- by Super User
Most of us have had the unpleasant experience of having a sunburn at least once but may not understand the long-term effects of sun overexposure. Sun damage can increase your risk of skin cancer, cause lasting skin damage and make you look older faster.
Use the tips below to keep you and your family sun safe this summer.
Sunscreen can help you stay safe in the sun, but it’s critical to make sure you use the right kind of sunscreen and apply it properly. When choosing a sunscreen, be sure to read the label. Sunscreens with broad spectrum protection (against both UVA and UVB rays) and with sun protection factor (SPF) values of 30 or higher are recommended.
If you are using sunscreen from last summer, check the expiration date to make it hasn’t expired. As sunscreen ages, it can lose its effectiveness, especially if it’s been exposed to high temperatures. If you have any doubt, throw it out!
It’s important to remember that no sunscreen protects you completely. It can help lengthen your safe sun time, but an SPF 50 still only filters out 98% of UV rays.
Your eyes need protection from the sun, too! Sun exposure can increase your chances of cataracts later in life and damage the sensitive skin around the eyes.
Sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays offer the best protection. Most sunglasses sold in the United States, regardless of cost, meet this standard. Wrap-around sunglasses work best because they block UV rays from sneaking in from the side.
If you wear prescription glasses, you should consider also getting prescription sunglasses from your optometrist. These will help you see clearly and keep your eyes safe from the sun. If you don’t have an eye doctor, you can find one here.
Stay in the shade
Try to avoid direct sun exposure as much as you can by staying in the shade. Umbrellas, sun shades and trees are great to add to your home’s outdoor area for relief from the sun.
Your best chance to protect your skin is to use sunscreen every time you are outside, even in the shade or on a cloudy day.
Wear protective clothing
It may seem counter-intuitive for summertime, but wearing long sleeve shirts, pants and long skirts can help keep you safe. Darker colored clothing is usually more protective than lighter colors, and a wet shirt is less protective than a dry one.
When heading to the beach, bring along a cover up to wear when you are out of the pool and a wide-brim hat to shade your face, head, ears and neck.
Be sun safe all summer long!
Unprotected skin can be damaged by the sun’s UV rays in as little as 15 minutes, but it can take up to 12 hours for skin to show the full effect of sun exposure. It’s tempting to think you don’t need the sunscreen, shade or a stylish wide-brimmed hat, but science says otherwise.
It’s important to remember there’s no magic bullet when it comes to sun protection. Use as many of the tips above as possible to keep your skin safe.
What’s your favorite way to be sun smart? Tell us in the comments below!