It’s summertime and the livin’ is easy…but the summer sun can be hard on the skin. Even seemingly minimal sun damage now can have serious long-term effects. There are plenty of reasons why overexposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays is dangerous, ranging from the cosmetic (premature wrinkles) to the possibly life-threatening (skin cancer). To practice good sun safety while still enjoying summer’s fresh air and warm weather, keep in mind these sun protection tips:
Apply sunscreen properly – Sure, everyone knows they should be wearing sunscreen, but many people do not use it in the most effective way. Here are some basic guidelines:
See this infographic for more information about what you need to know about sunscreen.
Use the right kind of sunscreen – The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a water-resistant sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. An SPF of 30 means you can stay in the sun 30 times longer without getting burned. Make sure the sunscreen provides broad spectrum coverage so that it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. This infographic talks about the importance of sun protection and the types of ingredients you should look for in a sunscreen.
Time it right – Obviously the best way to avoid sun exposure is to stay indoors. The sun’s rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, limit your time outdoors during this time.
Take cover – Cover your head with a wide brim hat to shield your neck, nose, ears, forehead, and scalp from the sun. Protect your eyes with sunglasses that provide UVA and UVB protection. And wear loose fitting, dark colored, tight-woven clothing that covers your arms and legs. But remember–clothes are not a substitute for sunscreen. You still need to use sunscreen since most clothes do not offer a high enough SPF.
Go for the artificial glow – No tan is a healthy tan. Having a tan means that your skin has already been damaged by the sun’s UV radiation. If you want a darker look, try a spray tan or use a bronzer.
Get sunburn relief – If you do get a sunburn, there are several things you can do to get some relief:
Seek medical attention if you get a severe sunburn with blisters on over 20 percent of your body.
A sunburn means some skin damage has already been done, but you can help your skin stay healthy going forward by keeping yourself protected with the tips above. Have fun the sun this summer – the safe way!