Be Safe in the Sun

This summer, safeguard yourself and your
family from getting too much sun.

Your skin is your body’s largest and fastest-growing organ. Its jobs are numerous: It protects you from germs and helps to regulate your body temperature. Your skin protects you and keeps you healthy. So why not do the same and protect it from harmful UV rays?

Here are a few ways to help keep your skin safe this summer season

Seek Shade

Harmful UV exposure is greatest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and less in the early morning and late afternoon. Experts recommend staying inside during those hours. However, if you need to be outside during these peak hours, try to seek shade, whether under a tree, an umbrella or an awning, to help limit your exposure to UV rays.

Hats are Important

Help protect your face — not to mention the top of your head, ears and neck — with a hat that sports a wide brim to cover exposed skin. As the American Cancer Society notes, although baseball caps can protect your face and scalp, they miss your neck and ears, places where skin cancers commonly develop. Try to find a hat with at least a 2-to 3-inch brim.

Cover Ups

Not all cover-ups are created equal. Avoid clothes that you can see light through. Remember: If light is getting through, then ultraviolet radiation is getting through, too. The weave of your clothing is also important. The tighter the knit or weave, the smaller the holes and the less UV can get through. Some manufacturers provide extra-protective clothing with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) labels, which indicate exactly how protective the clothes are: A shirt with a UPF of 45 lets in just 1/45th of the sun's UV.

Use Sunscreen

No sunscreen protects you completely – but it does help. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends using a broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. If you’ll be outdoors for a longer period of time, try using a water-resistant, broad spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher. The American Cancer Association suggests applying about an ounce (think: a shot glass or palmful) to cover the arms, legs, neck, and face of the average adult and administering it about 30 minutes before sun exposure to help it bind to your skin. Be sure to reapply every two hours or so to help keep you protected and pay special attention to those areas of skin which may not be fully protected by clothing.

Remember: Sunscreen before your suit
If you want extra protection from the sun, the Skin Cancer Foundation suggests applying your sunscreen before you put on your bathing suit.

Why? Two reasons:

  • You are adding extra protection to the skin underneath your suit.
  • You are less likely to miss a spot, which can lead to burning around the edges of your suit.

Wear Sunglasses

Pick a pair that will block as close to 100% of both UVA and UVB rays as possible. Research has shown that UV radiation increases the likelihood of certain cataracts.

Check the UV index

Before you head outside, you can check the UV radiation levels from the sun online at the Environmental Protection Agency’s UV Index. The EPA also offers instructions for how to download their free UV Index smartphone app, so you can check while you’re on the move.