5 Essential Sun Smart Packing Tips

Sometimes our vacation goals seem like they’re working against each other. On the one hand, we want to protect ourselves from the sun — nothing ruins the vibe of a trip like premature skin aging, wrinkles, or the possibility of skin cancer. On the other hand, we just want to look cute! Is it possible to have it both ways? Absolutely. Being sun safe never has to mean sacrificing style. Use this list of five packing essentials to stylishly protect yourself from the sun.

1. If you’re going outside, bring sunscreen

Whether you’re headed to the snowy mountains for a skiing getaway or jetting to a beach for a tropical retreat, make sure to put sunscreen at the top of your packing list. Harmful UV rays can reach you whether it’s sunny or cloudy, so don’t skip sunscreen just because it’s a cooler day. Be extra careful if you’re going near snow, sand, or water, since those surfaces reflect the sun’s rays and make skin damage more likely. Always opt for sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that provides broad-spectrum coverage and is water resistant.

2. Protect your head in style


Nothing brings a look together quite like a hat. Add in the benefits of shade and coverage and you’ll find that “sun protection” and “stylish” can happily coexist. Look for a wide-brimmed hat (you want the brim to be at least three inches) to give your face more protection. Most of us don’t apply sunscreen to our scalps and we often forget the tops of our ears and backs of our necks, but a hat can help cover areas we missed with sunscreen. Think “more skin, more brim” and wear a bigger hat when hanging out by the pool or ocean. Now is not the time to skimp on style: coordinate your hat and swimsuit to feel flawlessly protected.

3. Clothes can serve double duty


Just like with the right hat, the ideal outfit looks cute while providing protection from harmful UV rays. Also just like the right hat, more is more: the more your skin is covered, the more sun protection you’re receiving. A shirt provides more protection than a swimsuit and a long-sleeved shirt provides more protection than short sleeves. Just remember that not all clothes are equal. Synthetic fibers in darker colors provide more protection than bleached cottons. A lighter fabric provides less protection, so a thin, silky cover-up might not offer much coverage. If you can see sun shining through a fabric, UV rays are getting in. Here are some tips for choosing the right clothes.

4. Don’t forget your lips


Since we don’t put sunscreen on our lips, it’s easy to forget our lips altogether. Don’t fall into this trap. Lips have a thinner protective top layer of cells than the rest of our body, so it’s super important to protect them. A colorful lipstick with SPF is a great way to protect your lips and add another layer to your summer look.

5. Be sure to pack a few fun outfits to wear indoors


UV exposure is most intense between the hours of 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., so why not plan some fun indoor activities during those times? Whether booking an afternoon at the spa or spending a few hours at a wine tasting, limiting sun exposure during the middle of the day is always a smart plan. Scheduling activities inside also gives more depth to your vacation wardrobe: that outfit that was too much for the beach is just right for an indoor lunch. Who knew that protecting yourself from the sun could be such a fun, stylish experience?

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