We all look forward to long sunny days!  Most importantly we all need sun exposure to create vitamin D and absorb calcium. It does not take much, for fun in the sun to turn into a red, painful, stinging, sunburn. A day on the beach, at the park, or any outdoor event, can turn for the worst if you are not protecting yourself from the sun’s rays. Sunburn also has long-term effects. It can cause skin aging, wrinkling, and cataracts.

You can have fun in the sun safely! The best way to achieve this is to be conscientious before going outdoors. There are some very simple rules to follow:

  1. Sun Screen. It is best applied 20 minutes before going outdoors. You may need to reapply sunscreen throughout the day depending on activities, sweat, water, and SPF factors.
  2. Wear The Right Clothes. Cover up! Shirts with bow necks and long sleeves protect the delicate areas of the neck, shoulders, and arms. Wearing sunglasses to protect the eyes and brimmed hats to protect head and face.
  3. Avoid Certain Times. The sun’s strength varies throughout the day. The hours with the strongest sunlight are typically between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. standard time of 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. If you must be in the sun during these hours try to find shade to help block direct sun rays.
  4. Check Your Medications. Some medicines, like antibiotics, or acne medications can make skin more sensitive to UV rays. OTC products with  AHA/BHA or Salicylic can also sensitize your skin to the sun. If you have any questions, always call your doctor.
  5. Learn How to Read the UV Index. The National Weather Service and Environmental Protective Agency issue the UV Index daily to help people plan for their days in the sun. The lowest UV range is <2. This is low exposure. The next is moderate exposure, which is a UV range of 3 to 5. In the middle is high exposure, with a range of 6 to 7. When the UV range reaches 8 to 10, we consider this very high UV exposure. The highest exposure extreme is anything 11 or above.  Like any weather forecast, check the UV index to better plan any outdoor activities.
  6. Use Caution. Water, sand, and even snow reflect the damaging rays of the sun. If you are near these areas, which many of us are during the summer months, use extra caution with sun safety. This reflection increases your chance of sunburn. It is possible to get a sunburn in the winter too. Plenty of skiers, riders, and hikers can reminisce about spring days turned into aloe-filled nights. Make sure you use a higher SPF sunscreen and apply more often when at the beach, lake, the mountains, or any event outdoors.

So go outside, enjoy the season and remember to stay protected!!