Summer is here. This means more running and fun in the sun.


However, it also means a higher risk of sunburns or damage to your skin, from the sun. Sunscreen can protect your skin from the harmful rays of the sun and it can give your skin a layer of protection, to stop sunburns from occurring.


When you want to go outside this summer to run, you must remember to apply sunscreen first. You may think that sunscreen is a waste of time, but it can help you protect your skin from future damage. Without sunscreen, your skin could get sunburned, and then you’ll have to deal with pain of itchy, peeling skin. Too much exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause skin cancer as you get older. According to the American Cancer Society skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. In fact, more skin cancers are diagnosed in the US each year than all other cancers combined.


If you are going to run in the sun, the ACS says to remember this catchphrase “Slip! Slop! Slap! and Wrap” to limit your exposure to UV Rays. This is a process that will only take a few minutes, but will help you protect your skin in an effective and easy way.


SLIP on a shirt.

SLOP on sunscreen.

SLAP on a hat.

WRAP on sunglasses to protect the eyes and skin around them.






When choosing the right sunscreen, you should consider the amount of SPF, sun protection factor, it contains.


Different sunscreens can have different amounts of SPF. A sunscreen with a higher SPF means it will give your skin more coverage from the sun. Lower SPF means that you are more exposed to the sun. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that you choose a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. A sunscreen with 30 SPF stops about 97-percent of sun exposure. However, no sunscreen can fully protect you from the harmful rays of the sun.




Credit: The American Academy of Dermatology 


Sunscreens come in all forms including lotions, creams, ointments, gels, sprays, wipes, lip balms and more.


But let’s talk about the two main forms we all use most; cream and spray sunscreens. Both sunscreens have the same goal; to protect your skin and keep a low sun exposure. Cream sunscreen takes longer to put on, but is more effective and less likely to miss spots on your body. Spray sunscreen is quick and easy to apply, but it is more prone to missing key spots on your body. When choosing a sunscreen, you need to decide what is best for you and effective on your skin. Remember a few keys points when choosing your sunscreen, select one with a label that says broad spectrum protection (protects against both UVA and UVB rays), and choose SPF of 30 or higher. If you decide to use one that says water resistant, remember that does not mean it is waterproof. Always reapply sunscreen at least every 2 hours, and more often if you are sweating.


Shade is also very helpful on hot Summer days, especially if you are waiting for your track or cross country race to begin.


The sun’s rays are generally strongest from 10 am to 4 pm, so you will want to plan ahead and locate trees or bring something for shade. There is a fun shadow rule you can learn. When you are outside, if your shadow is shorter than you are, then you know the sun is high up in the sky. This means the UV rays are strong, and you need to protect your skin.


Don’t let these precautious deter you from enjoying the Summer sun, but just be wise.


If you do plan to run this summer, wearing sunscreen can help keep your skin protected. Learn to make it a habit of putting on sunscreen, every time you plan to run in the sun. Sunscreen keeps you from damaging your skin from the harmful rays of the sun. And, don’t forget the phrase, slip, slop, slap, and wrap!