Sunscreen is always a good idea – whether you’re hitting the pool or going for an afternoon walk in the middle of October. Applying sunscreen is especially important at the beach since the sand and water reflect the sun’s rays, and intensifies them, increasing your risk of sunburn (and nothing ruins a beach vacation faster than a bad sunburn!) Even on a cloudy day, the ultraviolet rays from the sun are still present, putting you at risk for sunburn.
UVA and UVB rays are present, and both are responsible for skin damage. UVA rays can break through glass and skin, and often you won’t feel yourself getting a sunburn. This type of radiation damages the skin cell DNA and its tissue. UVB ray’s reach is shorter and can’t get through glass, but it’s responsible for sunburns and can still damage DNA.
There are many sunscreen options out there, but there are a few that are especially great for beachgoers. Broadspectrum sunscreen protects you from both UVA and UVB radiation. Look for bottles labeled as broad-spectrum, UVA/UVB protection, or full-spectrum.
It’s advised that you use an SPF of at least 30, as per the American Academy of Dermatology recommendation. SPF is the measure of how well the sunscreen protects against UVB rays (sunburns). SPF 30 will protect you up to 97%, while an SPF of 100 will protect you 99%.
Waterproof sunscreen at the beach is a must! When you are constantly going in and out of the water, it can break down the sunscreen, causing it to wear off faster. You can find waterproof sunscreen in either 40 minutes or 80 minutes increments, which means it will stay on for that length of time while in the water.
Always remember to pack your sunscreen when going to the beach, and apply it every two hours.