4 tips to help protect you from sun damage!
Summer is perfect for spending leisure time outdoors and visiting new places. Exposure to UV — ultra-violet rays or harmful sunlight — can occur year-round. However, damage from UV rays is greatest from May through August in the United States. More people tend to get sun damage because they’re outside more frequently and it causes a higher risk of skin cancer, premature aging, and cataracts.
To prevent sun-related health issues, pay attention to the length of exposure, strength of the sunlight, and how you protect yourself from the sun.
If you’re spending time out in the sun, The American College for Medical Careers (ACMC) offers you four ways you can protect yourself from sun damage.
1. Wear sun lotion
Sun lotion and sun spray contain sun protection factor, commonly known as SPF. Purchase sun lotion with an SPF of 15 or higher so you can protect yourself against 93% of UV rays. Make sure to buy sunscreen that has both UVA and UVB protection. For full effect, apply the lotion before going outside. Remember to wait a few minutes so the essential ingredients are fully absorbed into your skin. If you’re going swimming, wait approximately 15 minutes so your lotion doesn’t wash off in the water. For women, it’s even suggested that you apply sunscreen onto your face before putting on makeup for the day. Men can also apply sun lotion every day to help prevent sun damage and premature aging. If you have children, make sure to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's list of basic ways to protect children from the sun.
2. Wear UV-protected sunglasses
Remember to take your sunglasses with you when you go outside. Harsh sunlight or prolonged activity outdoors can cause long-term damage to your eyesight, including cataracts. Even if you don’t have sensitive eyes, try to wear sunglasses so you can see more easily and help prevent long-term damage to your eyes. Sunglasses don’t have to be expensive, but look for the sticker on your glasses that guarantees 100 percent UV protection, also known as UV 400.
3. Cover up bare skin
Whenever you go outside, exposure to the sun occurs. If you’re participating in outdoor sports, activities, or running daily errands, try to cover up bare skin or sensitive areas. Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks sunlight. Try to avoid wearing sheer clothing. Before you dress for the day, you may want to test your clothing to see if it is sun proof. Hold up your clothing behind a lamp and place a hand in front of one layer of the material. If you can see your hand, then you may want to cover up more when you go outside. If you don’t want to cover up certain parts of your body due to heat, then remember to wear sunscreen. ou can also wear a hat to cover your head. A wide-brimmed hat may also help protect your face, eyes, and neck from sun damage.
4. Limit your exposure
The longer you stay outside, the more chances you have of being exposed to harmful UV rays. Try limiting your exposure to sunlight when you’re outside. If you want to go on a picnic, try sitting in the shade. If you’re on the beach, sit under an umbrella. You should even try to protect your skin when you’re going on long drives. Remember that UV rays are most harmful from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can also see how harsh the sun is by using the shadow test. The shorter your shadow is, the stronger the sunlight. Make sure you’re fully protected or avoid spending too much time outside during mid-day hours.
For more information on skin cancer prevention, visit the American Cancer Society. You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for advice.
Actively following these tips can help you stay safe in the sun and even help you enjoy your outdoor summer activities more! ACMC wishes you a safe and healthy summer!
ACMC offers health and wellness advice, student tips, and career guidance in our weekly blog. We offer eight healthcare training programs at our Orlando, FL campus or online! For more information about our career programs or services, contact us today!