The human skin makes a pretty tough protective layer for the body, but 15 minutes of exposure is all it takes for the sun to do lasting damage. Before you enjoy the summer heat, make sure you follow these safety precautions to prevent sun damage.
Sunscreen acts as a barrier between your skin and the sun’s harmful UV rays. Although it doesn’t keep 100% of the damage away, it helps extend the amount of time we can stay outside. However, not every sunscreen is as powerful, which is why they’re split into SPF (sun protection factor) numbers.
A broad-spectrum sunscreen will do the best job because they filter ultraviolet A and B, and these are the elements that penetrate the skin and cause lasting damage like skin cancer. A sunscreen must have at least an SPF number of 15 to be considered effective on its own, but remember to replenish it regularly.
Stay in the Shade
Shade blocks the sun’s UV rays by casting a shadow, which makes it a welcomed break for our bodies. Not only does shade help protect against sun damage, there’s often a breeze there to make us feel cooler.
Wear a Sunhat
Sunhats are great for protecting the face from the sun, which is extremely susceptible to sun damage. The best style of hat is one with a circular brim, which helps to protect the neck, ears, and face. As with clothes, tightly-woven sunhats are the best – canvas is the preferred material for sunhats.
If you decide to spend time outside in a baseball-style cap, remember that your ears and the back of your neck are still exposed. Therefore, you should remember to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen or wear suitable protective clothing including shirts with collars.
The sun’s harmful UV rays can damage the eyes as well; they’ve been proven to cause cataracts. Therefore, you should wear sunglasses to keep your eyes safe and protect the surrounding skin from exposure. The best protection for sunglasses keeps out UVA+B rays, and wrap-around styles are the most effective.
Choose Your Outfit Carefully
People like to wear cool outfits when the sun is out, but that often involves exposing legs and arms to the sun’s UVA+B rays. However, wearing a long-sleeve shirt and trousers can be the difference between suffering severe burns and having a safe experience in the sun. When choosing materials, tightly-woven fabrics are the best and some labels have official UV protection certification.
If you do choose to wear short clothes, consider using a cover-up to protect your arms while you stay cool.
Stay Indoor During the Hottest Periods
When the sun is at its highest – between 12 PM and 4 PM – it will do much more harm. Therefore, if you can, you should plan your day accordingly to avoid being outside. If you do have to venture out, make short trips and follow the guidance above.
Keeping the sun safe when you’re outside is essential. Not only does it prevent burns, but it also reduces the chances of experiencing skin cancer and cataracts.