How to be the whitest girl on the beach.

Happy Tuesday all! Hope you are all enjoying every bit of the last month of summer. I, for one, definitely am. My fiance and I are down on the Jersey Shore with his family. We are staying just a short walk to the ocean (but an even shorter walk to an ice cream shop!) and its beautiful. We’re super fortunate to be able to join and to have the longest vacation we’ve ever had together!

How to be the whitest girl on the beach.

So, I’m not so sure this will be a news flash to anyone, but I’m pale. Like, snow white pale. So much so, that literally one of my friends calls me Snow White. So there’s the proof. But, let’s be real. Snow White is smart. For real (well, kind of..she is a cartoon…). She doesn’t get all hyped up about everyone being tan. Meanwhile, Ariel is floppy around at any time of the day wearing nothing but a bikini top…Um, girl? Haven’t you heard that the UV rays are strongest between 10 and 4 pm? Someone should really give that girl some waterproof sunscreen…

Yes, sun protection. That’s what I’m talking about. Granted, I’m sure many of you have already taken your beachy vacays…but, well…even a little late, everyone always benefits from a sun-refresher and let’s get real…Sun Safety isn’t just for the beach. Did you know? The Sun is responsible for 80% of premature skin aging. Unlike, other cancers, the known cause of skin cancer is the sun. Using a sunscreen will help protect from the harmful UV rays as well as diminish the onset of wrinkles. On a scarier note, did you know that 1 in 5 Americans develop skin cancer in their lifetime? One person dies every 57 minutes as a result of melanoma. Talk about a serious sun wake up call.

How to the be the whitest girl on the beach. | Keep it Real Clean.

Let’s be real, preventing wrinkles is one thing, but preventing cancer? That’s no joke. I’m all about being the whitest girl on the beach. When we were little, we had a camp on one of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario. We spent the entire day at the beach… like 9am until 7pm…playing, swimming, burying eachother (and then ccovering that person in cheese curls so the seagulls would eat them off of them…ah, memories ;-)). At our camp, we had an entire SHELF of sunscreen. That’s serious. But, also smart. I would occasionally get a little pink, especially on my cheeks, but no serious burns. Then, when I was in high school, I desperately CRAVED a tan. Seriously, what is it about Prom that makes you want to lay in a toaster oven just to get a little bronzed. Not like anyone would believe that glow was natural in May but I digress…

For about 5 years, I would desperately, and stupidly, try a whole bunch of things to get a tan. Maybe it was being out in the sun during the high UV hours (10 to 4pm) or maybe it was applying a low sunscreen (seriously, SPF 8? what is that.). Whatever it was, it didn’t work. All I got was pink and a little discomfort when I tried to sleep at night. It wasn’t until I was in college that I got this horrible burn. It still makes me cringe to think about it. I was in Miami with my parents and I was determined to get tan. Not only was I SUPER pink, but I also had a slight blister on one of my shoulders and my skin was peeling. Granted, I know many people who have had multiple burns that peel, but um? Guys. That shouldn’t happen. Not ever.

I once read this fact and it really scared me. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, getting even one blistering sunburn could double your risk of developing Melanoma, the most serious, and the deadliest forms of skin cancer. After getting that one sunburn, I decided getting a bronzed glow (from the sun at least) just wasn’t worth it. Being super fair, I actually consider that to be pretty lucky. Not only do, I get to have fun nicknames (Snow white, Porcelain…) but I also have a great indicator when my body has had enough sun.

How to the be the whitest girl on the beach. | Keep it Real Clean.

Its a myth that only pale or fair-skinned people can develop skin cancer which means that everyone should not only be educated about the risks of excessive sun exposure, but should also be well prepared to be in the sun. I’m not saying you should be avoiding the sun completely, because hello! vitamin D! Just kidding, but let’s be real…basking in the sun is on top of the list of life’s greatest moments. So, if you want to be a smart sun worshiper follow these sun rules to live by:

1. Wear sunscreen.

The first line of defense against the sun should always be sunscreen. When you look for a sunscreen, make sure to find something with a protection factor of SPF 15 or higher. Its a misconception that you don’t need to wear sunscreen on days that are cloudy or overcast, but 80% of the harmful rays (UV rays) can still trickle in through clouds. The best method for applying sunscreen is to apply 30 minutes before leaving the house to let it dry and “soak” into your skin, then make sure to apply every 2 hours or after sweating or towel drying. Oh, also…don’t forget! Just because you aren’t at the beach you still need to protect that skin from the sun. Make sure to look for a daily face lotion, or makeup that contains an SPF for your face and a body lotion to protect your body!

2. Invest in a solid cover up.

I mean, everyone knows that a cute cover up is VITAL for the beach. No beach ensemble is complete without the perfect cover up. When scouring the market for the perfect cover up try to find something that is made from tightly woven fabric. Ideally, you should look for an outfit that has long sleeves. Choose light fabrics to avoid getting too hot, but make sure to always lather up underneath before putting on your cover up. Wanna make it even better? The Skin Cancer Foundation has now begun to award a Seal of Recommendation for clothing that has a UV Rating. You can find some super cute rash guards to wear over your suit! I mean, who doesn’t want to look like the ladies of Blue Crush…

3. Bring along some shade.

I bet if all beachy umbrellas looked like the cabanas you see in every beach movie we would all be alot more willing to jump under one. Umbrellas or a “Beach Shelter” can be a great way to still enjoy the beach and the sun without fearing for your skin safety. Added bonus? You also can stay at the water a whole lot longer because you won’t be sweltering in the sun. When you aren’t “stationary”, make sure to wear a wide brimmed hat. Look for one made of tightly woven material (Sorry, no straw hats with holes!). Look for one that offers sun protection on your face, ears, and the back of your neck.

4. Protect your eyes.

You know those sunglasses that make you look like a bug? The ones SO big that they cover half your face. Those. are. perfect. Not only do they protect your eyes from UV rays and the risk of developing cataracts, they also protect the delicate skin around your eyes. Make sure to look for a pair of glasses that offer both UVA and UVB protection. Rest assured that if you are buying any substantial sunglasses in the United States (Sorry, Forever21 $5 may not meet this…But I have seen a few with the sticker to tell you when they are!) then you should be good to go. If you choose not to wear sunglasses, make sure to wear some protection on your head to block rays from overhead, and don’t sit too close to the ocean for risk that the rays can reflect from the water.

5. Avoid excessive sun exposure.

Make sure to remember that, just like with all good things, too much of a good thing can be bad. Even if you follow all of the other recommendations, its not a bad idea to make sure to take a break from the sun every so often. The UVA and UVB rays are highest between 10-4pm which means this may be a great time to stop into a restaurant for lunch, or head back to the house to read a book on the covered porch. No, you don’t have to avoid the sun completely this time of the day, but its probably not the best to hit up the beach only during these hours.

How to the be the whitest girl on the beach. | Keep it Real Clean.

So, I’m sure you can picture it now…Me underneath a huge umbrella, slathered up with SPF 50, with huge sunglasses, long sleeves and a hat…oh, and (hopefully!) a little less wrinkled at age 65 😉

Keep up the SPF friends!


Posted in Lifestyle & Travel
2 comments on “How to be the whitest girl on the beach.
  1. Amanda | Chasing My Sunshine says:

    I love this post!! I am so surprised when people still slather on tanning oil or go without sunscreen. The group of people I usually beach with are sunscreen hounds. Reapplying is our jam and I am not afraid to say so. I do need to get better about applying it for runs, even short runs!

    Side note: where are you down the shore? I have one more trip coming up Labor Day weekend, but I am going to miss the summer.

    • Colleen O'Connor says:

      Gosh I know!! I look like a crazy person at the beach, but whatever. I like my non crispy skin 😉 We’re in Sea Isle!

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Colleen O'Connor - Keep It Real Clean

About Me

Hey! I'm Colleen and I'm a healthy lifestyle blogger living in Philadelphia, PA. Join me on this adventure to lead a healthier lifestyle including clean eating and fitness, all while enjoying the real world!

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