Sunshine State of Mind: 7 Ways to Enjoy the Sun While Avoiding the Burn
Healthy habits to adopt for ultimate sun safety
It’s true: everyone feels better with the warm, healthy glow of sun-kissed skin. But what’s also true is that no one likes to endure blistering sunburn or the long-term negative effects it has on their skin. So how do you enjoy the glorious sunshine wisely? By simply taking precautions that can help keep you (and your skin) safe in the sun.
1. Lather on the sunscreen
By using a broad spectrum sunscreen (one that protects your skin from both UVA and UVB rays), you are taking a step in the right direction. For the best sun protection, a minimum sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 is recommended, yet an SPF 30 or more is preferable. But one application is not enough. No matter how generously you apply it to your skin, you should reapply every two hours, after swimming, or after sweating heavily.
Sun, snow, and water reflect the sun’s rays, and you can still suffer sun damage on cloudy or overcast days. It’s also important to apply sunscreen in all exposed areas, including the top of your head, your ears, and neck.
2. Find some midday shade
The sun’s damaging UV rays are strongest during the midday hours, typically between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., so it is wise to find shade during this time. Afternoon siesta, anyone?
3. Stay hydrated
Drink plenty of water when exposed to the heat of the sun. When you sweat, you lose more water than you would probably think, and H2O is imperative to your body’s proper function. Likewise, proper hydration is just as important for your skin.
Dry skin happens as much in the summer as it does in the winter. In fact, exposure to sun, wind, pool chlorine, and air conditioners can have a significantly negative impact on the integrity of your skin. When not properly moisturized, your skin can develop fine lines, wrinkles, and irritation—all of which you want to avoid. Therefore, be sure to keep your skin well hydrated with a rich lotion or serum to replenish moisture and keep it balanced.
4. Read your prescription labels
A common side effect of many medications is photosensitivity, which is an inflammation of the skin as a result of combining sunlight and certain medications. When taking certain antibiotics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), diuretics, and retinoids, be sure to take extra precaution when exposed to sunlight (or avoid direct sunlight altogether) as the effects can be even more potent.
5. Suit up in proper form
Today’s vast array of sun protective clothing (complete with SPF ratings) options make it easy to complete your look while protecting your skin. Fun, fashionable, and affordable sun protection apparel and accessories are available both online and in stores and offer an added layer of peace of mind when it comes to your sun safety.
6. Don’t forget your shades
Your eyes need protection too, and fortunately, there are an abundance of options when it comes to fashionable, protective sunglasses. The key to finding the most effective pair is to ensure they are UV-blocking and allow the least amount of sunlight around the frames.
A wide-brimmed hat providing shade for the face and neck is ideal protection for your skin, eyes, and heat exhaustion exposure.
7. Teach your kids sun safety from the start
Sun safety is a habit that starts at home. By teaching your children the importance of wearing sunscreen and reapplying often, they will reduce their lifetime risk of developing skin cancer. When they learn to reach for water instead of a sugary soda, the health benefits are multiplied, along with making good sun protection choices in clothing and reaching for sunglasses and hats.
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