Summer is officially here and we gladly welcome it with backyard barbeques, pool parties, beach trips and weekends at the lake soaking up those beautiful rays while spending time with our family and friends. Sun exposure is recommended because it is our primary source for Vitamin D, which helps us absorb calcium for stronger, healthier bones. We must remember, however, moderation is key.
July is National Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month, so now is the perfect time to remind ourselves that we must protect our skin and eyes from damaging effects of the sun.
The sun emits two types of radiation, known as UV-A and UV-B rays. In excess, both of types of these ultraviolet rays can damage your skin and eyes.
Too much sun exposure can put you at risk for:
- Vision problems and damage to your eyes
- Premature aging of the skin
- Skin cancer
Here are a few tips to help you minimize the risk that comes with too much sun exposure.
- Cover Up: Wear tightly-woven clothing that blocks out the light, such as: a wide brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirts, pants and sunglasses to protect your eyes. If you’re unsure how much protection you’ll get from your clothing, try this: Place your hand between a single layer of clothing and a light source. If you can see your hand through the fabric, it offers little protection.
- Seek Out the Shade: UV rays pose the greatest risk between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.; staying in the shade during this time of day will further protect your skin. Remember, the sun can still damage your skin on cloudy days. If you’re unsure of the sun’s intensity, take the shadow test: If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are the day’s strongest.
- Wear Sunscreen: According to the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention, the majority of people only apply 25-50 percent of the recommended amount of sunscreen. An SPF of at least 15 blocks 93 percent of UV rays. You should apply at least one ounce (a palmful) of sunscreen every two hours. If you are swimming or sweating, you should reapply more often.
- Wear Sunglasses: Effective sunglasses should block glare and 99 to 100 percent of UV rays and have a wraparound shape to protect your eyes from all angles.
By taking the proper precautions you and your loved ones can safely soak up those summer rays. If you are having any problems after being in the sun, talk to your healthcare provider.
Enjoy the outdoors this summer and remember to protect your eyes and the skin you’re in!