Summertime is here! With visions of beaches, yards, playing fields, and swimming pools, it’s important to protect your skin from the more damaging effects of the sun — especially if you are prone to sunburn. While moderate sun exposure is very good for you, UV rays from the sun can also cause skin damage leading to skin cancer in as little as 15 minutes. Here are a few tips to keep in mind to practice sun safety.
While this seems like a no-brainer — a hat, a UPF sunshirt, other sun protective clothing, and sunscreen on those exposed areas can go a long way towards avoiding sun damage. Wearing sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection is also advisable. Protection should also be worn on cloudy days, as the harmful UV rays still penetrate the cloud cover.
Educate yourself on sunscreen.
Moderate sun exposure stimulates Vitamin D production which is good for overall health, so you don’t want to overdo it on sunscreen. However, if you’re going to be outside for a long period of time (over 2 hours), it’s essential. It’s important to note that SPF ratings on sunscreens do not double after 15; an SPF 15 provides about 94% protection whereas an SPF 30 provides about 97% protection. Commercial sunscreens also mostly contain toxic ingredients which can seep into the deeper layers of your skin and cause damage of their own, so natural sunscreens containing titanium oxide and/or zinc oxide would be more advisable.
Avoid the hottest part of the day.
If you limit your sun exposure between the hours of 10 AM and 2 PM you’ll be more likely to avoid sunburn. If you must be outside during those hours, seek shade under an umbrella, tree or other kind of shelter.
Be aware of medications that increase sun sensitivity.
Some antibiotics and over-the-counter medications can make you more sensitive to sunlight and thus more prone to sun damage. These include antihistamines (like Benadryl), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (like aspirin or ibuprofen), certain antibiotics (like Bactrim or Tetracycline), antidepressants, antipsychotics, hair loss medications like Rogaine, and some oral diabetic medications. Check with your pharmacist regarding your medication side effects.
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This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is intended for reference only, not personalized advice, and should not be treated as such. For all medical conditions and decisions, please consult your physician or trained medical practitioner.