How to Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage
Summertime is here and that means lots more opportunities to have fun in the sun with friends and family. In fact, spending more time outdoors is one of the best ways to increase physical activity levels and destress from the demands of work or school.
However, it is important to keep sun safety in mind when hanging out under the sun. Too much exposure to harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause significant damage to our skin and increase our chances of developing health problems such as sunburns, skin cell damage, and even skin cancer.
These harmful UV rays can come from direct exposure to the sun or even artificial sources such as tanning beds. Surprisingly, UV rays can even cause damage on cloudy days due to reflections from the surfaces around us.
So what can we do to protect our skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) rays? We’ve highlighted some great ways to do exactly that. Keep reading to learn more!
Wear Good Sunscreen
Making sure to wear sunscreen is one of the most important things we can do to protect our skin from harmful UV rays. Your sunscreen should protect you from both types of UV rays, which are UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, look for a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF), preferably an SPF 15 or higher. Sunscreens with higher SPF numbers provide more protection.
When applying sunscreen, make sure to use a generous amount that covers any skin that may be exposed to the sun. You’ll want to apply it at least twenty to thirty minutes before heading outside. If you can’t reach certain areas (like your back), ask someone to help you apply sunscreen to those parts of your body. Make sure to protect forgotten areas such as the ears and lips. Lip balm with SPF 30 provides great protection.
Sunscreen also tends to wear off after some time, especially if you’re in the sun for hours, swimming, or sweating. For this reason, it’s a good idea to reapply as needed and invest in water-resistant sunscreen. If you have had your sunscreen for a while, remember to check the expiration date to make sure it is still effective. After a few years, sunscreen tends to stop working. This time period can be even less if the sunscreen has been left in the sun.
Cover Yourself with Protective Clothing
Wearing protective clothing is also very helpful in preventing sun damage to the skin. Loose flowy clothes can provide coverage while also keeping you cool. This could mean flowy long sleeve shirts, long pants, or beach cover-ups. When considering fabrics, keep in mind that tightly woven fabrics tend to provide better coverage than looser knits. Dry clothes also provide higher protection than wet clothes.
A good hat can also be very helpful in shielding the face from sun damage. Find one with a strong brim, preferably one that also covers the back of your neck and ears. Combining a hat with a good pair of sunglasses is always a good idea as UV rays can also be harmful to the eyes.
Finding Shade in the Sun
It is often possible to find some shade even when we are outdoors and in the sun. For example, consider bringing a tent to sit in instead of just a towel if you are at the beach. This can make it much easier to spend hours at the beach without worrying about harmful UV rays as much.
If you’re attending an outdoor event, you could also bring along a parasol to have shade with you wherever you go. Some parasols even have high levels of UPF (a measurement of sun protection from fabric) and can protect people from 98% of UV rays.
As you can see, there are many great ways to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. Be proactive and shield your skin by using good sunscreen, wearing protective clothing, and finding shade whenever possible.
Remember that one form of sun protection usually won’t guard you completely. It’s best to combine different tactics to improve your protection levels. By following the above tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a fun and safe summer in the sun!