The sun may be 94 million miles away from us, but that doesn't stop its rays from warming and tanning our skin as we happily lounge under the sky. However, this innocent sunbathing has consequences if we aren't careful. More than the discomfort of a sunburn, the sun's ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer, accelerate aging and promote fine lines.

All that damage can happen in as little as 15 minutes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC. That's why it's so important to protect your skin and scalp on a daily basis.

Follow these expert tips to safeguard your skin from the sun's gorgeous, yet harmful rays:


Find Your Sunscreen Soulmate

The more you love sunscreen, the more likely you are to apply it. Therefore, it's time to begin the hunt for your favorite sunscreen. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a product with SPF 30 or higher.

As for the type, opt for a lotion, as sprays are not always as trustworthy when it comes to covering all of your exposed skin.

If you need inspiration, you can find the top sunscreens of the year according to Good Housekeeping or try perusing through Consumer Reports which also publishes their top choices for sunscreen.

Once you’ve found your match buy a normal size for your home and a smaller size for on-the-go use.


Apply Sunscreen Every Single Day

Once you're stocked up, it's time to get used to wearing it. Think of it as a staple in your skincare routine, much like body lotion and moisturizer.

Apply sunscreen every morning before you step outside - yes, even if you're headed to the office and not the beach. However, if you are spending the day outdoors a rule of thumb is to apply it every two hours or after you get out of the water.

A great option is to use a face moisturizer that already includes SPF such as the ELEMIS Pro-Collagen Marine Cream SPF 30 – which leaves no white streaks and offers evenly distributed broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.

SPF is an everyday thing – even on rainy days. The sun's rays can reach your skin on a cloudy day, so don't skip on the sunscreen when the forecast doesn't call for bright sunshine.

When it comes to your body, try applying your sunscreen before putting on your clothes, as you're bound to miss areas covered by your outfit.

Once you’re out and about, make sure to reapply using your on-the-go size (which you, of course, always have in your purse).


Don’t Neglect Your Hair & Scalp

Your hair and scalp are also vulnerable to the sun's rays, with the potential to leave your strands feeling brittle and looking frayed. Like the rest of your skin, your scalp is also susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer.

Related: How To Protect Color-Treated, Highlighted Hair from Sun Exposure

While wearing a stylish hat is a great option – it’s not always ideal and that is where sun protection products for your hair and scalp come in. You will usually find them in the form of a spray, mist, or oil. Products with antioxidants and plant-derived oil usually work best.

When applying, you do not have to coat your strands – simply apply it to your hairline as well as any thinning or balding spots on your head.

As for which to choose, The Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab shared a few top-reviewed and dermatologist-recommended products which you can find here.

Post-sun exposure, make sure to use products that will rehydrate your hair such as the KÉRASTASE Nutritive Hair Balm which is designed to intensely nourish your hair, provide thermo-protection, and enhance your hair fibers.


Don’t Rely On Your Makeup For Sun Protection

It's always a welcome perk when your favorite foundations and lip balms have SPF in them. However, think of this as an added layer rather than your only source of protection.

According to the CDC, cosmetics with an SPF value lower than 15 are especially inadequate when used by themselves. Lesson learned: Take the time to apply sunscreen underneath your makeup and your skin will thank you!


Prepare For Hours In The Sun

If you plan on spending the whole day outside, don't forget to bring your sunscreen soulmate with you! As a stylish, yet protective add-on, accessorize your look with a sun hat, glamorous sunglasses, and a light cover-up for good measure.

With that, you're ready to enjoy the warmth of the sun's rays without leaving your skin, hair, and scalp vulnerable to ultraviolet harm.


Tags: sun protection, sun damage, skin, scalp
Categories: Skin & Body Care, Wellness, How-Tos, Men, Hair, Face