(Last Updated On: February 24, 2023)

Let’s face it, it’s HOT! 

With summer comes the reality of being outside, which makes sun protection an important consideration. Everyone loves to be in the sunshine, run fast in the yard, play hard in the water, and get those much needed doses of Vitamin D all summer long! With summer fun and the sun in mind, though, we here at Shift Functional Medicine wanted to briefly mention some of our best thoughts and tips on sun protection.

According to the EWG (environmental working group), sunscreen should actually be your LAST resort. So what comes first?!

Other methods of Sun Protection

  1. Wear clothes! Shirts, hats and pants help to shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays reducing risk of burns and long-term skin damage. Getting a good tan is great and all, but so is avoiding skin cancer!
  2. Plan around the sun! Try to spend your outdoor time in early mornings or late afternoons when the sun is lower in the sky to reduce your exposure.
  3. Find or make shade. Instead of spending all day in the heat exposed to strong UV rays, do yourself a favor and make some shade (especially if you have babies or young kiddos, as their skin is extra sensitive)!
  4. Don’t get burned! This seems simple, but getting a sunburn on your skin is incredibly damaging and definitely not ideal for long term skin health. Wear proper SPF if you are exposed to the sun and do your best to get out of the sun when you feel like you are reaching a burn point.
  5. Sunglasses are essential! These stylish tools protect our eyes from UV radiation and make you look cool all at the same time, sounds like a win-win to me!
  6. When it comes to mind, check the UV index in your area. This index provides internationally standardized measurements of the strength of UV radiation. This information to help you plan the time you do spend outdoors in ways that prevent an overexposure to the sun. You can access the UV index through a simple Google search, anytime! To help out, here’s a quick link to Bend, Oregon’s UV Index!

Using the Right Sunscreen for Protection from the Sun

So what if your job or lifestyle necessitates long periods of sun-exposure?! Follow our tips above and wear the right types of sunscreen!

Following the EWG’s guide to sunscreen, there are certainly do’s and dont’s for the type of sunscreen to use…

  1. Look for a sunscreen with two of the following FDA approved ingredients ONLY:
    1. Zinc Oxide
    2. Titanium Dioxide
  2. A lot of sunscreens have harmful chemicals that are horrible for your body and for the environment, which is why it is extra important to stick to FDA approved ingredients. For example, do your best to avoid any sunscreen with oxybenzone in it. This chemical is harmful as it acts as an endocrine disruptor and gets absorbed by skin in large volumes.
  3. Higher SPF is not necessarily “better” sunscreen, over 50+ SPF sunscreens have been known to mislead consumers and do not actually have higher amounts of SPF in them. Caution yourselves around this “protection”, as no sunscreen can completely save you from UV radiation and skin damage.

Most importantly, listen to your gut! Most of us know when we have been spending too much time in the sun. Find ways to enjoy your summer without getting burned and spread the word about these sun protection tips! Have fun playing outside everyone, dm us with any questions you might have about sun protection during this extra hot season!

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