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Protect your skin — and hair — from the sun with these expert tips

Learn how to shield your skin and hair from UV damage with our guide on the best sun protection practices, including choosing the right sunscreen, clothing and after-sun care to maintain a healthy glow.

Woman applying sunscreen to mans face

With summer just around the corner, many people are thinking about the fun they’ll have in the sun. But before you head out to the beach, it’s important to protect your skin from top to bottom against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays.

UV exposure can cause premature skin aging like wrinkles and age spots, and experiencing just five or more sunburns doubles your risk for melanoma, a deadly type of skin cancer.1 Prevention is key, and the steps you take before and after the sun can protect your skin and hair from damage and help to maintain a healthy glow.

Carefully choose your clothing

The best defense against sun damage is to try and stay in the shade or at least out of the sun when its rays are strongest — which is between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.2 When you are exposed to the sun, consider your clothing and opt for long sleeves when possible, or at least a T-shirt or beach cover-up.3 A wide-brimmed hat can help to shade your ears, face and neck, and sunglasses are about more than just fashion. They protect your eyes from UV rays and the glare from the sun, while also helping to protect the skin around your eyes from damage and wrinkles.4

Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen

Everyone needs sunscreen, regardless of age, gender or skin tone, but it can be confusing to figure out what kind to use and how often you should use it. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends broad-spectrum protection of 30 sun protection factor (SPF) or higher,5 like Neutrogena® Beach Defense® SPF 70 Sunscreen Lotion. This oxybenzone-free, beach-strength sunscreen lotion helps defend against sunburn and the signs of sun damage and may decrease the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging caused by the sun when used as directed with other sun protection measures.

When choosing a sunscreen, also consider those that contain zinc oxide, which has been found to provide better protection against UVA light than those without the zinc.6 The Aveeno Protect + Soothe® Mineral Sunscreen Stick Broad Spectrum SPF 50 is formulated with zinc oxide, a naturally sourced 100% mineral active ingredient, as well as pure oat essence. It features a nourishing formula designed especially to be gentle on sensitive skin and is a great option to protect against UVA & UVB rays on-the-go.

Even if you’re avoiding the beach and working from the office, it doesn’t mean you don’t need to wear sunscreen!

“Our skin is bombarded by free radicals generated by the sun, and these things are going to take a toll on our skin,” says Dara Miller, Kenvue associate director of claims and clinical research for skin health. Miller recommends reapplying recreational sunscreen to your face at least every two hours.

Dont forget about your lips

You might not think of your lips as skin, but they are, which means they also need to be protected from a possible sunburn. Since lip balm is probably already in your purse or car for coverage on the go, make sure the one you’re using contains an SPF for added protection — like Neutrogena® Revitalizing Lip Balm SPF 20. The formula of this hydrating balm includes Ion2Complex to instantly moisturize lips, leaving them looking fuller and more defined while helping protect against sunburn.

Let your makeup do double-duty

Much like a lip balm can pull double-duty by boosting both protection and beauty, so can the other makeup and products that you use daily. Choose a foundation that contains SPF, like Neutrogena Healthy Skin® Liquid Makeup Broad Spectrum SPF 20. This full-coverage foundation helps to protect skin from dangerous UVA/UVB rays that can burn and prematurely age skin and is healthier for skin than wearing no makeup at all.

Protect your hair and scalp

The sun can also damage your hair, causing everything from brittle strands to a dry, itchy scalp.7 Use a spray sunscreen on clean, dry hair, and then comb it through for even distribution and protection.

If you find your hair is still dry from the sun or things like chlorine and salt water, add products specifically designed to restore moisture, like the OGX® Nourishing + Coconut Oil Weightless Hydrating Oil Hair Mist. Infused with coconut oil and bamboo extract, this leave-in treatment helps to strengthen and hydrate hair while giving it a healthy look and feel.

Have a sunburn? Heres what to do.

Sometimes despite your best intentions, sunburns still happen. And when they do it’s best to know how to treat it and get soothing relief when and where you need it.

One of the first symptoms of a sunburn is painful, inflamed skin. If you’re looking for some relief from the discomfort, start by cooling the skin with Neutrogena Sun Rescue® After Sun Medicated Relief Gel. This sunburn relief gel from a dermatologist-recommended sun care brand provides relief on contact and is formulated with 0.45% camphor, an external analgesic, for cooling comfort that also stops the urge to scratch due to itching associated with sunburn.

Next, take a bath using cool water and Aveeno® Soothing Oatmeal Bath Treatment For Itchy, Dry Skin, which is formulated with 100% natural colloidal oatmeal, a long-recognized ingredient that relieves itching naturally.

After getting out of the shower or bath, immediately apply a nourishing moisturizing lotion like Lubriderm® Intense Skin Repair Lotion, which is clinically proven to help moisturize rough, dry skin for 48 hours. Also consider applying an after-sun cream containing aloe vera, soy or hydrocortisone, which have all been found to effectively treat especially uncomfortable areas.8