Sun Protection Tips

It is so easy to forget during the hot, summer months, while we are enjoying our barbeques, picnics, and family vacations, how important it is to stay protected. The sun’s rays can cause immeasurable damage to our bodies so it is our job to be vigilant and aware of what we can do to prevent too much exposure to harmful UVA and UVB waves. Each of these play a major role in conditions such as premature aging, eye damage (including cataracts), and skin cancer. They also suppress the immune system, reducing your ability to fight off these and other illnesses. UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, have been known to decrease elasticity which can lead to faster aging and wrinkles. UVB rays usually burn the superficial layers of skin and can greatly increase your chances of developing skin cancer. There are many steps that you can take to avoid sun damage to your skin. So be proactive about protecting yourself and your loved ones and remember that you are still just as much at risk on a cloudy or overcast day. Here are a few ways to make sure you are doing all you can to be safe in the sun:

  • Wear protective gear such as UV blocking sunglasses, hats, and UPF clothing made specifically to block out the sun’s harmful rays. Wide brimmed hats are ideal because they protect the neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp.
  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15 or higher each day. 
  • For extended outdoor activity, use a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Limit exposure when possible. If you must be out in the sun, seek shade between 10 AM and 4 PM, when the sun’s rays are strongest. 
  • Avoid getting sunburnt skin at all costs. 
  • Avoid tanning and UV tanning booths.
  • Apply sunscreen generously to exposed skin 30 minutes before going outside. Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
  • Keep newborns out of the sun completely. Sunscreen should be used on babies over the age of six months. 
  • Make sure to do routine skin examinations each month.
  • See your physician each year for a professional skin exam.