Courtney Williams


Sun’s out, guns out. Mother Nature is finally starting to cooperate, and with that comes t-shirts, shorts, playing volleyball and tanning on the green next to Solberg. And, thanks to the never ending South Dakota winter, the first nice day guarantees a sunburn for anyone not wearing sunscreen.

Let’s start off talking about SPF, or sun protection factor. Nowadays, with all the risk of skin cancer and SPFs ranging from 10-100+, it’s hard to know what sunscreen to buy.

Here’s a hint: you can have the highest SPF on the planet, and you’re only getting the same amount of sun protection as you are with SPF 30. You don’t need the 100. 30 will do; you just have to actually put it on.

Water-resistant, water-proof. What’s the difference? The Melanoma Foundation defines “water resistant” as maintaining its SPF  level after 40 minutes of some kind of water exposure. “Waterproof” refers to when it maintains its SPF after 80 minutes of water exposure.

Also, fun fact, there’s no such thing as “sweat proof” sunscreen. If you’re going to be outside and in the water, pick up water-resistant sunscreen. And don’t forget to reapply at least every hour and a half.

Because Mother Nature is a tricky woman, be aware that cloudy and snowy days often have more reflective and damaging rays, especially if you’re skiing.

That’s another reason to pick up lotion and chapstick with SPF in it. I know we don’t think about sunscreen and snow going together, but they should. You don’t want to leave Great Bear looking like a red raccoon, so throw some sunscreen in your board bag and go.

Don’t forget your face and lips! Some sunscreen varieties can clog your pores, and if it gets in your eyes or mouth, well, good luck to you.

Thankfully, brands like Neutrogena, Nivea for Men and even BareMinerals make face lotion with SPF, so you don’t have to worry about your eyes burning or having that nasty sunscreen taste in your mouth. Blech. And yes, men, you too, can wear SPF and still smell like a man.

Because the skin on our lips is the thinnest, it is the most susceptible to sunburn. Trust me, sunburned lips hurt, and no one likes to kiss peeling lips, so invest in some chapstick. Most lotions now have SPF in them, just check out the bottle the next time you’re at Target.

You don’t want skin cancer. Find a sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays, has an SPF of 15 or more and don’t forget the chapstick.