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Tips for beating sunburn start with the right kind of hat and the right amount of sunscreen

Q: I just moved back here after attending college on the East Coast for the past few years. I’m a native Fresnan, but one thing I didn’t remember after being away for half a decade was this unforgiving sun. Since the beginning of June, I’ve been helping my uncle with his pool-cleaning business, so I spend a lot of time outside. Because of that, I’ve been getting some pretty bad sunburns during the day. I’m still putting on sunscreen (SPF 50) before I go to work, and wear a baseball cap while working, but neither of those are really helping. Would either a new hat or sunscreen with a higher SPF help?

A: Some people can burn more easily than others. So, while it’s a problem everyone faces, the exact solution to proper sun protection can change from person-to-person. Still, let’s just start with the basics. First: hats. A good hat can do wonders protecting you from the sun. I’d recommend that you acquire a hat with a large brim, the type that would provide ample protection for your face when the sun is at its peak. A nice and sturdy straw hat might fit the bill for you in that regard.

These days especially, it’s commonly misconstrued that a sunscreen’s SPF number equates to how much time you can spend in the sun, but the reality is that it indicates the degree of protection it can provide you. Ergo, using SPF 100 instead of SPF 50 doesn’t mean you can now spend double the amount of time you usually would in the sun. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommends to the public to only use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, and to apply it every two hours (more if you are sweating or going in/out of water). Do your best to keep your container of sunscreen out of direct sunlight to keep it in good condition. Be mindful of the expiration date on the sunscreen bottle, as well, as sunscreen does expire, contrary to popular belief.

It might be uncomfortable, but you might want to wear pants and shirts with long sleeves while you work, if you don’t already. Sunglasses, as well, to protect your eyes. You should also keep yourself hydrated and always have a water bottle with you to drink from while working in the sun, especially in Fresno’s heat.

Lastly, be sure to take breaks when you need them, and try to spend those in the shade, away from direct sunlight. For anything else, I’d recommend you check out some of the cool tips and articles we have available at bbb.org.

Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the BetterBusiness Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or info@cencal.bbb.org.

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