People associate the sun with sports, lazy days at the beach, and keeping fit. Too much sun, however, is not good; the rays of the sun, called “UV” rays, can hurt your skin. UVB rays mostly cause sunburn. UVA rays can cause early skin aging and skin cancer.
Keeping safe from the sun
The best way to stay safe in the sun is to limit your time outside. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 AM and 2 PM. If you have to be outside, find some shade or cover your skin with dry, tightly woven clothing. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to help protect your face, head, ears, and neck. The sun can harm your eyes too, so wear sunglasses that block the UV rays from the sun. Don’t think you are safe because it is cloudy or you’re in water. Clouds only block up to 20% of UV rays and water doesn’t block any. Of course, don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
Tips for buying sunscreen
- Choose one with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. In general, the higher the number, the better the sunburn protection.
- Choose one that is “broad spectrum.” These protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Choose a “water-resistant” sunscreen. These stay on your skin longer if you are wet or sweating. No sunscreen is “waterproof.” Check the bottle for how often to reapply.
- Avoid products that have both a sunscreen and bug repellent in one bottle. Sunscreen usually needs to be applied more often than bug repellent.
Tips for using sunscreen
- Apply plenty of sunscreen, about a handful to cover your body, 15 to 30 minutes before going out in the sun.
- Use sunscreen on all skin not covered by clothes. Don’t forget your nose, ears, neck, backs of hands, tops of feet, and top of head (if you don’t have much hair).
- Apply more sunscreen at least every 2 hours, even if you’re using a water-resistant sunscreen. Apply sunscreen more often if you are swimming or sweating.
Protecting kids from the sun
Children need to be kept safe from the sun whenever they’re outside. For babies less than six months old, it is best to keep them out of the sun or keep them in the shade. Check with your baby’s prescriber before using a sunscreen. For older children, follow the directions on the sunscreen bottle.
What about indoor tanning?
Indoor tanning isn’t safer than tanning outside. Keep in mind that a “base” tan from indoor tanning outside won’t protect you much from further skin damage from the sun.
Be safe in the sun
Think about sun safety every day, not just when you’re at the pool or the beach. Regular use of a sunscreen will help reduce early skin aging and help you look younger. Plus, it will help protect you from skin cancer.
Content taken from Pharmacist’s Letter.