Strolling through the woods, listening to birds chirping, and zoning out from your phone and other distractions, all while working up a sweat. There's perhaps no outdoor activity in the world that's as enjoyable as hiking.

But, as enjoyable as hiking can be, it can also be harmful to your skin.

When hiking, you often spend around 4 plus hours under the glow of the sun, oftentimes at peak hours. Before you head out on your day hike, it's very important to take the necessary precautions to keep your skin safe.

Check out these hiking tips to learn how to have a safe summer stroll.

1. Pack on the Sunscreen

Before you embark on your hike, make sure you're applying sunscreen. Use broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays , and because you're likely going to be swimming or sweating, make sure the sunscreen you choose is sweat-proof and right for your skin type .

Also, don't leave the sunscreen in your car. Take it with you in your pack, as you'll need to reapply during your hike. Put the sunscreen on any exposed skin on your body, and make sure you cover your face as well to protect your skin. Make sure you are investing in mineral sunscreens that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as an active ingredient. Many chemical sunscreens in the market are harmful for sensitive skin and contaminate our environment.

If you're worried about the sunscreen breaking you out, invest in a bottle that's specially formulated for your face.

2. Wear Sun Protective Clothing

To keep your skin extra safe, you should also invest in sun-protective clothing such as UPF long sleeves and leggins. This specially formulated clothing is made from materials that help repel the harmful UV rays of the sun.

And, best of all, it's comfortable and hiking appropriate!

3. Wear Sunglasses and Chapstick

When we think of protecting our face from the sun, we often just think of our skin. However, it's important to protect your eyes and lips as well.

The best way to do this is to wear sunglasses and chapstick.

You'll want to make sure to choose sunglasses that offer 100 percent UV protection. As for chapstick, choose a brand that has SPF already built into it. Don't forget to reapply throughout your hike!

4. Hike at the Right Time

The best time to hike is the early morning and late afternoon. The sun is at its strongest between 10 am and 2 pm. While it can be hard to avoid hiking during these hours, you should at least try.

There are actually a lot of benefits to hiking before and after these hours. For one, if you hike late or early enough, you get to catch the sunrise or the sunset. And, hiking during these times means you get to avoid the crowds that the daytime hours bring.

5. Stay in the Shade

When you're hiking, you obviously have to stick to the trail. However, try to stay in shaded areas as much as possible, especially when you stop to talk a break.

Not only will this help you avoid the sun's harmful rays, but it'll also help keep you cool and energized.

Hiking Tips: Are You Ready to Have a Safe and Fun Hike?

By following these hiking tips, you'll ensure that your stroll in the sun is both fun and safe. Don't forget to pack lots of water so you don't get dehydrated! And, if you do accidentally burn, make sure to apply plenty of aloe vera gel.

Want to learn more about sun and skin safety? Be sure to check out this blog post on the top warning signs of melanoma.

January 13, 2023 — Gabriella Lowell