Summer is a time of fun, outdoor activities, and the occasional road trip. Summer is also the time of year that sees the longest days, with the most potential for being out in the sun. The sun that comes with the summer months has many health benefits. However, there are many health and safety risks that go along with exposure to these rays. Here are some things to keep in mind regarding sun safety during the summer.
Sun protection is important for all people, including those who do not burn when they are out in the sun. Some ways to protect yourself from the sun include:
- Wearing a wide-brimmed hat, which is both stylish and provides protection against the rays of the sun
- Putting on sunscreen lotion prior to going outside, even if it is on a cloudy day
- Staying out of the sun between the hours of 11am and 2pm
Protecting your skin is one of the best ways to ensure that your face and body do not get burned. In addition to hats and sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher, consider wearing lightweight and light-colored clothing to take steps to guard your skin against the sun if you are out during peak hours. Make sure to reapply your sunscreen every two hours, or after you go swimming or become sweaty from exercise.
Many people like to lay in the sun to get a tan. However, this is not a very healthy practice, as tanning can lead to various skin conditions. Enjoy your time in the sun, but avoid deliberately laying out to catch the rays. There are some misconceptions regarding tanning, such as that having a base tan will protect against burning while in the sun. However, this is false and can lead to more unhealthy tanning behaviors. In addition to avoiding tanning in the sun, avoid the use of indoor tanning beds. Tanning beds are just as unsafe as natural sunlight.
People often forget that the eyes are very susceptible to the rays of the sun, just like the skin. In addition to looking stylish, wearing a pair of sunglasses helps protect the eyes from the negative effects of sun exposure. Make sure to don sunglasses if you are out in the sun in any capacity. In addition, ensure that the accessory has 100% UV protection prior to purchasing a pair of sunglasses.
Remember that darker lenses do not necessarily mean greater protection, as many 100% UV-blocking sunglasses come in shades like gray and amber. Wearing shaded sunglasses without UV protection can be even more harmful to your eyes than wearing no glasses at all since the shading causes your pupils to take in more sunlight. However, while darker lenses tend to not provide any further protection, larger sunglasses may offer more protection than smaller lenses.
Paying Attention While Indoors
While it is obvious when you are in direct sunlight outdoors, with the harsh and hot rays beating down on your skin, it is less obvious when you are in the sun while inside an air-conditioned car or home. Most windows block out some rays, but not all of them. Be sure to wear sunscreen and cover up your arms, shoulders, and legs if you are driving in the car, riding as a passenger, or sitting next to a window that gets a lot of sun exposure.
Minding the Snow
For areas that are at a high elevation, there may still be snow on the ground going into the summer months. As anyone who has gotten a sunburn while skiing can tell you, bright snow acts to reflex the sun’s rays, so it is especially important to practice sun safety when you are around snow.
Being aware of how to stay safe while in the sun will lead to a happier and more wellness-minded summer.