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May 14, 2023 4 min read

There’s nothing quite like a Southern summer, but boy, can they be brutal. From the beach to the ballpark, it’s important to take a few precautions to ensure your day in the sun doesn’t leave you sunburnt, stung, or totally scorched!

SPF IS YOUR BFF

This probably sounds like a no-brainer by now, but a commitment to covering yourself in a good sunscreen is a relatively new school of thought – after all, it wasn’t that long ago we were slathering ourselves in Crisco or lining up to lay in a light box for that crispy golden glow. But those days are long gone, and now it is recommended that you wear SPF all day, every day, all year round – particularly on your face – to help minimize the effects of aging as well as reduce your risk of skin cancer. Check your makeup, most foundations and BB creams have a built in SPF, but it’s always a good idea to start with a base moisturizer like an EltaMD or our makeup guru Lisa Martensen’s go-to Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch before you apply or especially if you’re going foundation-free on your afternoon adventure. But protecting your beautiful face is only the beginning! When the sleeves and the sundresses are short, your skin is extra exposed and it's a good idea to load on a layer of sunscreen all over before you leave the house. Beauty brands and blind tests recommend Banana Boat Light As Air SPF 50 for a traditional chemical sunscreen or try Blue Lizard Mineral Sunscreen if you prefer chemical-free. REMEMBER: always err on the safe side of sun protection – prevention > correction!

WORK THE BUGS OUT

While a stinging sunburn certainly stinks, I think we can all agree that the true enemy of enjoying the outdoors is the MOSQUITO! These blood-suckers can drain the joy right out of a backyard barbeque, playtime at the park, or a sunset stroll around the lake, but even if you can’t stand the smell of OFF!, there’s no need to stay inside and sulk – repellent solutions have come quite a long way. Environmental attempts aside (citronella candles, lawn treatments, etc.), you can protect yourself from these pests with something as simple, and even stylish, as a bracelet/band. The most economical option is to grab a 10-pack of these disposable DEET-free coils for you and the fam – at less than a dollar a piece, you can afford to load up with several if you feel like it. Another more stylish (and sustainable) solution* is the Para’Kito refillable wristband; the adjustable essential oil bands come in a variety of 16 different designs and work by diffusing an all-natural repellant from a replaceable pellet. Also, OFF! makes a clip-on contraption that is a little more cumbersome, but is still better than a stinky, greasy spray in our opinion. And for the little ones, we love the BuzzPatch Mosquito Stickers – they look like little emoji stickers and are surprisingly effective. (PRO TIP: Put them on their back or somewhere else they can’t see/reach them so they’re not tempted to take them off.) And if those little buggers manage to get you anyway, try HealthLine’s Top 10 Tips for Immediate Itch Relief.

*We have not yet tried the Para’Kito bands for ourselves so we cannot attest to their efficacy, but we like the look/idea of them and intend to give them a go this summer.

WETTER IS BETTER

Again, this one isn’t revolutionary, but more of a reminder: Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! That means inside and out.

· Up your H2O intake by 15-20%. If you’re accustomed to drinking your 64oz, try getting in an extra 12 or so – particularly in environments and activities that involve a lot of sweating.

· Load up in the lotion. Morning and night, make sure you’re moisturizing to the max!

· Don’t skimp on the conditioner. Sun, sweat, saltwater, and particularly chlorine can strip your hair of its necessary nutrients, so try to show it a little extra love with a leave-in conditioner and/or routine hydrating hair masks.

KEEP YOUR COOL

It’s easier said than done in the sweltering summer months, but beyond just a matter of comfort, it’s imperative that you remain aware of environments in which you might overheat. If you plan to be outdoors for extended periods of time, you can help yourself stay out of harm’s way by dressing in light, loose-fitting clothes, seeking out shade periodically, and equipping yourself with a portable fan (a compact hand-held or hands-free neck cooler are both great) to create your own personal breeze. PLEASE NOTE: Sun exhaustion and heat stroke can be extremely serious; the Mayo Clinic provides a comprehensive rundown on ways to prevent it, identify it, and what actions to take if you suspect you or someone around you is experiencing it.

Alright, gang – you’re all geared up! Get out there and get your summer on!

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