Summer is upon us! The weather has gotten warmer and that means that you should be reaching for sun protection when you are headed outdoors. Today we’ll cover the basics along with some facts you may not know about sun protection so you can protect yourself and your family while you enjoy the outdoors during the summer months.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that the sun can damage your skin in as little as fifteen minutes! This means that it is imperative that you incorporate strategies to protect your skin from the sun into your daily routine, especially in the summer months.
Plan Sun Protection into your Outfit
It can be tempting to reach in your closet and grab a sleeveless shirt and shorts in the summer months. If you can handle the heat and have clothes made out of breathable fabric, it is a great idea to instead reach for a long-sleeved shirt and long pants when you know that you will be spending extended periods of time outside. Some clothing even comes with “sun protection” built-in. If you are worried about the level of protection you are getting with the clothes you already have, you can easily shop online or in-store for these items.
Add a Hat
Another way to incorporate sun protection into your outfit is to add a hat! When you are hoping to use a hat for sun protection, you’ll want to make sure that you are reaching for a hat that has a brim on all sides, not just the front. If you just can’t resist the urge to wear your favorite baseball cap, be sure to add a piece of fabric to the back to cover your neck and ears or slather on an SPF of no less than 15, according to the CDC’s recommendations.
Something else to keep in mind when reaching for a hat is if it has holes in it. Hats that have holes in them like straw or woven hats often let the sun reach your skin that is not otherwise protected. If you are going to reach for a hat like this, be sure to add SPF underneath or try to spend most of your time in shaded areas.
Reach for Sunglasses
Yet another way you can protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays is to add a pair of sunglasses to your look. Although it can be tempting to just grab a pair of sunglasses and throw on while you are headed out the door, you should make sure that they block the sun’s rays. Specifically, the CDC reports that you should look for a pair of sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays for the most protection. When shopping for sunglasses you can read the description of the product or look for a sticker on the lens that talks about the protection that they offer from the sun.
If an area of your body is not properly covered with the clothes or accessories you are wearing, you should be applying sunscreen to this area. The CDC recommends an SPF of at least 15 and states that the higher the number of SPF (e.g. SPF 50), the more protection you will receive.
There are a few things you should keep in mind when wearing sunscreen. The first of which is that you have to re-apply the SPF frequently. When you are out in the sun, you often cannot feel when you are getting sunburnt. This is why it is important to re-apply your SPF every two hours. You may need to apply more frequently if you are constantly swimming or drying off with a towel.
Something that a lot of people may not think to check is the expiration date on their sunscreen. The CDC reports that sunscreen has a shelf-life of no more than three years, but this number can actually decrease if it is kept in high temperatures. If you’re using an expired sunscreen, you’re not likely receiving any of the benefits!
Lastly, if you wear makeup frequently, a lot of makeup products have sunscreen in them. While this is a great added ingredient, you have to remember that you would need to re-apply that product every two hours to get the sun protection out of it. Keep this in mind and remember to add a sunscreen underneath your makeup and wear a hat for more protection.
For more sun-protection tips, visit the CDC here: https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/basic_info/sun-safety.htm