With Coachella and Stagecoach just around the corner, concertgoers will spend about eight hours a day or more in the sun. That’s 24 hours of direct sun exposure over the course of the three-day weekend. While showing some skin at the festivals is practically a requirement, resulting sunburns are not fun and can ruin your whole experience.
Getting an annoying sunburn might actually be the least of your worries though. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the sun is the cause of 90% of all non-melanoma skin cancers. The World Health Organization states that one in every five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. As if that isn’t enough to make you want to hide in a dark cave, far from the sun, its rays also lead to wrinkling and sagging skin and hyperpigmentation (age spots). However, there are ways to enjoy the festivals without fearing the sun’s wrath by following these important rules to best care for your skin:
- Wear a water resistant broad spectrum sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or greater. Broad spectrum sunscreen can protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, which helps prevent skin cancer, early aging, and sunburn. The number behind SPF indicates how much UVB light a sunscreen can filter out. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends an SPF of 30 or higher, which can filter out 97% of the sun’s harmful UVB rays.Sunscreens that fit the bill that are water resistant, broad spectrum, and have an SPF of 30 or higher include Neova DNA Damage Control SILC Sheer 2.0 – ($45), EltaMD UV Replenish Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 – ($33) and its tinted version EltaMD UV Elements Broad-Spectrum SPF 44 – Tinted – ($33), and EltaMD UV Aero Broad-Spectrum SPF 45 – ($31.50). All are available at Contour Dermatology.
- Apply sunscreen generously 15 minutes before going outdoors, giving it sufficient time to be absorbed in order to fully protect you. Apply enough sunscreen to cover all exposed skin, including your neck, face, ears, legs, scalp, lips, and the tops of your feet. Reapply sunscreen every two hours – or more often after sweating or being in water.
- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends wearing protective clothing that covers the arms, torso and legs. It is also important to wear sunglasses that block UV rays and a hat to cover the scalp where it can be difficult to apply sunscreen. Fortunately, there are many clothing lines that mix fashion with function, keeping you looking cool while staying safe with UPF sun protection. Some clothing lines include REI, Coolibar, and Patagonia.
- The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends seeking shade between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest. Application of sunscreen, even while in the shade, is still necessary as the sun’s UV rays reflect off surfaces like sand, pavement, and grass.
Not long ago, it was common to apply baby oil liberally and bake in the sun or spend time in tanning beds, all in a quest for the perfect tan. We now know the dangers of tanning and that there is no safe way to tan. Tanning damages your skin, which speeds up the aging of your skin and increases the risk of skin cancer.
Fortunately, there are alternatives for the perfect hint of color with self tanners. No longer are we stuck with orange tinted skin in an attempt to have a beautiful bronze glow. Self tanners have come a long way. Some highly recommended self tanners can be purchased at your local drugstore or beauty store and include CC Self Tanning Body Lotion ($34), L’Oreal Sublime Bronze Hydrating Self Tanning Milk ($13), James Read Wash Off Tan ($15), and St. Tropez Self Tan Extra Dark Bronzing Mousse ($45).
To recap: Nix sun tanning and tanning beds and use self tanners instead. Liberally apply water resistant broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher 15 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply at least every two hours. Be sure to cover all areas of your body that might be exposed to the sun. Wear sun protective clothing. Lastly, spend as much time in the shade as possible. Your skin will thank you.