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Poolside Packing List: Everything You Need for Proper Sun Protection

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Days at the pool are some of the most memorable for kids and adults alike. But they can come with their fair share of hazards—it’s all fun in the sun until someone gets sunburned. What better way to ruin your pool party than to have bright red, uncomfortable burns? But it’s not just an aesthetic annoyance. Severe sunburns can lead to lasting problems like skin cancer. Every year 3.5 million people are diagnosed with some form of skin care. Thankfully skin cancer his very preventable if you take the necessary steps to shield yourself.

Here’s what to pack to best protect yourselves and your little ones before you dive in to summer fun:


It’s not just your skin that needs protecting—sun can have damaging effects on your eyes as well. Be sure to check the label before you buy. For the best protection, ophthalmologists suggest wearing a pair that blocks 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB light. Anything else is not effectively guarding your eyes.


This might seem like an obvious one, but we can’t emphasize enough the importance of wearing sunscreen. Always choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, that’s water-resistant and provides a broad-spectrum of coverage. Apply at least one ounce (a shot glass worth) to all exposed areas of your skin 15 minutes prior to going outside. Reapply immediately after swimming or at least every two hours.

Lip Balm

The skin on your lips is actually the most vulnerable of all the skin on your body. Lips skin is thin and lacks melanin so they can easily burn. It’s best to apply an SPF (of at least 15) lip balm about 30 minutes before you go outside. You’ll also want to reapply every two hours.

Wide-Brimmed Hats

You’ll need a hat wide enough to cover areas of your scalp that are difficult to reach with sunscreen. Ideally the tops of your ears, the back of your head and your neck will be covered by the right hat. Look for hats with a brim that’s at least 3 inches for proper protection (ex. bucket, outback or tightly woven straw).


To best shield yourself from the sun, snag a seat under an umbrella. The sun is strongest between 10AM and 4PM so seek shelter and try to minimize your time spent in direct sunlight during those hours.


Water, best served in a reusable bottle or canteen, is essential to keeping your body hydrated while sitting in the summer heat. Not only do plastic bottles present a danger to the environment and sea creatures, they can be dangerous to humans, when heated, as well. Research shows that plastic bottles exposed to heat (especially from the sun’s rays) over a long period of time can release dangerous BPAs.


The best way to protect your skin? Cover up! Clothing is the most basic and best means of avoiding sunburn. Even better? UPF clothing. By wearing items with a UPF rating of 50 or higher you can shield yourself from the ultraviolet radiation given off by the sun. Dermatologists strongly recommend UPF clothing for athletes or individuals who spend longer than two hours exposed to strong sunlight.

Get more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.