According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. Sunburns, especially early in life, can increase a person’s risk for getting skin cancer. How can you enjoy the warm, sunny summer days ahead while protecting yourself and your loved ones against the adverse effects of sun exposure?
Keep Yourself Under Wraps
Wear protective clothing, like long sleeve shirts, pants, skirts, or swimsuit cover-ups. Tightly knit fabrics and darker colors provide better UV protection compared to lighter colors and looser knits. Some fabrics even include certified UV ratings.
Cover Your Cranium
A well-chosen hat can be a great choice for UV protection. For the most protection, a wide-brimmed hat can shade your face, ears and the back of your neck. Darker and more tightly-woven fabrics provide the best protection. Avoid straw hats with holes. And if you’re more into ballcaps, you’ll still need to protect your ears and the back of your neck with clothing or 15 SPF or higher sunscreen.
Get Some Sunglasses
More than just a fashion statement, most sunglasses available in the U.S., even inexpensive ones, offer protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Wearing sunglasses can reduce the risk of cataracts, protect your eyes from UV rays and protect the soft tissues that surround them.
Slather on the Sunscreen
Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with 15 SPF or higher on all exposed skin, including the ears, back of the neck and the tops of your feet. The higher the SPF, the better the protection. Use sunscreen in addition to taking advantage of shade, wearing protective clothing and sunglasses. If you are outside longer than two hours, swimming, sweating or toweling off, be sure to reapply often.
Shelter in Shade
Even when you take the above precautions, you can further reduce the risk of skin damage by taking advantage of shade from trees, umbrellas, canopies or gazebos. Simply the best way to safely enjoy the sun is to grab a good book, find a comfortable chair, and plop down near a window… inside the comfort of your air conditioned home.