With summer in full swing, it’s a pleasure to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, freedom, and fun. Social distancing aside, there is another major safety measure to mind, but this one is for your skin. The sun’s rays may feel fabulous on your skin, but the damage can be dangerous, especially if you wind up with a painful and potentially problematic sunburn.
As Cleveland Clinic notes, “The sun’s most serious threat is that it is the major cause of skin cancer. Doctors believe that most skin cancers can be avoided by preventing sun damage.”
That said, there is no reason to stay inside and miss out on the action, and with proper proactive protocol, you can make the most of summer without the dreaded dermatological downfall. Simply follow these seven tips and you’re sure to be safer.
The sun is high in the sky shining strong and bright during the peak hours of 10 am – 4 pm. This may be the time when everyone wants to be out and about, but try to coordinate with friends to meet up earlier or later in the day.
When the sun is so direct, there’s no foolproof way to avoid those blistering rays. As it rises and sets, you get some relief, not to mention a cooler temp so you don’t overheat.
If you’re not quite sure if the sun is too intense for your outing, follow this rule from Cancer.net: “If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at their strongest.” There’s some simple science for you.
Sunscreen is your savior, so be generous with your application. Don’t wait until you’re already out in the sun to start slathering; apply prior to leaving the house, about 15-30 minutes before you’re out the door.
Anywhere your skin will be exposed needs to be well-covered. Remember to get those commonly missed spots like the tops of your hands, your exposed scalp, the top of your ears, the tops of your feet, your back (get a buddy to help out), and your eyelids (with a non-irritating formula). Apply a lip balm with SPF as well.
The higher the SPF, the better.
Along with your sunscreen, you can further protect your skin with your summertime attire. Did you know that they now make clothing with built-in SPF, such as Coolibar’s collection? It’s pretty nifty as you look summer chic as you stay safer.
Add to your ensemble with a wide-brimmed hat or visor, UV-blocking sunglasses, and a swimsuit coverup. The less your skin is exposed to the elements, the better off you’ll be.
Remember, you still need sunscreen even on cloudy or overcast days. Those rays are powerful and can permeate right through.
Seek out shade when you plan to be out for hours. It’s a great way to cool down and get a break from the sun’s rays. If you can’t find a shady area, bring along an umbrella so you can create your own sanctuary.
Although many sunscreens claim to be water-resistant, they will eventually lose their strength and possibly wash off to a degree if you’re swimming or sweating, as well as after toweling off.
As a precaution, reapply after taking a dip or if you’re drenched in perspiration.
If you think tanning salons are safer than the sun, you’re in for a surprise. You can just as easily burn in the tanning bed, and it’s no better for your skin.
As the American Academy of Dermatology points out, “Just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing skin cancer.” In addition, “In emergency rooms across the United States, people are treated for burns caused by indoor tanning.”
If your skin is already feeling tender or painful, you’ve probably passed the point of being burn-free. Don’t wait until you’re fried to find shelter. Give yourself a time limit to enjoy the sunshine, then call it a day. Go back out when the sun starts to set and you can enjoy an early evening under the stars. Too much fun in the sun will catch up with you, and you’ll regret the unwanted results.