After a cold winter and a somewhat damp spring, Hoosiers everywhere are jumping for joy when the clouds finally dissipate and bright sunshine comes shining through. Although sunshine nourishes and energizes us with healthy vitamin D, it can also have a negative effect, resulting in sunburn and potential sun damage.
For many, soaking up the sun is one of the top activities for summer. But if you’ve ever stayed out a little too long and gotten sunburned, you know that it isn’t always all fun in the sun.
Overexposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays may cause painful sunburn, which can also cause permanent skin damage and skin cancer. Luckily, there are many simple ways to practice sun safety to keep yourself and your family safe.
Why safety in the sun is important
What are the true dangers of not being safe in the sun? Overexposure to the sun can cause the skin to prematurely age, has been linked to eye conditions such as cataracts and can also impact the body’s immune system. Although sunshine has many benefits, it still requires a level of caution. Here are afew interesting facts from the Skin Cancer Foundation about sun exposure and how it can affect you, your family and friends in the short and long run:
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. with about 5.4 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers diagnosed annually
Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, kills one person every hour
Just one blistering sunburn in childhood can double a person’s lifetime risk of developing skin cancer
Sun damage can occur any time of year—in fact snow, sand, water and concrete all reflect 85-90% of the sun’s UV rays, increasing the chance of sunburn
Sun safety rules and more
There are several things you can do to safely enjoy the sun. By practicing sun safety, you decrease your chance of experiencing the negative effects of overexposure to sunlight. Here is a list of tips to help you stay safe when in the sun:
Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when UV exposure is greatest
Protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays
Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs and a wide-brimmed hat to shade your head, face, neck and ears
Stay in the shade whenever possible
Sunscreen safety tips
Sunscreen is one of the best and easiest ways to help protect your skin from overexposure to the sun, with countless brands and strengths available at stores everywhere. Don’t hesitate to speak with a dermatologist or even a pharmacist to find out the best product for your skin type. Here are a few general tips regarding sunscreen safety:
Apply a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher that offers both UVA and UVB protection
It is recommended that children use sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher
Remember to reapply often, especially after swimming, perspiring and toweling off
Now that you’re prepared, pack a picnic, go swimming or take a hike. Continue to enjoy the great outdoors this summer with your family-- just practice sun safety while you do!
*The information in this article was compiled from a variety of sources and is intended to provide helpful tips only.