A healthy amount of sunshine is essential to our wellbeing; spending time in the sun has proven to boost the immune system, lift moods, and result in better sleep. However, without taking the proper precautions, getting your daily dose of sunshine can also put you at risk of skin and eye damage, and dehydration. Luckily, August is Summer Safety Month, and to help you enjoy your time outdoors worry-free, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Protect your skin
Sunlight consists of many different kinds of rays, among them are ultraviolet (UV) rays, which are the most damaging to human skin. UV rays are strongest during the summer and are able to penetrate deep layers of the skin, causing damage to and/or even killing skin cells. These changes can result in issues such as sunburn, premature skin aging (such as sunspots and wrinkles), and skin cancer, which is the most common kind of cancer.
The easiest way to help prevent skin damage is to apply broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF value of 15 or higher. (While all sunscreens protect against sunburn, only those that are broad-spectrum have been shown to also protect against skin cancer.) Generally, it is recommended to apply your sunscreen at least every 2 hours (or every 1 hour if you are swimming). Because sunscreen cannot completely block UV radiation, it’s important to take additional protective measures such as wearing a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, and/or pants for maximum coverage.
With sunscreen and a hat, you’re definitely more than ready to enjoy a safe day in the sun. However, if you’re someone that likes to take additional precautions, you may want to plan your time in the sun outside of the 10 am – 2 pm window, which is when the sun’s rays are strongest.
Protect your eyes
Unfortunately, our skin is not the only organ vulnerable to UV radiation. UV rays can also penetrate our eyes, and an excessive amount of exposure can lead to cataracts, eye cancer, and a condition known as photokeratitis. Luckily, sunglasses can offer more than just a fashion statement. Next time you’re picking out a pair, make sure they not only look great but are also labeled “100% UV protection.” Sunglasses without UV protection may offer your eyes reprieve, but they will not protect against damage caused by radiation.
In addition to your sunscreen, hat, and sunglasses, make sure to always carry water and drink lots of it. Water is essential to keeping our bodies functioning, therefore not being properly hydrated can cause serious harm. On a hot day, our bodies tend to quickly lose fluids, so it is important to replenish often. If you do not like the taste of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon, or a splash of juice. If you’re trying to stay hydrated, avoid caffeinated beverages such as tea, coffee, and sodas.
If you have particularly sensitive skin, a family history of skin cancer, or have had problems with sun exposure in the past, make sure to speak with your doctor about how to best protect yourself. Feel free to contact us today and schedule an appointment.