Enjoying your free time in the sun is great, but it is very important that you do it safely. We would like to suggest several quick and easy precautions that can be vital to your health.
Sun Protection – How Can Sunlight Damage Your Skin?
Though the sun is one of the best sources of Vitamin D, it also harms our skin with two types of potentially dangerous ultraviolet radiation.
Stay Protected in the Summer Sun
Choose a Good Quality Sunscreen
This is perhaps the most obvious thing to do to protect your skin from the sun. Unluckily, many people neglect this fact or they use sunscreen that offers inadequate protection.
Using a sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) or 30 or higher, with “broad spectrum” protection from both UVA and UVB rays, is highly recommended. Apply generously to all exposed skin, at least 15 minutes before you go out into the sunshine.
Reapply Sunscreen Regularly
To stay protected, you need to reapply your sunscreen every two hours. This may be needed more frequently in case you are swimming, even if your sunscreen claims to be ‘waterproof’.
Cover up Your Skin
Your selection of clothing can have a significant effect on your protection from UV rays. At a basic level, clothes that cover as much skin as possible are preferable.
You can buy clothes that include an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF). It indicates how much UV light is blocked by the garment. A UPF of 40 or higher means that your clothes will absorb at least 97% of UV light.
Darker clothes normally have a higher UPF, as they are better at absorbing UV light than light colours.
If you are buying tight fitting clothes, make sure they are not too small, as stretched fabrics will also let more light through.
To protect your head, face and neck you need a wide-brimmed hat. It will make sure that sensitive areas such as your nose, ears and scalp do not burn.
Shield Your Eyes
You know that looking directly at the sun is not a good idea, but the tricky fact is that just being outside on a bright day can damage your eyes if not protected. Almost 10% of skin cancers occur on the delicate skin of the eyelids.
UVA light can damage the retina and affect the central vision, while UVB light can cause cataracts and a painful condition known as corneal sunburn.
Remember that a higher price of sunglasses does not guarantee protection against UV light. Visit a recognized retailer of sunglasses and read the label before you buy them.
Avoid the Strongest Sunlight
The strongest, most damaging UV rays of the sun are when it is highest in the sky. This is usually between 11am and 3pm. So, be careful to limit your direct sun exposure at these hours.
This is especially true if you are one of those people who burn easily. People with blue or green eyes, fair skin, and blond or red hair are at the highest risk. Anyway, it is important to remember that skin cancer can affect everyone, regardless of their physical characteristics.
Be Careful with Your Tan
A bronze tan might look great, but it is important to remember the reason why your skin changes its colour. A suntan is a sign of skin damage. In response to UV light, your skin produces melanin. This pigment protects your DNA from the kind of long-term damage that could lead to skin cancer.
If in Doubt, Visit a Doctor
If you notice anything worrying about your skin, for example, unusual blemishes, it is highly important that you visit a doctor as soon as possible.
If you plan to stay out in the sun, you should also check the side effects of any medication you are currently taking. Some medicines, including antibiotics, antihistamines and antidepressants, will increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Either they will make your skin more sensitive, or they will decrease your ability to sweat, which may lead to heatstroke on a hot day.