Experts tell us how to protect ourselves from the Coachella sun so those rays don’t kill our vibes

This year’s festival season is finally here. But before you head off to Coachella for an amazing weekend or two, it’s important to be prepared. When you’re out having a good time, it’s not uncommon to push aside your health for the fun you’re having. For instance, forgetting to drink water and becoming dehydrated can happen when you let go and allow yourself to enjoy the festival. But dehydration isn’t the only thing to be mindful of. What about Coachella sun protection?

“Enduring excessive heat and sun exposure at outdoor music festivals increases a person’s risk of sun damage and skin cancer,” Liz Eglinton, skin cancer awareness advocate and founder of Snapper Rock, tells HelloGiggles. “Festival-goers must take extra precaution in keeping themselves protected by applying ample sunscreen and wearing protective clothing, as well as hats and sunglasses with UPF50+ fabrication to help shield themselves from harmful UV rays.” 

Being out in the sun all day in the middle of the Coachella Valley can cause some serious damage if you’re not protected. Thankfully, experts have all the essential tips you need in order to stay safe:

 Skin protection 

“Outdoor festivals are so much fun. But it’s Coachella. It’s the dessert, it’s hot, and there aren’t a lot of trees providing shade,” Dr. Anna Guanche, board certified dermatologist and beauty expert, tells HelloGiggles. She offers up the following sun protection tips…

1 Go for a sunscreen with SPF 60.

For a major outdoor event like Coachella where you’ll be out in the sun all day, Dr. Guanche suggests wearing an SPF 60 or higher.

 “Even though the skin cancer foundation suggests an SPF of 30, I prefer having people use SPF 60," Guanche says. "I want you to block out the sunburning UVB rays and the UVA aging rays, which are the rays that cause brown spots and wrinkles."

Make sure you reapply sunscreen every two hours. If you happen to feel heat or burning anywhere on your body, don’t write it off by saying you just applied it an hour ago. “Your body is basically telling you that it needs to be protected and you should listen to it,” she says. So don’t wait.

2 Be sure to cover everything.

Also, make sure your body is fully covered in sunscreen. Hit places that you wouldn’t normally think of like the backs of your hands, the tops of your feet, and the back of your neck. “Foot and hand melanoma can be the most aggressive type of melanoma,” Guanche says. Sometimes it can show up on the bottom of your foot and won’t be diagnosed in the early stages because it goes unnoticed for much longer. Many people also tend to forget the back of their neck just because it’s covered by hair. But it never hurts to be safe. 

3 Tan beforehand.

“If you want to have a glowing tan for Coachella, there are a couple of products I love like Vita Liberata, St. Tropez, or Jergen’s Body Glow,” she says. Just apply it daily for a week before you go. “This way you aren’t trying to get a real tan and thereby damaging your skin.” Instead of tanning, you can focus on the music, the fun, and of course, applying and reapplying your sunscreen. 

4 Wear proper clothing.


Buy the Royal Palm Sarong here, for $64.

You’ve probably seen clothes that have UV protection included. In fact, Snapper Rock is an example of a retailer that sells UV-protective clothing. There’s not a ton out there in stores, but you’ll catch them occasionally. According to Guanche, those shirts, dresses, and other clothing items are made out of material that is “impregnated with a UV protector.” These items can filter the sun and prevent any damage. If those aren’t available (or not exactly your style), covering up can also be a lifesaver.

“Let’s be real, the people who are going to Coachella aren’t going to want to cover up from top to bottom, so I want to stress that they should apply sunscreen and reapply it often,” she says. Also, wear a cute hat with a wider brim to protect your face.

5 Start healthy sun protection habits now.

“I know it seems like you are invincible right now, but when you go out in the sun, you are accumulating sun damage that will affect you later in life,” she says. Most of your sun damage happens before age 25, but skin cancer changes might not show up until well into your 60s. So it’s crucial to start those healthy sun protection habits now in order to avoid skin cancer when we’re older. “I’ve noticed that this generation has been raised on wearing sunscreen and that is a wonderful thing,” she says. “I’m hoping we can make being sun-safe sexy or trendy in this generation.” 

Although protecting your skin from the sun is the most obvious thing, it’s not the only thing.

 Eye protection 

“Sunglasses for festival season are a must, not only for staying fashionable but also staying protected, Jennifer Lyerly, O.D., Transitions Brand Ambassador, tells HelloGiggles. “It’s crucial to know, when it comes to sun protection for your eyes, not all lenses are created equal. 

If you want to ensure your eyes are protected from the sun at Coachella, it’s important to verify that your lenses provide at least 98% protection against UVA and UVB rays. “Don’t let darker lenses fool you into thinking they offer more protection,” she says. The darkness of your sunglass lenses don’t accurately represent the lenses’ ability to block UV rays. 

“While the right glasses are a great start when it comes to eye protection, doctors and eye care professionals agree people should take a trifecta approach to protection, to provide your face with maximum protection from the sun’s harmful rays: 1) wear protective sunglasses, 2) apply sunscreen, and 3) don a wide-brimmed hat,” Lyerly says. “When you rock the trifecta approach, you’ll definitely be Coachella-ready!” 

 Hair protection 

“Just like your skin, we all need to protect our hair from the damaging effects of the sun, especially when exposed to long periods of sunlight during festival season,” Nick Stenson, vice president of Salon Services and Trend at Ulta Beauty, tells HelloGiggles. Stenson recommends starting your Coachella hair protection with a high-protein conditioner or mask, followed by a pre-styling primer. “Spraying on a good pre-styling primer and adding the finishing touch with a color-protecting locking spray before heading out will definitely protect against the sun,” he says. 

Try the following hair care products: 

Paul Mitchell Color Care Color Protect Locking Spray ($14) will make your hair look conditioned and super shiny while extending the life of your hair color. Added bonus: It has powerful UVA and UVB protection, which helps prevent color fade.

Redken Color Extend Conditioner ($34) is complex with powerful micro-net technology and UV filters to help lock in color and lock out aggressors.

It’s a 10 Miracle Deep Conditioner Plus Keratin ($21) features keratin as the key active ingredient and has a strong protective coating that resists heat, humidity, split ends, and sun damage.

Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Heat/UV Protective Primer ($28) is a sublime pre-styler that protects and conditions dry, coarse, or brittle hair. As Stenson says, it even makes styling a breeze.

It’s definitely a lot to take in, but protecting your body against the sun is super important. You don’t want to have an amazing weekend (or two) at Coachella just to find yourself getting treated for major sunburns when you go back home. That is nobody’s idea of a good time. So do what you can now in order to protect yourself, so you can enjoy many more future Coachellas to come.

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