of minutes with it. It will cool your body down, and take the pain away.

Don't use it too concentrated, because your skin is already fragile, and it will be too strong.

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