The weather is warming up and the days are getting longer, which means the outdoor goodness of summer is right around the corner. It’s time to fire up the grill, put your swimsuit on, and you’re your workout outside! All of this is great for our mood and sense of vitality, but if we’re not careful the summer sun can wreak havoc on our skin. This time of year it is extra important to be prepared and protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
Of course, a daily dose of sunshine isn’t all bad — in fact, it gives your body the vitamin D it needs to feel happy and healthy.. But a little goes a long way. The sun’s UV (ultra violet) rays are strong and can permanently injure and deteriorate the quality of your skin. As you’re soaking up your vitamin D it’s important to balance sun exposure with sun protection to avoid skin damage. unprotected sun exposure causes age spots, reduces your skin’s elasticity, and accelerates the aging process. It also increases your risk of developing a number of different types of skin cancer, some of which can be fatal.
The good news is, most of the damage the sun can do is totally preventable as long as you have the right protective measures in place. So, before you head out to soak up the sun, make sure you take the following steps to protect yourself from its rays.
It’s no secret that sunscreen is one of your best defenses against UV rays, but it needs to be applied correctly in order to be effective. That means slathering it on your whole body 30 minutes before going outside, so your skin has time to absorb it, and reapplying it at least every two hours. SPF of 30 or above is ideal, and to ensure your skin’s protection, be sure not to go below SPF 15.
Not all clothing is created equal when it comes to protecting your skin. Tightly-woven fabric will protect much better than loose fabric, as will darker colors. But if you really want to protect yourself to the best of your ability, then wearing clothes with built-in UV protection, like a rash guard, is your best bet.
Sunglasses do more than enhance our outfits; they also protect our eyes from diseases inflicted from too much sun exposure. That said, not all sunglasses protect your peepers. Before you purchase new shades, make sure the label says, “UV absorption up to 400nm” or “Meets ANSI UV requirements” because that means they’re blocking at least 99% of rays.
Get help from hats
Hats protect the areas of our body that we often overlook when applying sunscreen, including your ears, neck, and scalp. These areas of your body are just as susceptible to damage as any other, so you definitely want to make sure they’re protected. A hat with a two-three-inch brim is sufficient, but the bigger, the better.
Avoid tanning beds
A lot of people carry the misconception that a tanning bed’s rays won’t harm them. Plainly put, this isn’t true. Most tanning beds use both UVA and UVB rays, both of which can cause long-term skin damage and increase your risk of cancer. So, it’s in your health’s best interest to avoid them entirely and opt for sunless tanning lotion or spray tans to get that healthy-looking glow without hurting your health.
Once you’ve checked off these boxes, you can enjoy all that summer has to offer without worrying about the sun damaging your hard-earned health.