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Beat the Burn This Summer: At the Beach and Beyond

(NewsUSA) - Whether in the sun for 10 minutes or 10 hours, it's essential to protect your skin wherever you go. Here are three common sun protection slip-ups, plus helpful tips to ensure a burn-free summer.

Mistake No. 1: Using a white T-shirt as a coverup.

As a rule, lightweight and loosely woven fabrics offer little protection. A white T-shirt has an average sun protection factor of 7 and loses up to 50 percent of its SPF when wet.

Stick with tightly woven fabrics in darker colors. One option available now incorporates Ultraviolet Protection Factor into the fabric, blocking up to 97 percent of both UVA and UVB rays.

For example, the Titanium Silver Ridge shirt by Columbia Sportswear provides advanced UPF protection, cooling vents and moisture-wicking properties. Columbia offers a full line of UPF attire, including T-shirts, pants, jackets, hats and eyewear.

Mistake No. 2: Assuming SPF lotion protects against everything.

No sunscreens offer 100 percent protection from ultraviolet radiation. The American Academy of Dermatology advises checking the label on your sunscreen for broad-spectrum coverage.

SPF ratings address only UVB protection level. In fact, many sunscreens do not protect against UVA at all, which scientists now believe may be linked to skin cancer. Look for ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium oxide or avobenzone, which protect against UVA rays.

Clothing, hats and shade are the surest ways to protect skin from ultraviolet radiation. Common sites of skin damage and skin cancer include the neck, ears, temples, lips, face and nose, so protect these areas with a wide-brimmed hat. The UPF 30 Bora Bora Booney hat from Columbia Sportswear features a wide brim, plus quick-drying materials and a cool mesh upper panel.

Mistake No. 3: Forgetting sunscreen while running errands.

Unfortunately, most people use sun protection only when planning a full day outside. However, years of short daily doses of sun add up the most.

Typically, a person receives 18 hours of incidental sun exposure weekly. As little as 15 minutes in the sun daily over the course of a month leads to 8 hours of beach-like sun exposure.

An easy way to incorporate sun protection into your daily routine is by replacing your regular lotions with those that have a minimum SPF of 15.

So get sun smart and enjoy more time reaping the countless benefits of the great outdoors. For more information about the products mentioned, visit www.columbia.com.