4 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Sun Damage
With summer moving at full speed and the sun blazing over beaches, lakes and mountains—and our own backyards—it’s tempting to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Before giving in to that temptation, though, it’s critical to take precautions.
Overexposure to UV light can lead to various health problems, but you can take steps to safeguard yourself and your loved ones.
Most skin cancers result from extended exposure to UV rays from natural or artificial sources. These cancers include melanoma, basal cell and squamous cell cancers. In addition, exposure to UV rays can weaken your immune system and cause premature aging of the skin, leathery skin, liver spots, wrinkles and solar elastosis. Of course, the most common ailment from UV overexposure is sunburn, which may come directly from the sun or a tanning bed.
Prevention Is the Best Treatment
If you’re going to be where the sun is bright and shade is scarce, here are four ways to protect yourself.
- Choose the right sunscreen.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends a sunscreen that covers both UV-A and UV-B rays and has a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30.
- Cover up.
Going outside? Wear the right clothing, a hat and sunglasses to protect you from harmful rays.
- Stay in the shade.
The sun is most intense at midday, so staying in a shaded area between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. helps protect your skin. Don’t forget to reapply sunscreen regularly if you can’t be in the shade.
- Don’t neglect your eyes.
It’s important to remember that your eyes need protection as well. It’s a good idea to start wearing proper eye protection at an early age to shield your eyes from years of ultraviolet exposure. Make sure the lenses are polarized for optimum protection.
Read these tips from the American Cancer Society for more on UV protection.