The unofficial start of summer has arrived and while the sun is shining bright and our thoughts are on spending fun-filled days poolside or at the beach, it is a golden time to focus on Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Awareness.
Most of us love to soak in those warm summer rays of sunshine, so we MUST remember to protect our skin and eyes from the damaging effects of the sun. The sun emits radiation known as UV light. Two types of UV light are proven to contribute to the risk of skin damage. Ultraviolet A (UV-A) is associated with skin aging and Ultraviolet B (UV-B) is associated with skin burning. By learning the risks associated with too much sun exposure and acting on the right precautions to protect you and your family from UV rays, everyone can enjoy the sun and outdoors safely.
Unprotected sun exposure can damage your eyes resulting in vision problems, cause premature aging of the skin, and result in skin cancer. Fortunately, there are simple actions you can practice to minimize the negative risks associated with sun over-exposure:
Cover-Up: Wearing a hat with a wide-brim and other shade-protective clothing can shield your skin from harmful UV ray exposure. Proper clothing may include long-sleeved shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses.
Stay in the Shade: The sun’s glare is most intense at midday. Staying in the shade between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. will further protect your skin. It is important to note that the sun can still damage your skin on overcast days and/ or in the winter so be sure to stay protected throughout the year.
Choose the Right Sunscreen: The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends choosing a broad-spectrum sunscreen that shields against both UV-A and UV-B rays, has a sun protection factor (SPF) 15 for occasional exposure or SPF 30+ for extended outdoor activities, and is water-resistant.
Use the Right Amount of Sunscreen: When out in the sun apply at least one ounce (about a palmful) of sunscreen every 2 hours. Apply more often if you are sweating or swimming; even if the sunscreen is waterproof.
Additional Sunscreen Tips:
- Not all sunscreens have the same ingredients. Try a brand that is PABA Free if you are sensitive to the chemical Para-aminobenzoic Acid.
- Be aware of the expiration date – over time sunscreens may lose their effectiveness.
- Price does not indicate the quality – the more expensive brand is not necessarily better at protecting the skin.
- Shake well before use – this will help to mix the ingredients.
- Apply sunscreen to ALL parts of your skin that will be exposed to the sun – this includes the ears, feet, and toes.
- Apply sunscreen about 20-30 minutes before going out in the sun – this allows for your skin to absorb the sunscreen.
Remember – No sunscreen offers 100% protection. Use sunscreen on every day that ends with a “Y”, and practice sun safety this summer.