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Nurse First News Blog

How to Protect Your Skin from the Sun

Posted June 23, 2020

Summertime is officially here, which means more time enjoying the outdoors! Although the extra vitamin D can do wonders for your mood, you still must be mindful of the effects that the sun has on your skin.  Learn how to protect your skin from the sun with the tips below. 

Wear Sunscreen

woman putting sunscreen on her arm at the beach

There are so many sunscreens on the market to choose from. Keep in mind that they’re all not created equal. In order to find the most effective sunscreen, you should purchase one that is labeled “broad spectrum” protection. This type of sunscreen protects your skin from harmful UV and UVB rays, which can cause sunburn and a variety of skin cancers.

In addition, you should purchase a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. “The SPF number is the level of protection the sunscreen provides against UVB rays. Higher SPF numbers do mean more protection, but the higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 sunscreens filter out about 97%, SPF 50 sunscreens about 98%, and SPF 100 about 99%. No sunscreen protects you completely. The FDA requires any sunscreen with SPF below 15 to carry a warning that it only protects against sunburn, not skin cancer or skin aging.” (Stacy Simon, American Cancer Society) While you’re shopping around for your next sunscreen, be sure to read the labels. If it doesn’t have the “broad spectrum” label and isn’t at least 30 SPF, put it back on the shelf. Your skin will thank you for it later!

Hats and Sunglasses

woman wearing hat and sunglasses at the beach

Keep your head, face, and eyes protected from unnecessary sun exposure. Invest in a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses that absorb 99% to 100% of UV rays. (Amber Bauer, Cancer.net) You don’t want harmful rays affecting your eyesight. If you are not careful UV radiation can be the culprit to cataracts, macular degeneration, corneal sunburn, or conjunctival cancers. (Rene Rodriguez-Sains, MD, skincancer.org) Definitely not worth the risk!

More often than not, people don’t think to apply sunscreen to their scalp. Putting a hat on and wearing the right sunglasses will ensure your head, face, and eyes are getting the proper protection.

Clothing

If it isn’t extremely warm, the more clothes the better. Long sleeve shirts and pants, preferably in a dark color, are the best options for sun protection. You can also purchase clothing items that have specific SPF properties for a double whammy of protection! (Amber Bauer, Cancer.net)

Take Cover

couple relaxing on blanket in the shade with snacks

If you’re hanging by the pool, taking a long walk, or doing yard work – be sure you have shaded areas nearby. Although the warm sunshine feels so wonderful, especially if you live in the Midwest, you should still take “breaks” from the sun. The peak sun hours are from 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, so being more aware of how much time you’re spending in the sun during this timeframe is important. (Amber Bauer, Cancer.net)

Reapply

Young girl with red sunglasses on putting sunscreen on her face

Don’t fool yourself, lathering up once will not cut it! It is important that you reapply sunscreen at least every two hours and every hour if you are swimming or sweating. (Amber Bauer, Cancer.net) If you are prone to forget about reapplication, set a timer for yourself, or wear a watch so you can keep track of time. It’s easy to forget when you are enjoying the outdoors. However, you’ll be happy you took the time to reapply.

Keep your skin and eyes protected from the sun this summer and all year round with these helpful tips. Enjoying the outdoors doesn’t have to be at the cost of your health. Grab your sunscreen, sunglasses, and hat for your next adventure!

Resources

https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/choose-the-right-sunscreen.html
https://www.cancer.net/blog/2015-07/10-tips-protecting-your-skin-sun
https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/eye-protection/

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