May 24, 2023 Sun Safety Tips for the Beach

happy woman walking on the beach

You’ve selected the perfect day to go to the beach. Now, you need to prepare for your day of fun in the sun. No worries! Franz Smith, MD, MAcM, FACS, Northern Lead for the Melanoma and Soft Tissue Oncology Program and Medical Director of the Melanoma Center at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, has suggestions on how to do just that. Simply follow these sun safety tips.

Use sunscreen.

It is especially important to wear sunscreen while at the beach because it can help prevent skin cancer. Sunscreen works by protecting you from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays (UV). According to the American Academy of Dermatology, your sunscreen should be SPF 30 or higher, offer broad-spectrum protection and be water resistant. "Follow all the recommended guidelines for using sunscreen. Reapply sunscreen every two hours, or immediately after swimming or sweating,” says Dr. Smith.

Choose sun-protective clothing.

When selecting clothing to wear to the beach, choose outfits that cover your skin because they can provide better protection from the sun. Wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants or skirts will eliminate the need to reapply sunscreen. Make sure you select lightweight clothing for comfort. In addition, be sure to wear light colored clothing because it will not absorb as much heat from the sun as dark colored clothes.

Wear a hat.

Wearing a hat with a brim all the way around to shade the back of your neck, your face, and ears is one of the best ways to protect against the sun. Hats containing a tightly woven fabric, think canvas hats, work best to protect your skin from UV rays. Says Dr. Smith, “Wearing a hat is a must if you are at the beach. This simple protective measure will safeguard your skin from UV rays.”

Consider your food and drinks.

Your snacks should be safeguarded from the sun while at the beach. Bring more than one cooler with you to separate your food from your drinks. Drinks can go in a separate cooler because it will be opened more frequently. Remember to add plenty of ice or gel packs to both coolers. To keep your food and drinks safe, partially bury your coolers in the sand, cover your coolers with blankets or towels, and shade them under a beach umbrella.

Now that you have planned for your day, there is only one thing left to do, enjoy your time filled with sun, sand and ocean waves!


American Academy of Dermatology Association

Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The Skin Cancer Foundation

Southern Eats & Goodie


National Park Service

Mississippi State University