Vitamin D provided by the sun can help with your overall health, but too much sun can cause skin damage. Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can also increase your risk of developing skin cancer. There are ways to protect yourself, however, as you get outdoors and enjoy the good weather.
Choose a sunscreen with a safe sun protection factor (SPF) and wear it each time you go out during the day, even when it’s overcast. Choose an SPF of at least 30 and look for the words ‘broad spectrum’ on the bottle, which means the sunscreen will protect you from UVA and UVB rays*. Apply sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before you go outdoors and reapply every two hours. If you get into a pool reapply sooner. Be generous. Rub the sunscreen thoroughly into your skin. Don’t forget your neck, tops of ears, feet, entire back, and tops of the back of your legs.
I know it’s hot, but try to wear clothing that covers more skin. Garments with a tight weave are more likely to protect your skin from harmful rays than those that are loose in the weave. Some clothing comes with UV protection and is usually marked accordingly.
Did you know, sunglasses should be worn year round and not just during the summer? Sunglasses should block out 99 to 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Make sure you check the label upon purchasing your new sunglasses.
Wear a hat. One with a brim is best as it will protect your scalp, tops of your ears, and neck.
Avoid direct sunlight between 10 am and 4 pm as the sun is at its peak and you are more likely to get skin damage at this time. Seek shade where possible.
The sun is sometimes reflected off the water so make sure you take the same precautions; wear sunscreen, a hat, and clothing to protect your skin even if it feels cooler by the water, the dangers of skin damage still apply.
*Sunlight that reaches us is made up of long wave A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA rays penetrate deep into the thickest layer of the skin whereas UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin.
Enjoy the good weather, but always make your health a priority.