Doing some mountain biking or hiking this summer? Hitting the beach or a river? Maybe a short trip to your local pool? Wherever you like the Beach or the Mountains, or whatever you like to do for fun during the summer, be wary of the rays from the sun. As you may well know, studies show that exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer, may also cause eye problems, weaken your immune system, and give you skin spots, wrinkles, or “leathery” skin. This is caused by invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
Although no one, no matter which skin type, is immune to the effects of UV. However, those with pale skin, blond, red, or light brown hair, been treated for skin cancer, or a family member who’s had skin cancer need to be especially cautious. This post is a little late this year, but The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has designated the Friday before Memorial Day as “Don’t Fry Day.” The goal? To make sure people stay safe in the sun and protect their skin while enjoying the outdoors—on “Don’t Fry Day” and every day. Here are some suggestions to help you have a nice summer day outing while being safe.
I feel this is the truly most important thing to put on before heading out. I have really pale skin and fry in about ½ without sunscreen on. I just burn, then peel. Not much fun. L One important thing to mention about sunscreen is to FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. A lot of people will put it on before they head out for the day and think they are good. They are not. Most sunscreen products need to be reapplied every 90 minutes to 2 hours. I’ve also seen people who don’t apply enough. It is suggested to use about 1 ounce of sunscreen (about a shot glass or palmful) should be used to cover the arms, legs, neck, and face of the average adult.
The other thing to consider about sunscreen is the sun protection factor (SPF). There are sunscreens products with a broad spectrum of protection, but it is suggested to choose a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Sunscreens labeled with SPFs as high as 100+ are available. Higher numbers do mean more protection, but many people don’t understand the SPF scale. 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%. Thus the higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. However, remember no sunscreen protects you completely.
WEAR A HAT
It is very important to wear a hat outside, preferably one with a 2 to a 3-inch brim. The brim helps to protect the ears, eyes, forehead, nose, and scalp. If you don’t have one of those, wearing a large handkerchief or bandana under a baseball cap will work in a pinch.
Wearing sunglasses not only protects the delicate skin around your eyes, but it also protects the eyes as well. When picking out a pair of new shades, don’t assume the sunglasses provide any UV protection. Make sure the label says “UV absorption up to 400 nm” or “Meets ANSI UV Requirements”. I like the wraparound glasses myself as it also blocks light coming in From the side.
HYDRATE, HYDRATE, HYDRATE
Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, and every system depends on water. Just one cute little water bottle isn’t going to be enough to keep you hydrated all day long. Studies show that you should be drinking 1 liter of water every hour. Avoid caffeinated beverages and alcohol. Fruits are an excellent source of water, such as watermelon which is 90% water. Oranges, tangerines, grapefruit, and melons are also strong contenders.
FIND SOME SHADE
Reduce time in the sun, especially between 10-2 as that is when the sun is the strongest. Don’t be fooled by a cloudy day. They can be more dangerous because you don’t feel hot and thus stay out longer than you may have planned. Take a lawn chair and find a nice shady spot near a tree or structure. If you can’t find one of those, a large umbrella works great too. Have fun, but be safe out there. Spending your vacation in a hotel room with a sunburn is not a fun way to spend your valuable vacation time. Let me know if you have any other great tips and I will add them to this post. Thanks in advance.