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Summer Skincare: How to Prevent Sunburn

As we prepare for hot, sunny summer days and all the fun activities that accompany them, it’s important to remember a vital part of our body that will need some extra attention and care: our skin.

FastMed is here to help keep your skin healthy this summer and all year long. But you can have some skin in the game, too! Below are some of the best skincare tips to help protect you and your family this summer.

Ban the burn

When you think of summer, sunburns are probably the first skincare issue that comes to mind. “As warmer temperatures and sunny skies arrive, many people will be hitting the beaches, lakes and great outdoors for some fun in the sun,” says FastMed Nurse Practitioner Melissa Ernst. “Before you head out, it’s important to remember these skincare tips for summertime that can help you avoid painful sunburns.”

  • Limit your sun exposure between 10 AM and 4 PM, when UV rays are at their strongest.
  • Apply sunscreen with at least 30 SPF every two hours or after swimming or sweating. And don’t forget the delicate skin on your lips – use a lip balm with SPF 30 or higher as well.
  • Did you know that your hands get more sun exposure than any other part of your body while driving? Be sure to apply sunscreen to ANY exposed skin, including your hands if you’re hitting the road!
  • Don’t be fooled by cloudy or cooler days – UV rays can easily penetrate cloud coverage, leaving you unprotected if you aren’t wearing sunscreen.

Ernst wants to remind all patients to be sure to check the expiration date of your sunscreen before applying. “Out of date? throw it out!”

In addition to sunscreen, wearing a wide-brimmed hat and UV-protectant clothing can help shield your skin from powerful UV rays.

Keeping kids and their skin safe

Kids are even more susceptible to sun exposure than adults. In fact, the American Academy of Dermatology estimates that kids get 80% of their total lifetime sun exposure by the time they turn 18. Add a blistering sunburn and their risk of deadly skin cancer doubles later in life.

Babies younger than six months old should be kept out of the sun entirely. If they are outdoors, a wide-brimmed hat, UV-protectant clothing and sunglasses are all recommended. Be sure to ask your FastMed provider before using sunscreen on an infant.

All other kids should follow the same skincare tips for summertime listed above – always wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply after active play or swimming, etc.

How to change skincare for the summer

Many skincare tips – like moisturizing and not using products that contain irritating chemicals – should be followed all year long. However, summertime presents some unique challenges for keeping your skin healthy.

The Eyes Have It

The sensitive skin around your eyes (and of course, your eyes themselves) face more UV exposure during the summer than any other time of year. Wearing sunglasses that offer both UVA and UVB protection can help prevent skin damage as well as cataracts. “Sunglasses with at least 99% UVA and UVB blockage are the best,” Ernst says.

Remember That Cosmetics Are Not Enough

Yes, any type of coating on your face can help block UV rays. But cosmetics by themselves do not offer enough protection to prevent sunburn or skin cancer, especially if you sweat or wipe your makeup off throughout the day. Makeup also does not bind to skin as well as sunscreen.

For surefire protection, apply sunscreen first and then put your makeup on over it. Even better, use makeup that contains SPF , as well. “A tinted sunscreen with SPF can double as a foundation, saving you money on cosmetics,” says Ernst.

Pain Relief Without “-Caine” Products

Sunburn pain can be extremely uncomfortable. Do not use “-caine” products (Solarcaine, etc.), as these can further irritate damaged skin. Instead, use pure aloe vera gel, take a cool bath or use a wet compress to ease pain and reduce heat. Over-the-counter pain relievers can also help reduce your discomfort.

“Be sure to stay out of the sun until the sunburn is healed,” says Ernst. If blisters develop or you have nausea, vomiting or fever, please see a FastMed provider.

Can Vitamin C skincare products be used during summer?

Absolutely! Vitamin C is a great year-round skincare product, especially during the summer. It is generally safe to use on all skin types and does not make your skin more vulnerable to sunburn – instead, it helps protect your skin from sun damage.

Other skincare tips for summertime

Moisturizing creams that contain aloe or soy are great summertime solutions that rehydrate skin and reduce itching.

Speaking of hydration, be sure to drink plenty of water and get out of the sun whenever you feel overheated. “Our skin is hydrated from the inside out,” says Ernst. “So, it’s more important than ever to stay hydrated during the summer.”

Visit FastMed for your skincare needs

If you experience any dermatology or skincare issues, such as heat rash, hives, insect bites or stings, poison ivy, or eczema, FastMed is here for you. You do not have to wait to see your primary care physician or dermatologist to start feeling better. The providers at FastMed can diagnose and treat many types of skin conditions – all without an appointment. Come visit us today!

About FastMed

FastMed is a leading provider of high-quality, convenient, affordable, and compassionate healthcare in 34 counties across North Carolina. FastMed serves both urban and rural communities across the state with a wide range of care options, including preventive, telemedicine, occupational health, and primary and urgent care. FastMed is one of the few urgent care providers in the nation that has earned The Joint Commission’s coveted Gold Seal of Approval® for quality, safety, and infection control in ambulatory healthcare. For more information, visit

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