two children wearing hats on a family vacation

Planning a family vacation can be exciting, but it’s essential to prioritize sun safety for everyone involved. Whether you are headed to the beach, mountains, or a lakeside cabin, protecting your family from the sun’s harmful rays should be a top priority. Here are some valuable tips to ensure a sun-safe and stress-free vacation from the board-certified dermatologists at Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute:

1. Pack Sun-Savvy Essentials:

Remember to bring sunscreen for the whole family. Ensure that your sunscreen is not expired, as using outdated products can lead to burns. Consider purchasing new sunscreen for each season or prioritize buying upon reaching your destination.

Additionally, opt for sun-protective clothing, such as rash guards with high Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). UPF-rated clothing blocks UV radiation effectively. Wide-brim hats provide additional protection for the scalp, ears, and face, while sunglasses shield the eyes and lips from sun damage.

2. Choose the Right Sunscreen:

Select a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that offers protection against both UVB and UVA rays. Look for physical-based sunscreens containing zinc or titanium dioxide. When using spray sunscreens, ensure proper application by rubbing them into the skin to avoid streaky coverage and sunburn. Remember to reapply sunscreen every two hours, or more frequently if sweating or swimming.

Note: The Skin Cancer Foundation advises against using sunscreen on babies younger than six months. Keep infants out of direct sunlight, dress them in protective clothing, and use stroller sun shields. Use sunscreen on babies six months or older but continue to protect them from direct sunlight with appropriate clothing.

3. Consider Your Location:

Sun strength varies based on altitude and proximity to the equator. Higher altitudes and closer proximity to the equator result in stronger UV rays. Reflective surfaces like water, sand, and snow intensify UV exposure. While traveling, remember that UVA rays can penetrate glass and plastic, so they won’t offer sufficient protection.

Seek shade, even on cloudy days, and avoid peak hours of sun exposure. Cloudy weather reduces UV radiation but does not eliminate the risk of sunburn.

4. Treating Sunburn:

In the unfortunate event of sunburn, take immediate steps to promote healing and prevent further complications. Apply aloe vera gel frequently and use ice packs to cool the burned areas and minimize blistering. Take cool showers instead of hot ones to avoid exacerbating the condition. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories like aspirin or ibuprofen can help alleviate pain. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, as sunburns can lead to dehydration. Keep sunburned areas covered with loose-fitting clothing when outdoors. Seek medical attention if blisters cover a large area or if a fever develops.

By implementing these precautions, you can enjoy a sun-safe vacation with your family. At Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute, your well-being is our top priority. If you have any questions or concerns regarding sun damage, skin cancer, or other skin-related issues, schedule an appointment with one of our skilled dermatology providers. Visit to explore our 11 convenient locations throughout Reno-Tahoe area, including Incline Village.

The Reno-Tahoe area dermatology experts at Skin Cancer & Dermatology Institute are renowned for their exceptional skin care and patient-centered approach, seamlessly integrating cutting-edge technology and advanced lasers into their practice. With a network of 11 convenient locations, they have been dedicatedly serving our community for over two decades.

Originally published “Tips for Sun Safety on Your Family Vacation” 
(July 18, 2023) Tahoe Daily Tribune