Summer skin safety for the whole family

May 1, 2012 at 10:43 a.m. ET
Image: IAN HOOTON/Getty Images

Long, warm summer days come packed with outdoor family fun. Staying active outside is a great way to maintain a healthy lifestyle. When considering your total body health, don't forget about the importance of protecting your skin from the elements.

Dermatologist recommendations

There are a few key measures you can take to keep your skin safe from the summer sun. In an article about sun safety, Mayo Clinic dermatologist, Lawrence Gibson, M.D., recommends that you:

  1. Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. These mid-day hours are the peak time for exposure to UV radiation.
  2. Protect your skin from the sun at all times. Even if it's overcast and it doesn't feel like you're getting exposure, it's still important to cover up. You are exposed to UV radiation either way.
  3. Wear protective clothing like sunglasses and hats. If you are going to be outside for an extended period of time on a regular basis, consider purchasing sun-protective clothing.
  4. Always wear sunscreen. Choose a formula with an SPF of 30 or more. It should also offer protection from UVA and UVB light. Sunscreen is usually labeled as offering broad spectrum when it protects against both.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should reapply sunscreen every two hours and after swimming or sweating.

Use extra caution

If you are near water, sand or even snow, it's important to take extra caution when protecting your skin from the sun's rays. All three elements reflect the sun, which makes the damaging UV rays more intense and increases your chances of sunburn.

Turn to sunless tanners to help get your skin beach-ready. A bronzed, beachy glow can be beautiful, but your glow will be the healthiest if it comes from a bottle or spray. Refrain from turning to tanning beds, as they expose you to the same UV light found in the sun that can cause skin cancer and wrinkles.

Finally, instead of looking to the sunlight for your daily dose of vitamin D, look to a healthy, well-balanced diet instead. Foods like eggs, salmon and tuna fish are potent sources of vitamin D. Also, there are a number of foods that are fortified with the vitamin. Look for fortified milk, yogurt, orange juice and breakfast cereals as healthy, safe alternatives to the sun.

Watch: Summer skin care tips from Good Morning America

Dr. Ava Shamban shares summer skin care tips on Good Morning America.


More summer skin safety

How to prevent children's sunburns
What you need to know about sunscreen guidelines
The truth about tanning