How many hours do you think you and your family will spend in the sun this summer? Lots is probably going to be the answer. Whether it’s a day at the beach, a family walk through the countryside or even just a BBQ in the backyard, we love spending our summer days basking in the warmth offered by the sun.

Unfortunately, spending too much time in the sun without adequate protection can be extremely dangerous. The United States records more than 5.4 million non-melanoma skin cancer cases every year. In fact, over the last 30 years, skin cancer has affected more people than every other type of cancer combined.

If you don’t do your best to protect yourself from the harmful UV rays found in sunlight, then you too could be at danger of damaging the cells within your skin which is how skin cancer develops.

That’s why it is important to follow these 7 tips this summer to protect your family from the sun.

Always use sunscreen
Baz Luhrmann’s 1999 hit ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’ may have only reached number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US but over in Europe it was a smash hit, topping the music charts in both the United Kingdom and Ireland. Among the many pearls of wisdom that offered was that you should always wear sunscreen and Luhrmann, being an Australian, knows what he is talking about in that regard.

The importance of adequate sunscreen cannot be overstated. Most dermatologists say that you should be wearing sunscreen all year round, but it is especially important in the summer months when more time is spent outside and the sunlight is at its strongest. In order to maximize the protection you receive, make sure to buy sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 and that the product you are using has “broad-spectrum protection” which means it will protect you and your family from both UVA and UVB rays.

Reapply your sunscreen regularly
Putting sunscreen on in the first place isn’t enough to protect yourself from sunlight. You also need to be reapplying it regularly. Experts say you should add a new coating every two hours. If you are sweating or have been playing around in water, then you should reapply once an hour instead. Despite what your sunscreen might try to claim, no sunscreen is truly waterproof.

Use smart cosmetics
Sunscreen isn’t the only product available that contains UV protection – general cosmetics do as well. Look out for high-quality moisturizers and lotions and always check the label to see if they offer UV protection. These sorts of cosmetics shouldn’t be used in place of actual sunscreen, but rather they can boost your protection against the sun in the summer. They are also helpful throughout the winter as, although not as dangerous, the suns rays can still do damage then. Nobody wants to be wearing sunscreen in December or January, so these smart cosmetics are the next best thing.

Think about what you are wearing
Clothing can play a huge role in helping to protect your skin from sunlight. Now, obviously it isn’t going to be practical for you to cover every single inch of your body during the hot summer months by wearing jumpers and trousers throughout the day, but you can try and limit the amount of sun you are exposing yourself and your family to. Try to dress everyone in light pants and long-sleeved shirts as much as possible and don’t forget to accessorize with a hat. Whilst you might struggle to get your children into clothes that could leave them hot and bothered, hats are not only a great way of protecting yourself from sunlight but of looking cool as well.

Take cover when the sun is at its strongest
The sun is at its strongest between 10am and 4pm, so getting out of sunlight during those hours is recommended. Of course, that may not always practical – and if we’re being honest, who wants to spend six hours a day cooped up indoors in the middle of summer? That’s why when you and your family are out and about at the height of the day, you should try and seek shade as much as possible. If you are at the beach, use a parasol to lounge around under. If you are at the park, find a big, shady tree to base yourself around. You can also kit out your patio with galtech patio umbrellas to offer the necessary protection for the sun, UV rays and glare in your own backyard.

Get out the shades
The sun doesn’t just pose a danger to our skin; it can also have a devastating affect on our eyes as well. From a young age, it’s drummed into us never to look directly at the sun during the damage it can cause, but even sunlight, in general, isn’t good for the health of our sight. That’s because UV rays damage eye tissue and the only way to truly protect yourself from them is with a pair of sunglasses. The good news is that there is a pair of shades out there that suit everyone, and you’ll look super cool sporting them – just make sure they have total UV protection to offer the maximum resistance against the power of the sun.

If you’re worried, check it out
Finally, if you are worried about the condition of your skin or believe that you might have a problem developing, then don’t be afraid to get it checked out by a dermatologist. Signs that there could be an issue include any new growths or changes in shape, color or size of your freckles or moles. A dermatologist can carry out a full body check of your skin, spot any areas of concern and then advise you what as to what needs to be done. If you thought there was a problem with your heart, you’d go straight to a doctor and it shouldn’t be any different when it comes to your skin.