One of the best parts of summer is all the time spent outside. Physical activity is always beneficial, and the sun is vital to our health. But it’s important to practice sun safety because too much time in the sun, especially unprotected, can be very dangerous.
Overexposure to the Sun’s UV rays is one of the leading causes of skin cancer. According to the ACS, skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the US. So how do we protect ourselves from something we’re constantly exposed to?
5 Ways to Protect Yourself From the Sun
1. Apply and reapply sunscreen.
Sunscreen is an excellent way to protect your skin against UV rays. However, sunscreen comes in various forms, and effectiveness can vary between them. Be sure to read the labels and pay special attention to the sun protection factor (SPF).
Remember to use your sunscreen correctly by following the label directions. As a general rule of thumb, be generous when applying, especially on any location that’s not covered. Also, don’t forget to reapply throughout the day for optimal protection.
2. Wear protective clothing.
During your time under the sun, wear clothing that will protect as much of your skin as possible. Many companies have made clothing that does an excellent job of shielding you from the sun that is also lightweight and comfortable.
Don’t just rely on clothes for protection, though. Especially on those days when the sun is particularly intense, you should include areas covered by clothing when applying sunscreen.
3. Accessorize with a hat.
The head is often the most exposed – and vulnerable – part of the body to the sun, so you need to take extra care to protect it. In addition to applying sunscreen, put on a hat that has a brim all around.
Baseball caps can help if you have no other choice, but keep in mind that they do not cover your neck or ears.
4. Seek shade whenever possible.
The obvious way to protect yourself from the sun is to stay out of it. Limit the time you’re exposed to UV light by reducing your outdoor activity between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the time when UV light is the strongest.
If you’re outdoors during that time, seek shade beneath trees or other covered whenever possible. Just keep in mind that you’re still exposed to UV rays; it just won’t be as intense.
As an added note, avoid using tanning beds and sunlamps as alternatives to baking your skin in the sun. Both emit harmful UV rays and can contribute to skin cancer. Self-tanning lotions and sprays can give you that summer glow you’re looking for without the UV damage.
5. Grab your favorite pair of sunglasses.
The eyes are a region of the body that is difficult to protect. Long hours in the sun without protection can contribute to the development of eye diseases.
If you go shopping for sunglasses, be on the lookout for labels that indicate the level of UV protection. Sunglasses that are either large-framed or wraparound are ideal choices because they provide more coverage for your eyes. Still, regular sunglasses are much better than nothing!
Start taking care of your body and do everything you can to protect yourself before you go out and soak up the sun. Sun safety is all about taking preventive measures. Just a few simple changes to your routine can make all the difference.