When summer fun is at its peak—trips to the pool or beach and enjoying our time outdoors—it’s a good time to restock your sports bags and outdoor gear for sun safety.
A bit of sunshine can be a very good thing, but over-exposure is a health and beauty risk. As we learn more ways to stay safe in the sun, we’re sharing some simple tips with you.
- Limit exposure between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest. Even on an overcast day, up to 80 percent of the sun’s more harmful UV rays can get through the clouds.
- Find shade or make it. Stay in the shade as much as possible in between your outdoor activities. If you can’t find the cover of a roof or tree, consider an umbrella or invest in a canopy to take with you.
- Wear clothes that protect your body. Shirts and hats are a good place to start, as the upper body tends to be more exposed when you’re active outdoors. When you’ve had enough sun, find cool clothing to cover as much of your body as possible, even breezy loose pants. Sun-protective clothing is also available.
- Use a good sunscreen. Here’s a short list of things you want in a sunscreen: SPF of 30 – 50, broad spectrum protection, water & perspiration resistance. Avoid products containing retinyl palmitate (Vitamin A) and/or oxybenzone. Instead look for products with zinc oxide or avobenzone, which offer more complete coverage from the most harmful rays of the sun.
- Apply sunscreen often. Start by applying sunscreen 15 minutes before going out in the sun—give it a chance to soak into your skin and protect it. Apply generously to all uncovered skin, and remember areas more susceptible to the rays, like your lips, nose, ears, scalp, neck, hands, and feet. Reapply at least every two hours, if you’re not swimming or sweating a lot. More often if you are.
- Wear protective sunglasses. A good pair of shades will protect your eyes from UV radiation exposure which increases your risk of eye problems such as cataracts. Look for sunglasses that offer 99 or 100% UV protection. Don’t be fooled by the price tag—fashion statements don’t always offer the best protection…but if you like the wraparound look, you’re in luck, that style does the best job protecting your eyes.
- Men need to be more careful. In 2013, nearly twice as many American men died from melanoma (skin cancer) as women. This might be due to more exposure—one survey showed 68% of women report that they routinely avoid the sun, compared to only 48% of men. So be careful, guys, and know when it’s time to grab a cool water in the shade!