ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Preventing Sunburn and Related Skin Damage

Updated on June 12, 2022
LindaSarhan profile image

Linda Sarhan has been a freelance writer and researcher for 20+ years and has a B.A. in English and creative writing.


"Use sunblock that protects again UVA and UVB radition."

- Dr. Thomas F. Wright


Do you typically apply sunscreen before going out in the sun?

See results

Skin cancer is steadily on the rise. In 2005, approximately one million people in the United States alone were diagnosed with some type of skin cancer. One in three cancers diagnosed is skin cancer. The biggest culprit is the sun. Sunburn increases the chance of developing cancer on the skin. Fortunately, there are ways to limit exposure than puts a person at risk.

Know the Right SPF to Use



The best way to prevent damage to the skin, including sunburn, is to use sunscreen. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests wearing sunscreen that has a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15. Granted, the SPF level also depends upon a person's skin type. Fair skin should use SPF 30-50. Those that are tan naturally should use SPF 15-30. People with darker skin could use SPF 8-15.

Sunscreen should be applied 20 to 30 minutes before going out into the sun. This ensures the lotion has been absorbed into the skin. Sunscreen should continue to be applied every two hours. However, if you're sweating or getting wet, you will have to apply sunscreen more frequently.

Don't forget to apply sunscreen to your ears, hands, feet, hairline, and even your scalp where your hair is parted. Zinc oxide is often applied to the nose because it is more likely to be sunburned. Keep in mind that zinc oxide has an SPF of 7 so sunscreen should still be applied first.

Lips are often forgotten when it comes to sunscreen. It is best to use lip balms and lipsticks with a minimum SPF of 15. This type of sunscreen for the lips should be applied more often than the lotion.

Sunscreens to Avoid


Cover up

Although clothing doesn't block out all of the sun's harmful rays, it does help a little. Hats are essential in deterring the sun's rays from damaging your face and neck. Darker clothing is more effective in blocking ultraviolet rays than lighter clothing. If clothing gets wet, it doesn't provide as much protection as dry clothing.

Consider the Time of Day

The sun's rays are the most harmful between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. It is best to avoid exposure to the sun during this time by staying indoors. If you can avoid being outside during these times, be sure to cover up and use sunscreen.


Beware of Reflective Rays

Many people prefer the shade or hide beneath an umbrella however, most people forget about reflective rays. Ultraviolet rays can reflect off of water, concrete, sand, and other surfaces. Even if you plan to spend the day in the shade, sunscreen should still be applied.

Cold and Cloudy Days

Most people fail to realize that the sun's harmful rays can still cause damage even if it is cloudy outside. Although it may be raining outside, the ultraviolet rays still can penetrate any cloud cover.

Winter is no exception. It may be cold outside, but ultraviolet rays are still active. Snow is also reflective and can still cause sunburn. Continue to use sunscreen, even in the winter.

Avoid Sunbathing

Many people are looking forward to working on their tan while lying out at the beach or by the pool. Doctors urge people to realize that there is no such thing as a healthy tan. You may think you look great now, but years down the road you may not be so lucky. If this still isn't a deterrent and you absolutely must tan, consider limiting your time in the sun. Allow your skin time to build up melanin to provide better protection.

Avoid using tanning oils. Tanning oils strengthen the ultraviolet rays thus putting you at a higher risk for sunburn.

Avoid Tanning Beds

Although companies try to convince the public that tanning beds are safe, in actuality, they are worse. Typically a tanning bed produces UVA rays. What many people don't realize is that UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply than UVB rays. This can cause your skin to dry out and age much faster. It also increases your risk of developing skin cancer.

Photosensitive Medications

If you are currently taking medications, check with your doctor or pharmacist on whether your medications cause photo sensitivities. Some antibiotics and diuretics can cause you to be photosensitive. Even the herbal medication, St. John's Wort, has the same photosensitive effect. This will make you more prone to sunburn.

Overall, it is best to avoid over-exposure to the sun. This doesn't mean you have to avoid the sun like the plague, just simply limit your time in the sun. Above all, use preventative measures to protect your skin when you step outdoors. Planning regular visits with a dermatologist with help aid in early detection of skin damage and disease such as skin cancer.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 L. Sarhan


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)