For most of us, summer is filled with many outdoor activities. Whether you’re spending the day on the boat with family, or having a backyard BBQ with friends, it’s important to have fun—but it’s also important to keep your skin protected from the bright summer sun.
Ultraviolet radiation is no joke. Its effects on your skin can cause damage for years. So, here are a few tips from the American Cancer Society to keep your skin safe, glowing and beautiful.
- Stay in or near the shade: This is an obvious one, but it’s also one of the most important. Limit your exposure to UV light and avoid being outdoors in direct sunlight for too long. This is especially important when you’re on the beach or in areas with snow because sand, water and snow reflect sunlight, which increases the amount of UV radiation.
- Wear clothing: If you plan to spend the whole day at the beach, or in the backyard, be sure to grab an extra t-shirt on your way out the door. There are many different options for this so choose an outfit that’s most comfortable for you. Some clothes even have a UV protection factor (UPF) value listed on the label.
- Wear sunscreen every day, not just beach days: While it provides a lot of protection, it should not be used as a way to prolong your time in the sun. Think of sunscreen as just a filter – it does not block all UV rays from your skin. It’s important to understand the SPF scale too. SPF 15 sunscreens block out 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%. And, the higher you go, the more protection you get. SPF 50 blocks out about 98% and SPF 100 about 99%. So no sunscreen protects your skin 100%, which is why it’s important to seek shade every hour or so.
- Protect your head with a hat: A hat that protects your ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp is ideal. According to the American Cancer Society, a dark, non-reflective underside to the brim can help lower the amount of UV rays reaching the face from reflective surfaces such as water. This is definitely an accessory that you can personalize and have fun with, too!
- Protect your eyes with sunglasses: Again, another accessory that you can a little fun with. UV-blocking sunglasses are important for protecting the skin around your eyes as well as your eyes. Research shows that long exposure to the sun without proper protection can lead to certain eye diseases down the road. Sunglasses should protect 99% to 100% of UVA and UVB rays, so before you buy, check the label to make sure they do.
There are many ways to keep your skin protected—and it’s important that you choose the method best for you and your family.
According to the American Cancer Society, doctors are learning that vitamin D has many health benefits, and it might even lower the risk of some cancers. Our bodies produce vitamin D but how much depends on a few things, including our age, our skin pigmentation and how strong the sunlight is where we live. So those of you who live in Florida might produce a lot more vitamin D than us Minnesota folks.
Don’t run outside just yet. Doctors still recommend getting vitamin D from your diet or vitamin supplements rather than from sun exposure, because dietary sources are typically more reliable to the proper amount of nutrients that your body needs.
Question for you: do you protect your skin as much as you should?
Now, get out and enjoy the sun! Just not too much. Hope you all have a fun, and safe, 4th of July!
Photo Credit: TheWorks, Flickr, and Reddit