8 Items You'll Need to Protect Your Skin This Summer

by Eileen Bailey Health Writer

No matter what you plan to do this summer — whether hiking, sitting on the beach, swimming, or enjoying your backyard — you risk skin damage. Protecting your skin from sunburn, insect bites, or injuries means being prepared. Keep reading for a list of eight things you should keep at hand.

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Sunscreen should be on the top of your list and should be applied every day before going outside. A broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 for daily wear and 30 for extended outdoor use is recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation. Broad spectrum sunscreens offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays.

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Insect repellent

Some insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks, carry viruses that can be passed to humans. To help protect yourself, keep insect repellent handy. You might want to have one spray bottle at home, one in your car, and one in your backpack to make sure you are always protected. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends using products that contain DEET, Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535.

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Protective clothing and accessories

Different clothing and accessories help protect you from the sun, rashes from plants like poison ivy, and insects. Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses for protection from the sun. Wear long sleeves and long pants for protection from both the sun and insects. If you are hiking or spending time outdoors, look for light colored clothing so you can quickly spot ticks.

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First-aid kit

A first-aid kit keeps you prepared for minor injuries when you aren’t at home. The American Red Cross suggests including acetaminophen or aspirin, band aids and gauze pads, roller bandages, antibiotic and hydrocortisone ointments, antiseptic gel or wipes, hot/cold compresses, tweezers, and non-latex gloves.

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The sun, wind, salt water, and chlorine all dry out your skin. To help keep your skin hydrated, make sure to have moisturizer with you no matter where you go. In the summer, look for moisturizers that are creamy but not greasy. For added protection, look for a moisturizer that contains an SPF of at least 15.

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Lip balm

It’s easy to forget your lips when you’re outside, but lips can be damaged by the sun’s rays. Lip balm helps protect them from becoming sunburned, dry, and chapped. Make sure the one you choose contains an SPF of at least 15.

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To avoid dehydration and dry skin when out in the heat, drink plenty of water. Keep a large water bottle with you whether you are in the woods, on the beach, at the pool, outside gardening, or at a barbeque. How much water you need depends on your age, weight, and gender, but the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a minimum of six to eight glasses per day for anyone over the age of 9 years old.

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Special considerations

Certain skin conditions require either topical or oral prescription medications. If you have psoriasis, eczema, or another skin condition and have been prescribed medication, make sure to keep it with you. If you have life-threatening allergies, such as to bee stings, be sure to keep an epinephrine injector close at hand.

Eileen Bailey
Meet Our Writer
Eileen Bailey

Eileen Bailey is an award-winning author of six books on health and parenting topics and freelance writer specializing in health topics including ADHD, Anxiety, Sexual Health, Skin Care, Psoriasis and Skin Cancer. Her wish is to provide readers with relevant and practical information on health conditions to help them make informed decisions regarding their health care.