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Friday fashion: Enjoy the sun safely with beach bag essentials

Courtesy of MCT

With the final weeks of summer drawing near, we’re all trying to soak up as much sun as possible before heading back to class. For many of us, these next few weeks also mean vacation time. Packing the perfect beach bag can be almost as stressful as deciding which bikini works best that day. Here are a few essentials you should always make sure to have with you at the shore.

Sunglasses: Whether you prefer wayfarers, oversized or aviators, sunglasses are a must on the beach. Yes, they might give you annoying tan lines, but will prove to be useful in the long run. The lenses keep you from squinting against the strong glare of the sun against the water at the beach. Prolonged squinting can lead to crow’s feet and other facial wrinkles that you’re going to want to avoid later on in life.

Sunscreen: You will need to reapply! Read the back of the bottle for directions and generally the label will recommend that you reapply after excessive sweating or time in the water. (You will probably be doing both.) For those of you with fairer skin, I recommend and SPF 45 or higher. And those of you with olive skin and darker skin can opt for something around SPF 30. If you don’t like to apply sunscreen because of the greasy feeling, look for a spray or face-specific formula that is designed to have a dry-to-the-touch feel.

Water bottles: While at the beach, we tend to sweat more than we realize. It’s easy to lose a lot of water and become dehydrated quickly. Pack a small cooler in your bag with a couple water bottles. This way you’ll stay cool and hydrated throughout your entire beach day.

Reading material: I am a huge reader at the beach, but not everyone enjoys reading. If flipping through hundreds of pages of a novel isn’t for you, opt for a magazine or newspaper. The beach is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a fun, easy read. Check out a local bookstore for some interesting new authors.

Hat: I highly recommend bringing some kind of hat to wear during the height of the sun at the beach. It’s extremely difficult to prevent your face from burning and generally it’s one of the first places people develop skin cancer because it is always exposed and we tend to forget to use sunscreen. Anything from a baseball cap to a big sun hat is acceptable.

Spending the day at the beach is always a fun adventure, but it’s important to avoid serious burns and remember to keep hydrated. A few other things to make sure to pack are a beach towel (the bigger the better), a cover up (for driving home) and a pair of rubber flip flops (avoid using leather because the sand will wear them down faster).  I also always keep a beach ball with me, since you’re never too old for a friendly game of beach volleyball.

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