Enjoy the sun without risking your health
In case you have not realized it, August is here. If you’re enjoying some time in the sun, you probably know that you should protect yourself against sunburns. You may also be familiar with the risk for skin cancer and melanoma.
Protecting your skin while in the sun is important, and we want you to enjoy sunshine without worrying. Our editors have collected a wealth of information from trustworthy sources on the basics of sun protection.
Sun protection basics
Sunscreen: It is absolutely essential. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using a sunscreen with “Sun Protection Factor” (SPF) of at least 15. You should reapply it at least every two hours, and after you swim or sweat.
Clothing: Clothes protect us by absorbing or blocking much of the radiation. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests wearing long sleeve shirts, long pants, and always preferring broad hats that help protect your face as well.
Sunglasses: Style is great to have, but the sun’s sense of fashion does not always agree with ours: always go for UV-blocking sunglasses, says the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Shade: It’s a savior – or isn’t it? The Skin Cancer Foundation states that being in the shade can still expose us to the sun’s rays. In particular, the sun’s UVB rays, often considered the most harmful part of sunlight, can reach the skin indirectly. Still, it’s better to be in the shade than directly under the sun, especially at its brightest, like between 10am and 4pm.
Time: Don’t wait until you are in the sun to apply sunscreen. The British Skin Foundation recommends to apply it generously 20-30 minutes beforehand, as the skin needs time to absorb it.
Sand: The Melanoma Research Foundation reminds us that the sand, like water and snow, reflect and magnify the damaging rays of the sun. This may increase the risk of sunburn.
Of course, all of the above are important for the entire year, not just during the summer. It is also important to know the risks associated with tanning beds, and you should frequently check your skin for abnormalities.
And finally, take extra care of babies and children: they have the most sensitive skin and may need more protection and sunscreen.