- Wear a hat
- Wear sunglasses to keep your eyes safe, as well as the sensitive skin beneath your eyes protected. Buy glasses that offer maximum protection even if they cost a bit more. It’s worth it!
- Use sunscreen lip balm and apply it throughout the day. Lips get burned, too, and it is extremely painful when this happens
- Stay in the shade
- Consider walking under an umbrella or pitching an umbrella at the pool or beach and sit under it
- Stay out of the sun during peak hours (generally 11A-2P) as much as possible
- Cover your feet. If you’re wearing flip-flops or sandals, load them up with sunscreen
- Don’t forget to apply sunscreen to your ears, nose, face and hands (fingers, too!)
- Wear proper clothes. If you’re going to be in the water for a long time, you may want to put on a T-shirt or rash-guard for maximum protection
- Personally, I choose organic or chemical-free sunscreens. They are more expensive but I think they’re worth it. I buy mine at Costco and Walmart, so know that they are easy to find. I also buy several types: spray-on (easy for reaching my back and getting it on my kids), lotion, face balms, and lip balms. Also, find one with an SPF of 15 or greater and one that protects against UV-A and UV-B rays. Waterproof sunscreens are also a good idea but know that they go on much thicker. If you have oily skin or acne, consider a water-based sunscreen. Bottom line: Not all sunscreens are the same so find one that you love and you’re willing to use often.
- Put on sunscreen 30-minutes before sun exposure (if you forget, put it on as soon as possible!).
- Once you’ve been in the pool or working out, sunscreen wears off fast. Reapply sunscreen after sweating a lot or, if you’re in the water, get out every 30-minutes or so and reapply.
- Even if you’re not exercising or getting in the water, you should reapply sunscreen a few times per day regardless. It’s simply common sense.
- Look at expiration dates on your sunscreen. Keep them out of the sun. And when in doubt, toss them and start with a new bottle. Your skin and health is too important to scrimp!
- If possible, have someone help you apply your sunscreen so you don’t miss spots. Places that are easily forgotten are: scalp (especially down the part line), ears, nose, lips, tops of your feet, fingers and hands. Places that are hard to reach (obviously) are your back and the backs of your legs. Really, aim to sunscreen-up on every piece of skin exposure. (I typically put on sunscreen before I put on a stitch of clothing, that way I don’t get it on my clothes and it’s easier to cover my entire body. I re-apply sunscreen with clothes or a swimsuit on, however! Also, in the summer, I put sunscreen on not long after toweling off from my morning shower. It is part of my routine and I never forget.)
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.