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The Ultimate Summer Sunscreen Guide for Redheads

5 things you want (and don’t want) to know about keeping your redhead skin protected this summer.

Sunscreen is the most important part of any redhead’s skincare routine, especially in the summer. Understanding sunscreen lingo and proper sunscreen use can be confusing, so we’ve gathered everything you need (and don’t need) to know in this ultimate guide for summer sunscreen usage

1. Keywords all redheads should know

  • SPF: SPF stands for sun protection factor and this in combination with the number next to it measures how well the product will protect your skin from UV rays. Learn more about SPF numbers and how to choose the best one in this helpful article: What Does the SPF Number on Sunscreen Mean?
  • Chemical Sunscreen: A sunscreen that absorbs UV rays before your skin can.
  • Mineral Sunscreen: A sunscreen that physically blocks UV rays from reaching your skin.
  • Broad Spectrum: A sunscreen product that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • UVA / UVB: The two harmful forms of UV rays that cause sunburn and skin cancer. Learn more about UVA, UVB, and even UVC rays in this helpful article: UVA, UVB, and UVC: Why Redheads Should Understand the Difference 
  • UV Index: The UV index is a number assigned to how much UV exposure there is at a given time. The scale is from 1-11+ with 1 being low exposure and 11+ being extremely high exposure. The higher the UV index, the more likely you are to burn and/or have your skin and eyes damaged by UV rays. Let’s dig more into the UV index numbers below:

2. Why redheads should have knowledge about the UV Index

  • 1-2 means Low Exposure – Wear sunglasses if it’s bright out, if you burn easily, consider wearing sunscreen and using sun protection clothing.
  • 3-5 means Moderate Exposure – Sunscreen and sun protection should be used outdoors. Avoid direct sunlight during midday.
  • 6-7 means High Exposure – Protection against the sun is needed by all. Sunscreen, sunglasses, and sun protection clothing should be worn. Reduce sun exposure between 11 am and 4 pm. 
  • 8-10 means Very High Exposure – Unprotected skin will be damaged quickly, take extra precautions. Avoid the sun between 11 am and 4 pm. If you are exposed to the sun be sure to wear sun protection clothing, sunglasses, and sunscreen. 
  • 11+ means Extreme Exposure – Avoid the sun, seek shade, and wear sun protection clothing, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Skin and be damaged within minutes.

3. The 7 golden rules of sunscreen every redhead should know 

  • Always reapply sunscreen every 2 hours or after swimming or sweating.
  • Wait 15 minutes after applying sunscreen to go out into the sun.
  • Sunscreen is necessary even on cold or cloudy days.
  • SPF should be the last step in your skincare routine, but applied before makeup products. 
  • Sunscreen should be applied liberally to all exposed skin.
  • If sunscreen cannot be reapplied every 2 hours, other sun protection should be used such as hats, protective clothing, or seeking shade. 
  • You can layer sunscreens, but don’t mix them!

4. Looking for a new sunscreen? See our redhead-approved favorites: 

5. Increase your knowledge with these helpful H2BAR articles: 

Rock it like a Redhead!