While getting your daily dose of sunshine is essential, it’s even more important to do it safely and ensure you’re protecting yourself from the sun. You can take specific steps to prevent skin damage, eye damage, or even heat stroke.
Protection from the sun’s UV rays is essential all year, not just in the summertime. However, summertime is typically when people spend more time outside and in the sunshine. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that the sun’s UV rays still exist and can still affect you on a cloudy day. So, what are the different ways you can protect yourself from the sun?
1. Always Use Sunscreen
Putting on sunscreen is one of the most critical steps to prevent harmful sun exposure. But what is essential to look for in sunscreen? So many options advertise what’s unique about them, making looking for a good sunscreen difficult.
– Find a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks UVA and UVB rays. This is important because the sun’s rays exist on different parts of the ultraviolet spectrum and affect the skin differently. For example, UVA Rays are associated with skin ageing because they can penetrate deeper into the skin and skin cells. At the same time, UVB Rays are associated with skin burning.
– Pay attention to the sunscreen’s SPF (Sun Protection Factor). This is designed to tell you how well they block the UV rays. The higher the number, the better you are protected.
– Make sure to reapply your sunscreen as it will wear off. If you’re going to be in the sun for more than 2 hours, then you should reapply at least once in those initial 2 hours. This increases if you’re doing any sweating or something like swimming, then you should reapply every hour that you remain outside.
2. Avoid the Peak of the Sun
The sun can be harsh no matter the time of day. However, certain hours pose the most risk and harm. This intensity occurs at the day’s peak, which many believe to be 12 – 1 pm. Unfortunately, this is not the case; the sun’s peak occurs between 10 am – 4 pm. It’s crucial, during this time, to be extra mindful of reapplying your sunscreen, increasing your water intake to remain hydrated and ensuring you find some shade.
3. Be Mindful of Your Clothing
The summer is hot, so we pull out our t-shirts, shorts, sandals, and tank tops. However, long pants, skirts, and love-sleeved shirts can protect from the sun’s UV rays. Sometimes, this type of clothing isn’t the most practical, but some brands design clothing specifically for UV protection. The Skin Cancer Foundation website is a great place to see UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) certified brands. Good things to remember when choosing protective clothing is that white/lighter colours will provide only moderate sun protection. In contrast, darker and tighter-knit clothing will provide better sun protection.
4. Wear a Hat
While this generally does fall under the previous heading, hats are even more critical when protecting yourself from the sun. There are plenty of hat styles that exist. However, there are things to remember when deciding what to wear. Baseball caps provide excellent protection for the face and some of the neck. But the back of your neck and your ears are fully exposed. Applying extra sunscreen to these parts would be essential because there is no added protection. For the best protection, wear a hat that has:
– A wide brim that goes all the way around. This will help to shade your face, neck, ears, and shoulders.
– A tight-knit/woven fabric. A material such as canvas is an excellent protective material. At the same time, something like a straw hat is loosely constructed and has holes that would allow sunlight through.
5. Good Sunglasses
Wearing sunglasses is extremely important for sun protection for your eyes. Not only do they protect your eyes from UV rays, but they also protect the thin, sensitive skin around your eyes. Finding a pair that protects from UVA and UVB rays provides the utmost protection. Larger lenses are better because they can offer more protection to the surrounding area of the eye, and you’ll have less concern about light getting in through the sides. Just as sunscreen is essential all year round, so are sunglasses. Blocking direct sunlight is vital, blocking any sun reflections and preventing yourself from squinting and straining your eyes. Therefore, wearing sunglasses all year and even on cloudy days is recommended.
These are some small but essential tips for enjoying the summer while keeping yourself and your health in mind. While getting out and about is encouraged during this lovely time of year, remember that protecting yourself from the harsher aspects of the sun is equally as important as having a good time.