Having Fun Shouldn’t Come At The Expense Of Your Health
One of the best parts about summer is larger variety of outdoor activities available. Whether you enjoy going to the beach, hiking, kayaking or other outdoorsy activities, or just hanging out in the backyard with your feet in a kiddie pool, there’s so many fun things to do in the summer.
But having fun shouldn’t come at the expense of your health. Sun burn is a short-term, painful dilemma, but it can also lead to pre-mature aging or worse, skin cancer, aka melanoma. Skin cancer is often caused by over-exposure to harmful UVA and UVB radiation that the sun naturally emits, and nearly 100,000 adults are diagnosed with it in the U.S. each year.
Now, getting enough sunlight is essential for a healthy body, as it aids in Vitamin D production, which in turn helps us absorb calcium and phosphorous from food. But overexposure is a serious risk, and it’s best to understand how to protect yourself so you can both enjoy all that summer has to offer. Here are few tips to get you started.
Create Your Own Shade
Staying in the shade is the single easiest way to avoid overexpose. If you plan on spending a lot of time outside at the beach, on a boat, at the pool, or anywhere outdoors; invest in both a good sun umbrella and a wide-brim hat that casts a shadow over your face, head, ears, and neck. Look for a pair of wrap-around sunglasses that are designed to block UVA and UVB rays. Try also planning some activities in the shade, like a picnic under a tree or a hike in a densely wooded area, especially during noon to four, when the sun is most intense.
Lather On The Sunscreen
This one seems obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget this crucial step. However, even the highest rated sunscreens are not a 100% block. Typically, it’s best to get sunscreens rated with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher, but keep in mind that the fairer your skin, the higher rating you’ll need. Also, many sunscreen products wear off after time, even if they’re water or sweat-proof. That means you need to remember to reapply them frequently. Lastly, there are some excellent products available that incorporate UV protection, including makeup, lipsticks or lip glosses, skin cream, etc. Be sure to read the labels closely, though to avoid intensifying the sun’s power (see below).
It might be tempting to throw on the lightest-weight clothing possible, particularly when it gets hot out. But that’s not always the best solution in terms of protection. Some clothes do not properly protect your skin, even when covering you. The rule of thumb is that if you can see through it, the sun’s harmful rays can penetrate it.
Look for clothes that are lightweight, but that offer UV protection. Many sports clothing lines specialize in making these types of clothes, and they’re usually labeled as such. Some even offer moisture-wicking, which helps you stay cool even while you sweat.
Check Your Personal Hygiene Products
Just as there are some makeups, lotions, etc. that offer UV protection, there are a variety of personal hygiene, skin care, medications, and other products that can increase a person’s sensitivity to sunlight. According to some experts, these products act like gunpowder on your skin, intensifying the effects of UV light. Be sure to read the ingredient labels of all your products for things like alpha-hydroxy acids and beta-hydroxy acids, makes the skin more sensitive to sunline. Additionally, check with your medical specialist about any medications you may be taking to ensure that they won’t increase your photosensitivity.