5 Ways to Not Get Burnt this Summer

5 Ways to Not Get Burnt this Summer

Oh, we'll all been there. We're having a great day out hiking or swimming, and when the sun goes down, our skin is radiating enough heat to roast a marshmallow! Not good.

Here's a handy reference sheet for keeping the sun and losing the burn.


Yup. We’re super specific about the reef-safe part. Many sunscreens contain endocrine-disrupting ingredients that not only damage coral, larva, and fish, they also damage you! 

In an FDA test in 2019, 48 men and women applied sunscreen for four days. The results? Scary.

For example, blood concentrations of oxybenzone were more than 180 times the FDA’s level of concern after a single application of sunscreen. They soared to more than 500 times the FDA’s level of concern after 4 days of regular use. Three weeks later, blood tests continued to show higher levels of oxybenzone, though it was much lower than at the start of the study. (1)

So read the label and ovoid these six chemicals: avobenzone, oxybenzone, octocrylene, homosalate, octisalate, and octinoxate. 

Chose Stream2Sea Sport, SPF 30. It’s reef-safe, human-safe, and water resistant. Available at bluerub:

Reef safe sunscreen
HOW TO USE: Apply before you get in the sun. Use a small amount to start with and add more if needed. Don’t forget the back of your neck, behind your knees, and the tops of your feet. Apply every 80 minutes.


As valuable as sunscreen is in preventing burns and cancer, wearing sunblock clothing blocks UV rays. Sunblock clothing uses a UPF rating akin to SPF. Options are from 30 to 100 UPF. Choose which you need depending on how hot it is and how long you'll be out in the sun. 

REI recommends the following:

  • Darker fabrics will usually perform better than light ones
  • Denser weaves are better than loose weaves.
  • Polyester and nylon do better at sun protection than natural fiber (2)

Sunblock clothing is excellent for kids, pregnant women, people who are sensitive to the sun. They also help protect you in high elevation and equatorial regions.  Mike and I used sunblock shirts and hats in Ecuador and in Hawaii, I also use sunblock rash guards when I snorkel.


Your body will sweat more when you’re in the sun and you’ll want to stay hydrated with water and electrolytes. It’s easy to get dehydrated when you’re out having fun in the sun. Be sure to drink enough water to keep your organs functioning correctly. And remember skin is your biggest organ.


Look around for places to sit or stand or flop in the shade and give your skin a break. You can also create some shade with po- up umbrellas and tents. Protecting your skin is only one aspect of dealing with heat. Getting your body temperature down by getting some shade will help prevent sunstroke.

While you’re taking a sun break, check out your skin and see if any part of your body is getting too much sun. If so, put on some sunscreen and try to cover up that area. For instance, if you’ve been out swimming, add a wrap over your legs or even a t-shirt over your top. Even a regular t-shirt will give you some additional protection.


Val SanfordWear as big a hat as you can to protect your face. Consider a hat that also has a neck protector with sun-blocking capabilities if you'll be in the hot sun with little shade around.
Sunglasses are a must.
So go get some sun, stay cool, stay hydrated, and have a bunch of fun. 



1. FDA Sunscreen Report Raises Concern Over Chemicals, Brenda Goodman.

2. REI Blog

Written by: 
Val Sanford

Val Sanford 

Growing up in Southern California, Val played competitive softball (coached by her father), was a gymnast, swimmer, ran cross country, fished, hiked, kayaked, and as an adult, experimented in rock climbing and golf. In 2010 she was diagnosed with a rare cancer; a liposarcoma was growing on her sciatic nerve. Once this tumor was removed, she has been cancer-free!

Left with significant nerve damage, she now has limited mobility. Yet still moves and engages in the world around her. She snorkels, walks, travels, and practices yoga to combat chronic pain and to maximize her ability to keep moving. She works with a personal trainer, acupuncturist, physical therapist, and massage therapist to maximize her mobility.

She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and her dog and gets her fins on so she can swim with the fish any time she can.  

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