With all the heat and commotion that summer brings, it’s not hard to see why so many people have the urge to go out and have fun in the sun. But while the sun may seem harmless, it still produces ultraviolet (UV) rays which can, in fact, be damaging to your skin. Over time, this overexposure can even cause skin cancer. Before you run to the beach, or even head out to take a nice stroll in the park you need to know how to protect your skin. Here are some helpful tips for keeping your skin safe this summer:
Fashionable (and Comfortable Too!)
One thing you can do to limit your amount of direct exposure to the sun, is to wear a long sleeve shirts and pants. Unfortunately, wearing a lot of clothes in the middle of summer is probably the last thing you want to do. Fortunately, more clothing manufacturers are offering SPF (Sun Protection Factor ) ratings for clothing to help you choose the right duds to don. Did you know that clothing which is constructed of tightly woven fabric also helps prevent your skin from becoming overexposed to these UV rays? While it seems to make common sense, once you hear it, few people stop to think about such things when they are choosing clothes to wear.
We’ve also heard how it’s important to wear a hat in the winter, in order to prevent ourselves from losing precious body heat, right? Surprisingly, hats also help to protect you in the summertime, providing shielding from the harmful rays of the sun, as well as making a cute fashion statement. Whenever you plan to go outdoors, you should always wear a hat with a wide brim that circles the entire hat, offering protection from all sides.
Dodging the Rays
Studies have shown that the UV rays are strongest around 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and, for this reason, it’s best to avoid the sun around these times. Although it may appear darker when they’re out, even heavy clouds do not block all of the UV rays and you still run the risk of damaging your skin. If you are staying outdoors for any length of time, it is always best (and usually much cooler) if you stay in the shade whenever possible.
Ultraviolet rays are commonly known to reflect off of surfaces such as ice, snow, and sand. While that may seem obvious, they can also reflect off of light surfaces such as pale concrete or metal, whereas darker surfaces will attract the heat.. Also, do not think you are safe when you are swimming in the water, or even lounging about your home for that matter – UV rays can not only penetrate through water, but also glass, giving you a nasty sunburn.
The Wonderful World of Sunscreens
Sunscreen is one of the best protections one can have, should you need to go out in the sun. When it comes down to sunscreen, there are many different levels of SPF (Sun Protection Factor), ranging from SPF 2 all the way to up to SPF 60, and many different brands for you to pick from. At times, it may even be a bit confusing, but don’t despair! Ever wondered how to judge those numbers? It’s actually surprisingly easy – The SPF number indicates just how long the average person, wearing this sunscreen, can stay out in the direct sunlight before they will get a sunburn. So if it takes a person half an hour before they get a sunburn, then an SPF 30 will allow them to be out in the sun for 30 more minutes without burning. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, people should wear an SPF of 15 or higher for maximum protection.
Aside from the SPF there are other things you should look for in your sunscreen. For instance, try choosing a sunscreen that states that it not only has UV protection, but also has broad spectrum protection. Also, if you plan on swimming or doing anything where you might get wet, try looking for sunscreen that is either “waterproof” or “water resistant.” Generally, “water resistant” sunscreen provides about 40 minutes of protection, whereas “waterproof” sunscreen generally provides protection for double the time (80 minutes). For those that love to jog, or play sports in the sun, try picking up sunscreen for sports – it’s waterproof and specially formulated so that your sweat doesn’t wash it away while you’re working out. If sports sunscreen is not available and you need some right now “water-resistant” sunscreen will provide a safe, temporary alternative.
No matter if you’re working or playing, it’s important to protect your skin and protect your health. These simple precautions only take a few moments to perform and can make the world of difference to your life. Follow these simple tips for a happier and healthier summer and, remember, be sure to drink lots of fluids out in the sun too!