If you can spend time outdoors, you certainly get to enjoy certain benefits. It’s the chance to be physically active and manage your stress. The CDC also points out that sunlight helps your body generate vitamin D. Unfortunately, excess exposure to ultraviolet light, also known as UV, can result in many kinds of skin cancer. The good news is that there are ways to protect your skin from the sun.
1. Wear a Hat
Hats can be fun and fashionable. They can also keep the sun out of your eyes. For that matter, they can keep direct sunlight off your ears, face, and neck. Wear one that’s got a brim all around. Tightly woven fabrics work best for UV-ray protection, and canvas is a great example. Straw hats are common summer fashion, but the holes might be big enough to let sunlight through anyway. Darker hats might offer you even more UV protection than lighter colors. Baseball caps don’t usually have enough surface area to protect ears or the backside of your head.
2. Consult the Daily UV Index
This should be a normal part of your regular weather report that you get from the local news or just look up on your phone. The UV index is a numerical scale. It runs from 0 up to 11. Zero is the lowest end, while 11 is the highest. Higher numbers indicate more UV radiation intensity. If the UV index is in the range of 0 to 2, you might need an hour to sunburn. However, if the UV index is at 11, you can burn in just 10 minutes. If your local news doesn’t include the UV index in your area, then check out the EPA website to find out what is going to be the day you are headed out.
3. Slip On Some Sunglasses
Sunglasses can do many different things for you on a sunny day. For starters, the right pair can make you look very cool and be a rocking accessory to your ensemble. However, they can also keep UV rays out of your eyes while minimizing your chance of cataracts. They’ll even give some protection to the tender skin around your eyes based on the size and shape of the shades. Get a pair that blocks both kinds of rays, UVA and UVB, for the most protection. Wrap-around glasses tend to be the most effective since they keep UV rays from coming into the sides.
4. Take Advantage of the Shade
Utilizing shelter is a great way to reduce sun damage and your risk of skin cancer. Trees and umbrellas are great options, but protective clothing can help you anytime you’re outside. The IBKUL clothing line has sun protection clothing that lets you stay comfortable, fashionable, safe, and healthy simultaneously. Performance-driven garments are manufactured using premium textiles from many different global sources to withstand an active daily lifestyle. Garments with IBKUL’s IceFil Cooling Technology help your body stay cool even in hot weather.
5. Get Vitamin D From a Different Source
Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D. That’s something your body needs for strong bones and to be healthy. Exposure to sunlight makes the skin produce this, but it’s not the only way to get it. Instead of relying on the sun alone and possibly getting too much, you should work on alternative sources of this nutrient into your lifestyle. Fatty fish often have it, including salmon, swordfish, and tuna. You might also get it from fortified foods, including orange juice, yogurt, cereal, and milk. Vitamin D supplements are also possible but consult your doctor first to avoid getting too much.
6. Use Sunscreen
Sunscreen is one of the best techniques to prevent skin damage from the sun. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that you can trust to block both kinds of rays, UVA and UVB, at the same time. Your minimum SPF should be 15, but the higher, the better. Make sure you reapply sunscreen if you’re outdoors for 2 hours or more. Other times to reapply include toweling off, sweating, or swimming. Check the expiration date on your sunscreen, as most bottles only have 3 years of shelf life or even less. Exposure to high temperatures can make sunscreen expire faster.
7. Check Your Medications
If you’re trying to maintain your health due to certain conditions or ailments, then you might be taking medications for them. Sadly, some of them can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight. These include some blood pressure medications, diuretics, and cholesterol drugs that many adults use on a regular basis. Other possibilities include antibiotics, antidepressants, anti-inflammatories, and chemotherapies. Whether your medications are over-the-counter or prescription, it’s worth a conversation with your doctor or pharmacist about which medications might boost your sunburn risks.
8. Watch Your Surroundings
It’s easy to look at certain things in the environment around you and think they’re going to help you. Snow, sand, and water all look like things that reflect light, so they should also reflect UV radiation, right? They do, but they don’t do it in ways that help you. That’s because their reflections of UV radiation are probably hitting you. That means your risk of getting a sunburn goes up since UV radiation is hitting you from above, below, and around you. Spending any meaningful time around these surfaces means you need to take more precautions than usual.
9. Protect Your Lips
Your lips are at just as much risk of suffering skin damage as any other part of your skin. Given that, you should always have a lip balm available. Choose one that has a notable SPF factor, and apply it on a regular basis. You definitely need to reapply such products after you sweat or go swimming. An SPF 30 or higher is a good place to start, but you might also want to consider extra features, such as smoothing or nourishing your lips. You can protect your lips while also keeping them looking plump and young in appearance.
10. Know the Early Signs of Sunburn
You need to know the various signs of sunburn. That way, you can act quickly when or if it shows up. Even with the best plans and precautions, it’s always a possibility, but you can respond to it effectively if it does happen. Be aware of blistering, swelling, pain, and redness. Should any of these symptoms happen, get out of the sun right away. Get some cool compresses, and apply them to the impacted areas. Depending on how serious your sunburns are, you might want to see your primary care physician. Your doctor might even refer you to a dermatologist for specialist treatment and care.
Protecting yourself from UV rays is crucial in all four seasons, even though it might feel like it’s only something to worry about in the summertime. UV rays can still get through cloud cover and happen on cool days. They can also reflect off of various surfaces, including snow, sand, cement, and water. UV rays are highest in the continental United States from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., so be mindful of when you head outdoors. More