Skin Cancer

6 Bright Tips for Sun Protection During Summer

Depending where you live in the U.S., you may have waited months for some of that lovely, warm sunshine. However, once the warm months hit, we tend to want to be outside as much as possible while it lasts.

While it’s great to be outdoors for exercise, fresh air, and a healthy dose of Vitamin D, you also have to consider the health of your skin and how to protect it from harsh UV rays. Here are 6 summer sun protection tips…

1. Wear Sunscreen

This is perhaps the most obvious thing to do to protect your skin from the sun, but many Americans neglect doing this or they use sunscreen that offers inadequate protection.

WebMD suggests using sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) or 30 or higher, with “broad spectrum” protection from both UVA and UVB rays. Apply liberally to all exposed skin, at least 15 minutes before you plan to trek out into the sunshine.

sun 8

2. Wear a Wide-Brimmed Hat

According to OutdoorResearch.com, certain brimmed hats are great weapons against the potentially harmful effects of the sun. Hats can have an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) depending on the type of material, “UPF is to clothing what SPF is to sunscreen”, notes the source.

Higher UPF can be achieved with tighter fabric weaves, but this type of weave sometimes doesn’t allow as much “breathing”. So look for a hat that has built-in vents (like the ones featured on OutdoorResearch.com, for example). Choose a hat with a 3-inch or more brim for the best protection, adds the source.

sun 7

3. Wear UV Sunglasses

When we’re all geared up with sunscreen and sun-proof clothing, we sometimes forget to protect some of our most precious assets: our eyes. It’s more than just about having dark lenses that reduce glare and strain on the eyes. Sunglasses also offer various levels of UV protection.

The Mayo Clinic notes that UV rays can damage the skin on your eyelids as well as the more sensitive parts like your eye’s cornea. Improper UV in sunglasses can also lead to development of cataracts and macular degeneration, adds the source. Bottom line: don’t cheap out on sunglasses. A good pair with sufficient UV protection is worth the investment (and they’ll make you look cooler).

Sunglasses

4. Avoid Worshipping the Sun During Peak Hours

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that UV levels are highest from mid-morning to afternoon, depending on the current readings. The UV Index scale used in the U.S. is based on World Health Organization guidelines, and ranges from 0 (safe) to 11+ (unsafe).

When the readings are 6-7, the EPA suggests minimizing your time in the sun from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Seek shade when possible, and of course use those UV sunglasses, wide-brimmed hat and proper sunscreen as well. The EPA suggests the shadow rule: if your shadow is shorter than you, you are likely being exposed to higher levels of UV radiation compared to times of day when your shadow is taller than you.

beach

5. Improve your Diet

This may seem like a bit of an odd suggestion for protecting you from the sun, but Prevention.com notes that a healthier diet can actually lessen your risk of burning quickly. The site notes that certain nutrients called phytochemicals can “improve skin’s ability to ward off damage”.

The source suggests getting lycopene from red fruits and vegetables to (ironically) prevent you from getting too red from the sun, as well as taking supplements with alpha/beta carotenoids (found in orange and yellow produce). The source does warn however, that eating these nutrients alone won’t replace the other precautions already discussed, diet may just help delay a sunburn.

sunburn

6. Stay Hydrated

The Government of Canada (HealthyCanadians.gc.ca) reiterates many of the points we’ve already presented, but it also reminds you to drink plenty of water when you’re out in the hot sun. It can be misleading how much moisture you’re losing in the heat and thirst doesn’t always reflect this.

Not having adequate water in your body can not only complicate sunburns, but it can also lead to heat stroke that can require hospitalization. Pay special attention to keeping your kids hydrated, as they may not vocalize the symptoms of feeling exhausted or dizzy from the heat.

water 6
X