Protection at the Beach

Traveling with kids is always interesting. Planning a trip with friends is hectic but fun. Vacationing with skin cancer - that’s just a headache. Don’t get me wrong. Taking summer trips to sunny spots with skin cancer on your mind is definitely doable and more than worth it if you and your loved ones simply adore more tropical destinations. There are a few things you and yours need to remember as you pack those bags and start listing supplies for the road.

Skin cancer prevention at the beach

For your packing pleasure, here’s a quick checklist of items with sun protection factors you will need to stay safe while enjoying your vacation in the summer sun - some you might not have realized contained SPF or UPF.


You will need a sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF or higher. It’s wise to carry along sunscreen that is 50 SPF or greater if you plan on spending a lot of time outdoors. Include a sunscreen that is water-resistant - most sunscreens of this type are resistant to water and/or sweat for up to 80 minutes.

A hat

Throw in a hat with a nice, broad brim for shading your face, neck, chest, and shoulders from the harsh afternoon rays. You can even find hats that don’t just provide protection, they actually have SPF and UPF. Many companies are beginning to offer items like caps and hats with UPF ratings as high as 50.

Protective clothing

If your plans include a full day of beach-going, think about purchasing shirts, shorts, or pants that provide spf protection. Several companies offer items that give your skin plenty of coverage as well as built-in SPF protection. I was surprised and very pleased to see that my local Wal-mart is now selling t-shirts with 50+UPF at affordable prices.

An umbrella

There are two types you might want to take with you on your trip. A beach umbrella is a given, but you might want to include a handheld umbrella for long walks where you will be in direct sunlight or days spent in theme parks. Umbrellas with UV protection are available as well for just a little more money than a standard rain umbrella and just as easy to carry in a bag or pack in the car. A quick search on Amazon or eBay will lead you to a list of umbrellas that block harmful rays.

Moisturizers with SPF

Time spent in and out of the water can wreak havoc on your skin, leaving it dry and tight. Include a lotion in your bag of tricks that has SPF. If you miss the days when you worried less about protection and more about tanning, there are lotions with SPF for you, too. With just a little research, you can find tinted moisturizers with SPF to give your skin a summery glow while you protect your skin. Keep in mind that an SPF of 30 or greater is most beneficial for your skin.


You won’t forget to protect your eyes, so sunglasses are a no-brainer. It’s actually pretty difficult to find a pair of sunglasses that doesn’t have UVA and UVB protection. Shoot for wraparound frames and lenses that block 99-100% of UVA and UVB rays.

Laundry detergent with UPF

Turn your own clothing into items that shield your skin from UV rays. Prepare at home for your trip by using a laundry detergent that adds UV protection to your own clothing. Your clothes will be protected throughout your trip and beyond, as many of these detergents last through multiple washings.

Whether you choose to shop extensively for items with SPF and UPF or not, make sure you include the above items as you pack. Even if your shirts and pants don’t contain UPF, toss in long sleeves. You’ll be glad you did when you see burned skin and tan lines all around you. Hats and caps shade your face, shield your eyes, and protect your scalp. Beyond all else, make certain sunscreen makes it into your bag. Commit it to memory - SPF of 30 or higher! Healthy skin = happy vacationing!

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